13 Going on 30 Outfits

Thirty, flirty and thriving.

While I’ll never be 30 again (nor do I want to), I certainly felt flirty and thriving while putting together these looks from one of my favorite movies. Jennifer Garner is an absolutely joy in this film. The entire cast is actually. Judy Greer’s “Tom Tom” to Garner’s Jenna Rink is a frenemies match made in movie heaven. (The fact that they’re best friends IRL makes it even better.) Even the soundtrack to this movie rocks. I mean, The Go-Gos, Rick Springfield, Pat Benatar, Billy Joel? Come on!

But the real star of this movie to me is the fashion. Costume Designer Susie DeSanto (who also did the costumes for Hope Floats and Miss Congeniality) succeeds in making us all nostalgic for the early aughts. Slip dresses, Fendi baguettes, pastel cardigans, and butterfly motifs were all the rage. I wore them all when I first moved to New York City in 2000.

And while the Jenna-Rink-Versace-dress-look has become a popular Halloween costume, many of the other outfits are just as fashionable today as they were back then. Here’s a look back at some of the best outfits from 13 Going on 30. (And if you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it in a while, do yourself a favor and watch it. Again. You can watch the full movie online here.)

The Slip Dress

Vintage Nanette Lepore Coat (slip brand unknown)


The Closet Scene


THAT Dress

Versace dress & Tarina Tarantino butterfly necklace (The necklace I’m wearing is Betsey Johnson)


The Polka Dot Dress (that’s only seen for a split second)

Moschino or Marc Jacobs dress (I think!) & the bag is either Prada or Fendi (couldn’t find an exact match)


The Lace-Up Blouse

Moschino blouse and vintage yellow skirt (she later wears this skirt with a Ralph Lauren strapless corset top)


The Black Leather Jacket

I think the dress is Roberto Cavalli but not sure about the jacket


The Chop Sticks

Christian Dior Corset Bag (not sure who made the jacket & pants)


The Chloe Ribbon Blouse

Chloe blouse & skirt


The All Pink Ensemble

Marc Jacobs skirt


The Moschino Dress That No One Can Find

Moschino dress


If you liked this post, check out the “Get The Look” posts I did for The Devil Wears Prada and Factory Girl – two of my other favorite fashion films.

The Little Black Dress: By the Decade

The first little black dress

There’s nothing little about it, really. It’s as iconic and larger-than-life as the person who invented it. Coco Chanel.

According to The Costume Institute, Chanel debuted the little black dress in 1926. Vogue quickly nicknamed it the “Ford of Fashion,” comparing the garment to the Model T car, which was very popular at the time. The drawing pictured on the left of Chanel’s original design appeared in the magazine that same year.

The first little black dress was long-sleeved, fell just below the knees, and was constructed of a wool jersey fabric. Chanel designed it to be a simple and unadorned foundation piece that could be worn with different accessories and dressed up or down according to the occasion.

Prior to World War I, women didn’t really wear black that often because the color was associated with mourning. In the period that followed (and especially during the Great Depression of the 1930s) black captured the collective mood of despair and became more acceptable. The little black dress required minimal fabric, so it was more affordable to produce at the time, making it even more popular.

In the decades that followed, the little black dress only increased in popularity, appearing on fashion runways and magazine covers in various forms: the pinup, the wiggle, the mini, the maxi, and more. Here’s a little sampling.

1940s Dresses: The Pinup

After years of fabric-rationing and factory uniforms, there was a strong desire for a return to more glamorous dressing. Enter Christian Dior.

In the 1940s, Dior came up with the famous “New Look” silhouette, featuring rounded shoulders, nipped waistlines, and full skirts. This design led to the “pinup” and “rockabilly” styles of the late 40s and mid-50s. Black was a dominant color.

“You can wear black at any age,” Dior stated at the time. “You can wear it on almost any occasion. A little black frock is essential to a woman.”

Shop the 1940s look

1950s Dresses: The Wiggle

The 1950s introduced another new look. The “wiggle” or “pencil” dress became popular when worn by movie stars including Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

The wiggle got its name in reference to the way a woman had to walk when wearing the dress. The straight hemline was more narrow than the hips, requiring her to take shorter strides and keep the legs close together when walking. This caused a swaying of the hips that became known as the “wiggle.”

The little black wiggle dress was certainly not the easiest to walk (or sit) in, but it was glamorous nonetheless.

Shop wiggle dresses

1960s Dresses: The Mini

The 1960s ushered in the rise of the hemline. The sexual revolution happening at the time freed women from strict dress codes and encouraged more expression in both sexuality and fashion.

Little black dresses got even littler thanks to designers like Mary Quant (who is credited with inventing the miniskirt) and André Courrèges (known for his space-age minidresses). Both designers were showing skirts and dresses that hit several inches above the knee.

Dresses in the 1960s were worn with go-go boots, platform shoes, or chic flats. Think Edie Sedgwick hanging out with Andy Warhol at The Factory.

Shop 1960s looks

1970s Dresses: The Midi and Maxi

The sexual revolution continued into the 1970s, but the hemlines retreated. The little black midi-dress replaced the mini-dress thanks to Studio 54 and the decade of disco. Prom and evening dresses went full-length maxi and were made of silk, satin, or polyester material.

Little black dresses from designers such as Halston, Bill Blass, Norma Kamali, Donald Brooks and Stephen Burrows were all popular during the 1970s.

It was also the decade that Diane von Furstenburg introduced the iconic wrap dress.

Shop 1970s Style Dresses

1980s Dresses: The Pouf

Pouf! There it is!

If you went to high school during the mid to late 1980s, you had a pouffy prom dress.

Whether the poof was at the shoulder or the hem, bigger was always better. (It wasn’t called the “Big 80s” for nothing. Something had to balance out all that hair!)

Aside from prom dresses, most dresses in the 80s had oversized shoulder pads and tons of embellishments, including sequins, beading, and chain detail, like this little black Lillie Rubin dress I’m wearing in the photo.

Shop 1980s dresses

1990s Dresses: The Bodycon

The 90s were a backlash to the over-the-top opulence of the 80s. Dresses became more streamlined. Emerging grunge and goth trends throughout the decade made black the go-to color.

Slip dresses in silk, satin, and velvet were also extremely popular. When Tom Ford took over Gucci in the mid-90s, his black backless and cut-out dresses quickly became collectors’ items.

Both the slip-dress and the bodycon were throwbacks to the wiggle of the 50s. Fashion does indeed repeat itself.

Shop 1990s bodycon dresses

To this day, the LBD remains an iconic fashion staple. It’s simplicity and classic style makes it the perfect choice for women of all ages and body types. As Wallis Simpson, the former Duchess of Windsor once said, “When the little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.”

Check out my Little Black Dress Pinterest Board

Lost and Found: Vintage Swatch Clock Bag

A defining 80s fashion trend…

Swatch watches. Everyone had one, and most everyone wore more than one. We were piling on Swatch watches before jewelry stacking even became a thing. My friends and I would collect them, swap them, and borrow them based on the outfit of the day. With our teased hair, blue eyeshadow, and oversized Esprit sweaters, the right Swatch watch could make or break a look. Or so we thought.

Although everyone had the watches, few had the bag. I got the coveted rare Swatch clock bag as a Christmas present. I remember wearing it to high school after the holiday break and my classmates asking me if it really kept time. (It didn’t.)

I wore that bag everywhere in the late 1980s. I don’t remember what happened to it after I went away to college. But decades later, I was in a bar with a group of high school friends talking about old times and my friend Eric said, “One of the things I remember most about your 80s outfits is that big ass Swatch bag!” 

As a vintage fashion collector and seller, I always wondered if I would ever come across that bag again. I saw one online a few years ago, but it was sold out. And it was red, not the blue one I had back in the day. I set up all kinds of saved searches on eBay and Etsy so I could be alerted if one became available, but it never did.

As I mentioned in last week’s article, I started doing the “To Be Magnetic” manifestation program a couple of years ago. One of the exercises is to create a “mini-manifestation” list of little things you want that could be reasonably attainable in the short term (as opposed to long-term goals such as a million dollars or your perfect dream partner). The point of the mini-manifestation list to build your trust muscle. So I put the vintage Swatch bag on my list. Then I forgot about it.

A month or so later, I got a notification from eBay that someone had just listed the exact bag I had in high school. I bought it immediately. It was ridiculously expensive, but worth every penny. That’s because I wasn’t simply buying another vintage bag. I was buying back a little piece of my youth.

Shop vintage 1980s fashion trends

Vintage 80s John Richard Dress
Vintage 80s Sequin Dress
Vintage 80s Lace Collar Dress
Vintage 80s Esprit Sweater

Check out Swatch & vintage 80s clothing on Pinterest