Graduating Class

Our favorite big-screen alums show you how to go out in style.

When I set foot on the podium to receive my diploma and say goodbye to my high school days, I didn’t have on a typical graduation dress like most of my fellow students. Under my crimson graduation gown, I was wearing a DIY purple-sleeved baseball tee with a winking-cat patch and iron-on letters that spelled out Killer Pussy. Weird? Probably. But I didn’t care one bit, because it made me feel like one supafly stylish mama as I stepped out into the world beyond high school! If you’re trying to figure out what to wear for your own farewell ceremony (or the party afterward), perhaps this graduating class of fashionable movie characters can inspire your own totally awesome grad outfit.

Class Act Collage

Class Act (1992) stars the rap duo Kid ’n Play as Duncan and Blade, two dudes with totally different backgrounds: Duncan is a genius with a 4.0 GPA, while Blade is an ex-con who has to graduate high school in order to meet his parole conditions and keep out of jail. Their files accidentally get swapped, because this is a teen movie from the ’90s and of course they do, so the guys do an identity switch-a-roo that ends up benefitting both of them.

While Kid ’n Play are style icons in their own right, I was really drawn to the outfits that a character named Damita (played by Alysia Rogers) wore in the film—she favored colorful printed blouses and bustiers under tie-bottom tops, and I have to say, I do too. Here are some pieces that’ll help you cop her style at home:

Clockwise from left: bustier, $38, Nasty Gal; Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick in Legendary, $20, Sephora; earrings, $3, GirlPROPS; blouse, $23, Romwe; booties, $110, ModCloth.

Clockwise from far left: bustier, $38, Nasty Gal; Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick in Legendary, $20, Sephora; earrings, $3, GirlPROPS; patterned blouse, $23, Romwe; booties, $110, ModCloth.

To Do List Collage

In The To Do List (2013), it’s 1993 and a high school valedictorian and virgin named Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) decides she wants to make her sexual debut before she enters college. In keeping with her Type A personality, Brandy dutifully writes out a list of sex thangs she wants to tackle and check off each one after completion. Her Holy Grail devirginizer comes in the form of a hunky lifeguard named Rusty whom she vows to bone. Brandy dresses in typical ’90s-style teen-activist clothes—scrunchies, cutoff denim shorts, floral day dresses, and pro-choice, pro–Hillary Clinton T-shirts—and I LOVE IT. Some ideas for home viewers:

Far left: dress, $23, Can U Not; center, top to bottom: Swatch watch, $75, Macy's; scrunchie, $6, American Apparel; far right, top to bottom: Trapper Keeper, $18, Etsy; Mary Janes, $56.50, ASOS.

Clockwise from far left: dress, $23, Can U Not; Swatch watch, $75, Macy’s; Trapper Keeper, various prices, Etsy; Mary Janes, $56.50, ASOS; scrunchie, $6, American Apparel.

Monte Carlo Collage

Monte Carlo (2011) follows three friends—Grace (Selena Gomez), Emma (Katie Cassidy), and Meg (Leighton Meester)—on a post-graduation trip to Paris. While ducking the rain in a ritzy hotel, Grace gets mistaken for a British heiress, and the girls luck into the fruits of high-class society, including a trip to Monte Carlo, where they get into even more hijinks. My favorite scene, fashion-wise, is when they’re all dressed in gorgeous ball gowns at a charity auction. To emulate this highbrow look, find a peach or cream gown with pretty details, like tulle and beading, and wear shiny jewels to match.

Far left: mesh gown, $135, ModCloth; center, top to bottom: earrings, $14.50, Claire's; bracelet, $16.50, Claire's; Far left, top to bottom: nail polish in Pony, $8, Floss Gloss; high heels, $66, ASOS.

Clockwise from far left: mesh gown, $135, ModCloth; earrings (similar), $14.50, Claire’s; Floss Gloss nail polish in Pony, $8, Floss Gloss; high heels, $66.50, ASOS; bracelet (similar), $14.50, Claire’s.

Can't Hardly Wait Collage

In Can’t Hardly Wait (1998), a guy named Preston (Ethan Embry) is trying to pluck up his courage to confess his feelings to the object of his affections, Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt), during his high school’s graduation party. His BFF Denise (Lauren Ambrose) reluctantly agrees to help him on this quest, but she ends up finding some unexpected romance of her own when she accidentally gets locked in the bathroom (this isn’t as gross as it sounds, promise). Out of all of the girls’ party looks in the movie, I liked Denise’s best, because she’s dressed in all black, aka goth lite, aka an incredible look. Wear your own version of Denise’s outfit by finding a long-sleeved black lace top and throwing a black moto jacket on top.

Far left: biker jacket, $67, Romwe; center, from top to bottom: boots, $60, ModCloth; rubber bracelet, $32, Marc by Marc Jacobs; Far left, top to bottom: lace crop top, $32, Topshop; nail polish in Wicked, $8.50, Essie.

Clockwise from far left: biker jacket (similar), $40, Romwe; boots, $60, ModCloth; lace crop top, $32, Topshop; Essie nail polish in Wicked, $8.50, Essie; rubber bracelet (similar), $32, Marc by Marc Jacobs.


  • Daniizle May 15th, 2014 10:00 PM

    One word: YAAASS.

  • sophiethewitch May 16th, 2014 12:12 AM

    “Underneath my crimson graduation gown, I was wearing a DIY purple-sleeved baseball tee with a winking cat patch and iron-on letters that read ‘Killer Pussy’ on it.”


  • Mae85 May 16th, 2014 4:32 AM

    Ha! I wish I’d gone the same route as you. I was the total opposite. I was super shy in high school and did everything I could to fit in. This was YEARS before Rookie existed, and in fact before Tavi even started blogging. And Jane had already folded… I call those the ‘lost years’ for teenage girls haha! The only option I had was Seventeen magazing, Cosmo Girl and Teen Vogue – which fine, pretty pictures and all, but no message. SO ANYWAY, I ended up wearing a cinderella-style baby blue gown with spaghetti straps and a rhinestone incrusted bustier. I glued on fake nails, not knowing I was suppose to file them down, and proceeded to put so much spray in my hair that had I gotten into an accident on the way to graduate, I probably would have been protected by the helmet of hair I had fastened to my head.

    To put it all into perspective for you this was around the time She’s All That was running it’s circuit, so I wasn’t TOTALLY out of whack with ze fashionz, but sitll. Looking back had I wish I’d thought of making my own look from scratch.

    Also, I agree with sophiethewitch – where the pics at lady ?? :)

    - Mae