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How the Movies Have Influenced My Wardrobe (The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink) | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Hands up – who’s ever gone out and bought an outfit (or tried to recreate a look) based on something they’ve seen at the cinema?

I may not have done it for a while, but “back in the day” (otherwise known as the 80s) I was all over EVERY look going in the Brat Pack movies.

In fact, not just the Brat Pack movies (that’d be The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, etc.) but also 80s classics like Desperately Seeking Susan, Working Girl and Dirty Dancing. As a teenager I was constantly trying to emulate what Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore and Ally Sheedy wore.

(At this point of the post I’d just like to say that I make NO apologies for wallowing in nostalgia… Nostalgia is a privilege denied to the young! 😉)


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Cineworld (click here for my full disclosure). It also contains affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.


For this week’s Saturday Share I was asked by Cineworld to share my favourite cinema moments with you for their #CineworldMoments campaign… this is SO easy! I could talk/write all day about my memorable cinema moments. Keith and I are currently trying desperately to find an evening (or Sunday morning) to go and see Bladerunner 2049 and Thor: Ragnarok. We’ve always been regular cinema-goers – I can still clearly remember that the first film we went to see together was Moulin Rouge (funny how you remember these details) in the early days of us seeing each other.

The good news for our movie-loving selves is that tickets for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are ALREADY booked for mid-December. That’s what happens when you’re married to a man who was 7 years old when Episode IV came out in 1977: he always makes sure he’s among the first to see anything Star Wars-related.

But what about cinema moments from my early years?

< main image t-shirts available from Redbubble: left, right >


The most impactful movies

The movies that had the most impact on me in the 80s were two absolute classic teen movies, both by the late great John Hughes: The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved (and still love) those two movies.

Both starred Molly Ringwald – it’s not like I’d cite her as being a major influence on my 13 or 14-year-old self, but it just so happened she starred in both of them.

I saw The Breakfast Club at the cinema in 1985 and Pretty in Pink a year later. Both played a major sartorial influence on me because I was already thinking about my own personal style a lot by that time. But first – a few cinema memories that I’m sure many of you of a certain age can identify with…


1980s cinema memories

Ghostbusters, 1984

(Age 12): I queued around the block (literally) in 1984 for Ghostbusters with my friend Julie in the freezing cold only to have the tickets sell out a couple of people ahead of us. (I can still feel the disappointment even now.) We tried again the next day and this time we got in after my parents went and bought us a couple of hot chocolates to drink while we were queuing. Ah, the days before booking tickets online…

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The Breakfast Club, 1985

(Age 13, and yes, we were underage…): Wanting to see both The Breakfast Club and Brewster’s Millions (don’t ask) on the same day, I remember my BFF Jo and I running out of one film then racing down the road to the other cinema to catch the start of the next one. I can’t remember which we saw first, but I know which made the most – and the most lasting – impact on me. (Clue: It wasn’t Brewster’s Millions.)

Top Gun, 1986

(Age 14): This was THE film that all the girls wanted to see on the last day of term after school. As we were leaving, I can remember the deputy head asking us what we were doing with our half day – we told her we were off to see Top Gun. I can remember her rolling her eyes and muttering something about whether any girls were NOT off to see it. Seems the whole of my school were off to the cinema that afternoon to watch some fast planes and a now-legendary volleyball scene for the first time.

Pretty in Pink, 1986

(Age 14): I was well-versed in the Brat Pack by this point (Rob Lowe dominated most of my waking thoughts, and it’s weird to think he’s still got it 30 years later). Another John Hughes movie at the cinema? Of course I was going to see it. What I wasn’t prepared for was seeing a vintage-clad Molly Ringwald, dressed NOTHING like the other pastel-covered, mid-80s preppy students.

I can remember coming out of the cinema and thinking that this was EXACTLY how I wanted to dress. Up to that point I thought I’d wanted to dress like she did in The Breakfast Club (where the costume designer put her in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren), but after Pretty in Pink? I wanted to wear granny cardigans, embellish everything, make my own clothes, go to vintage stores and charity shops.

What’s utterly amazing is that her outfits Have. Not. Dated.


Pretty in Pink style

If you’re not familiar with her style in that movie (I’ll only accept you being born in the 80s or later as an excuse), then check out this Pretty in Pink style dissection – it shows you just about every outfit she wore. To be fair, I would still HAPPILY wear all her outfits*, even now. It proves just how much of an important part good costume is to a movie.

So yes, clothes and fashion are my thing, and fashion in movies is up there where Things That Make Me Wallow Happily in Nostalgia are concerned.

I know I’m not alone in loving clothes in movies – but what are some of YOUR favourite memories of going to the cinema? Who remembers when people used to smoke in the cinema?! Ever had a first date at the movies that led to something (or someone) quite serious?


*In case you’re wondering – the prom dress is the exception. Yes, I hated it too and remember being HORRIFIED when she walked on screen in it. True fans will know what I mean…

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  2. 29 October 2017 / 9:04 pm

    Of all the films you've mentioned I've only seen two: Top Gun and Desperately Seeking Susan. I was a bit of a Madonna fan when she first came onto the music scene but the film was something of a flop. To be honest, I rarely watch films, I prefer documentaries. That said, I've got the absolute treat of seeing the My Little Pony movie tomorrow! Joy!

    Emma xxx

    • 13 November 2017 / 9:19 pm

      OMG I am HORRIFIED that you're about the same age as me and haven't seen any John Hughes movies, Emma!!! (LOL 😉

      I seem to remember the film did quite well… maybe I just loved it so thought I just thought that, hehe!

  3. 29 October 2017 / 6:01 pm

    I have a similar husband situation regarding Star Wars – we're trekking all the way to Swindon (last time it was Cardiff) to watch it in 3d on its first day in the cinema!
    I didn't get to go to the cinema often when I was younger, but I've enjoyed taking our kids, and now they're older we pretty much always dress up to match the film! ie Pirate costumes for Pirates of the Caribbean; 1920's/wizard for Fantastic Beasts; DC/Marvel characters for any of those films. It's rare we go to the cinema now in normal clothes! We get strange looks, but it's fun!
    Helen x

  4. 29 October 2017 / 8:39 am

    Nice little trip down memory lane, it's amazing how much things influenced us when we were younger – really sticking in our mind. Jacqui

    • 13 November 2017 / 9:17 pm

      It's SO clear even now, isn't it Jacqui?!

  5. 29 October 2017 / 4:52 am

    Those John Hughes movies were big in my high school life. In my house, Star Wars rules, it is something that I can bond with my 20-year-old son.

    One of movie that affected me was Mr.Holland's Opus, I was finishing my degree at the time and became a teacher shortly after. I don't teach music but the concepts of the movie have stuck with me.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

    • 13 November 2017 / 9:16 pm

      Oh gosh I've not seen that movie! Star Wars rules in my house house too, having a 47 year old husband…!!

  6. 28 October 2017 / 7:18 pm

    Catherine, this was a fun post. I love movies and your list brought back so many memories of my teen years. I loved all of Molly Ringwald's movies but my number one movie of all time is Star Wars, the very first one, from 1977. I've loved all of them since then and one of my sons is a huge fan. In fact, one year he dressed as the child Anakin Skywalker and I was Darth Vader. My son is 15 now and would not be seen dressed in a costume with his mom, but at least I have those memories (and pictures!). We are both looking forward to The Last Jedi. I also read the Pretty in Pink dissection you mentioned – very funny and well written. And yes, Molly's outfits in that movie still work today! Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    Cathy V.

    • 13 November 2017 / 9:16 pm

      Glad you liked it, Cathy! I have to admit, I use which Star Wars movie people like the most (or if at all) as a judge of character, lol!!

  7. 28 October 2017 / 3:23 pm

    The only movie I can recall that really influenced me fashion-wise was Flashdance. Oh, I was all about cutting up my sweatshirts and tee shirts…and even pulled the "pulling the bra off through my sleeve" act on more than one dating occasion! In later years I really admired the Annie Hall look but…could just never pull that off.

    Re the Pretty in Pink prom dress moment – while the dress was, yes, HIDEOUS, ha, I could still recognize at the time the balls she had for wearing it out in public, and THAT'S what made me love Andie 🙂


    • 13 November 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Oh I've definitely done the Annie Hall look myself, Bettye – I forgot about that one! x

  8. 28 October 2017 / 1:13 pm

    Catherine, what a fun post! And I am with you on all of it! Being a child of the 80's and a huge John Hughes fan, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink are also two of my favorite movies. And I would have and still would wear everything Molly Ringwald wore in Pretty in Pink EXCEPT for the horrible prom dress! I would, however, wear the original prom dress before she hacked it to death but maybe not in the bubble gum pink. But let me throw back a few decades earlier and say that I would wear everything that Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's…even today! And there are so many more that I could go on and on and on but then this comment would become a blog post of its own! Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

    • 13 November 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Haha I love how everyone hated the prom dress Shelbee 😉

  9. 28 October 2017 / 1:07 pm

    I don't remember specifically copying a fashion look I saw in a movie, but I definitely copied hairstyles. My girlfriend even tried to recreate Bo Derek's Beaded Braids. I went to school wearing them, and to this day I'm still embarrassed about that. 🙂

    • 13 November 2017 / 9:13 pm

      Oh god yes I remember Bo Derek's cornrows Amy…!!

  10. 28 October 2017 / 10:11 am

    We watched all the same movies Catherine! I was smitten with the Brat Pack too but then later as I grew up I moved onto Tarantino films & after that anything foreign language. Like you I can literally chart my life through the films I watched, they were such a huge part of it. Nothing has changed, today I've passed on my love of movies to my kids. We're regular cinemagoers (that's a noun) & saw Thor Fraggle Rock on the first day! 😉
    Everyone has their favourites, so we take turns but we always go together to share the experience.

    • 13 November 2017 / 9:13 pm

      We've seen Thor at last MT!!! It was AMAZING…!!!!!!!!!! Glad you loved the post 🙂

  11. 28 October 2017 / 2:32 am

    It's totally geeky, but I was very influenced by all the beautiful dresses worn by Arwen (Liv Tyler) in The Lord of the Rings. I wanted to model a wedding dress after the one she wore in the final movie when she married Aragorn! I don't think I'd do quite the exact look now but I still love the feel of boho weddings and romantic gowns.

    • 28 October 2017 / 9:02 am

      Oh no I totally get that, Martha!! She did look utterly stunning in LOTR. In fact my first wedding dress was a dress and long jacket inspired by Titanic (I got married two years after it came out) – I was desperate to do the Kate Winslet/Edwardian thing!!

  12. 27 October 2017 / 7:26 pm

    I just read an interview with Molly Ringwald the other day regarding the Harvey Weinstein disaster(s). She is so articulate, so clever, and really sees Hollywood for the circus that it is, especially for women. Like you, I always liked her in movies and loved her wardrobe. xx

    • 28 October 2017 / 9:00 am

      YES I agree she is fabulous… hadn't seen her in ages and then she popped up a few years ago looking amazing (and pretty much the same). I must look up what she said about him x

  13. 27 October 2017 / 7:09 pm

    How interesting, because as much as I love clothes and fashion, I don't really have one or two movies like you that made such an impact.
    Well maybe the Sound of Music, but not to the point where I wanted to dress like the character, LOL!!

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