Sixth-formers, pull your designer socks up

'Clueless', Hollywood's latest teen movie, threatens to turn UK schoolgirls into Calvin Klein-clad, mobile-phone-toting trendoids. Tamsin Blanchard reports

It is being billed as the fashion movie, outstripping both Robert Altman's Pret a Porter fiasco and Isaac Mizrahi's Unzipped (currently on release in the United States). When it was shown in America this summer, Clueless, the high-school comedy starring Alicia Silverstone as a fashion- crazy Beverly Hills mall rat called Cher, spawned its own clones who are now dressing like characters in the film and talking like them too. "You are so clueless" became the compliment of the summer. And as from 20 October, Clueless promises to change the lives of teenagers here, (or their wardrobes and vocabulary, at least). Lock up your daughters and your credit cards as well: these clothes have labels and three-figure price-tags attached.

Picture the scene: you get out of bed in the morning, brush your teeth, and then sit at your computer terminal to choose your outfit for the day. You call up a yellow-and-black tartan suit and ask the computer to accessorise it for you. This, according to Cher, is "way normal life for a teenager". Various items from her extensive wardrobe of preppy suits, patent leather bags and shoes, and girly knee-high socks which move around on a motorised carousel, can be called up on screen so she can mix, match and colour co-ordinate without ending up with a huge pile of clothes on the floor. When she does have a trying-on session, Cher doesn't trust her mirror image and has a friend take polaroids instead. The computer recommends a yellow mohair waistcoat, a white patent rucksack, some knee-high socks and a pair of white loafers. Even her bubblegum is yellow to match.

The characters in Clueless are 15, going on 16. They spend their days going from one class to the next, dressing to impress one another. Cher's main objectives in life are pure and innocent - to dress herself well and to help others follow her stylish lead. The girls dress up and the boys dress down. They wear their trousers yanked halfway down their designer boxer-short-clad bottoms. "I don't get how guys dress today," says Cher in disgust. The guys in question take their fashion cue from baggy skateboarders, while the girls look to the Paris catwalks and the shiniest of shopping malls.

When a new girl called Tai arrives at school, looking like an extra from Kids (the other teen movie that caused a controversy in America this summer), Cher feels the need to give her a makeover. After a session of hair-curling, make-up coating and a consultation with the computer, Tai is transformed from drug-toking indie girl to squeaky-clean trendoid.

In America the high-fashion Clueless look has been seen as a backlash against grunge. In actual fact, Cher is just a rich girl who wouldn't be seen dead in a holey old jumper and baggy trousers if it was the last outfit on earth. Clueless girls wouldn't be embarrassed to borrow clothes from their mothers. They dress to be older than their years and to be chic at all times.

Although increasingly schools in Britain are disregarding the need for formal school uniforms, it is at sixth-form college that most British teenagers are allowed their first taste of the freedom to wear what they want. For many of them, it is a time to react against a uniform and to wear clothes their parents don't approve of. Not so in Clueless. The only time Cher's father (her mother died during a routine liposuction session) comments on her clothes is when she is going out in a tight, minuscule white dress. "What the hell is that? It looks like underwear," he says. "It's a dress." "Who says?" "Calvin Klein."

For our Clueless makeover, we took two anything-but-clueless 17-year- olds currently in the second year of their A-levels. Rachel admitted to spending up to five hours getting ready to go out at night (wash hair, diffuse hair, mousse hair) and said she would never go out without mascara. And while both Rachel and Sarah agree that most of the money they earn from part-time jobs goes on clothes, neither would buy designer clothes for the sake of a label. They shop at high-street chains such as Top Shop, River Island, Warehouse, Oasis and Jigsaw.

"Clothes like this look all right in a picture, but I'd be laughed out of college," was Sarah's comment after being kitted out Cher-style. "It's too bright - I normally wear black. And I don't like the shoulder pads. It's very American."

But the suit is by Hobbs, not by some kooky American designer. And the Clueless look is more preppy conservative chic than Valley Girl. After spending half an hour in a prim shirt, Argyle tank-top and smart red skirt by Vivienne Westwood, Rachel was beginning to come round to the idea: "I quite like the shirt and top. But maybe in a different colour. And the skirt could be shorter."

Whether Clueless clones will shimmy across the Atlantic along with the film, we will have to wait and see. The clothes are in the shops, just waiting to be snapped up and worn with knee-high socks and blush pink lipstick. And the ultimate Clueless accessory, the mobile phone, is already being banned at some schools. At Sarah's and Rachel's sixth-form college, they are commonplace. To be totally clueless all you really need is a pair of knee-highs and, of course, a gilt-edged holder for your phone in quilted satin or faux lizard. A mere snip at just pounds 49.99 from the Leather Room at Harrods. Where else?

Photograph by Andrew Lamb

Styling by Jo Adams

Make-up by Laura Dos Remedios

for No7 at GSM

Sarah, left, wears yellow and black tartan cavalry jacket, pounds 134.99, and kilt, pounds 67.99, both by Hobbs, 47 South Molton Street, London W1; Unit 31, Royal Victoria Place, Calvery Row, Tunbridge Wells, and branches nationwide; over-the-knee socks, pounds 5.99, by Hot Sox, from Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1; Liberty, Regent Street, London W1; Selfridges, Oxford Street, W1; John Lewis, branches nationwide; head band, pounds 8.95, from Liberty, as before; pager, by Benetton, from British Telecom shops nationwide; red patent bag, pounds 35, by Dollargrand, from Dickins & Jones, Regent Street, W1 and Liberty, as before; yellow patent shoes, pounds 69.99, from Hobbs, as before; mobile phone, by Mercury one2one, (for further information, ring 0500 500 121)

Rachel, right, wears blue silk shirt, pounds 165, tank top, pounds 235, and skirt, pounds 115, by Vivienne Westwood, from Liberty, as before; black patent headband, pounds 16.95, by Otto Glanz, from Liberty, as before; red quilted telephone holder, pounds 49.95, from the Leather Room, Harrods, as before; mobile telephone, as before; white knee-high socks, pounds 5.99, by Hot Sox, as before; white patent shoes, pounds 69.99, by Hobbs, as before

The characters in 'Clueless' are 15, but dress to be older than their years, and, above all, chic at all times

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    ICT Teacher

    £21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...

    DT Design and Technology Teacher

    £21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...

    Maths Teacher

    £21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...

    Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

    £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on