Hard to believe as it may be, Clueless celebrates its 20th anniversary this July. To mark the occasion, Jen Chaney conducted interviews with the cast and crew, and compiled the results in the encyclopedic paperback As If! The more-than-300-page book covers everything, from how they got those tiny flowers into Dionne’s braids to initial screenings of the film. Here are seven facts about the costumes worth noting.
The budget was fairly low, considering the number of costumes needed.
“I think [the budget] was like $200,000,” said costume designer Mona May. “Which was nothing. To have the main character have 63 changes, and you’d have all the big female characters have that many changes in the film, plus all the supporting cast and the background that I had to dress head to toe: That was really not a lot of money.”
Cher’s plaid look didn’t come easy.
Finding the Jean Paul Gaultier plaid skirtsuit that Cher wears for the first day of school was no easy task. Writer and director Amy Heckerling describes the search to find the right outfit for Cher’s first in-school appearance as a struggle for May, until the JPG number appeared and just clicked. “For that scene, we probably tried 10 or 15 different outfits. They were all plaid. Different colors: little dresses, little jumpers, or just different things. Once we put the yellow on—I don’t remember if it was number five or number 10 or whatever—but it was like, ‘Wow. Here it is,’” May said.
Those knee socks are inspired by Cabaret.
“The over-the-knee socks have just been an obsession of mine my whole life. You know, because of Cabaret, and movies from the ’20s where they have the roll-down stockings,” said Heckerling of the inspiration for Cher’s go-to socks. “When Liza Minnelli is singing ‘Mein Herr’ [in Cabaret] with the short black shorts with the over-the-knee stockings, I go, ‘Well, that’s the best outfit a girl could wear, ever.’”
Alicia Silverstone kept all her clothes, but you’re not going to like what she did with them.
“I didn’t do a very good job at saving any of them. I was stupid about that whole thing. I think I gave them all away,” Silverstone admitted.
Elisa Donovan, who played Amber, wore the same lipstick in every scene.
“She was game for anything,” explained Alan Friedman, the film’s makeup supervisor—except for maybe her lipstick. “She generally wore the same lipstick for every scene, but she would let me sort of go at it.”
Paul Rudd wore his own clothes for several scenes.
“I had only gotten out of college a few years before. I think they just kind of wanted it to be like what I would wear,” mused Paul Rudd. The Amnesty International tee his character, Josh, wears was Rudd’s own, as was a tee he picked up from a band in Minneapolis. “In one of the scenes, I was wearing a T-shirt from this band called Trip Shakespeare, that was a band that I loved from Minneapolis.”
Cher’s closet was inspired by Victoria’s Secret.
Cher’s infamous wardrobe was actually built in a pool house on the property where the movie was filmed and was inspired by the look of Victoria’s Secret. “I recall painting her room in pink and white stripes, which was basically—the inspiration there was the box from Victoria’s Secret,” noted production designer Steve Jordan.