When you think of movies with great clothes, a few fashion films quickly come to mind. There’s Sex & The City and The Devil Wears Prada for designer labels, Clueless for the ‘90s fashion trends, and Atonement for that green dress. (Personally, I also have a special place in my heart for the dual-toned, lace slip dress Jenna Rink wears in 13 Going On 30.) Rarely do films like Father of the Bride get brought up in the conversation — let alone the sequel. And yet, here I am, tossing the film into the fashion ring on its 25th anniversary. Why? Because Father of the Bride II features all of the items I have worn since lockdown began: men’s button-downs, elasticized bodysuits, and ‘80s-style sneakers. All that, and pearls!
Father of the Bride II — starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, pre-Succession Kieran Culkin, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley — picks up with Williams-Paisley’s character, Annie Banks, pregnant. Coincidentally, so is her mother (Keaton). The film is not exactly set in the fashion closet at Runway magazine, or, for that matter, on an all-expense-paid trip to Abu Dhabi. Instead, Father of the Bride II centers around the two women, both of whom spend most of the film at home, trying their best to stay entertained during a very hot summer, as well as their third trimesters.
Annie and Nina work out to videotapes in the living room, take mid-day naps to the sound of old movies, and redecorate — a lot. All the while, they wear comfortable, non-restrictive garb, from ribbed leggings paired with tunics to jersey onesies with sneakers. (And pearls, don’t forget the pearls.) Sound familiar? Minus the whole pregnancy part (for me at least), the 1995 flick is essentially a lesson on how to stay busy during quarantine — and, more importantly (again, for me at least), how to dress for it. Hell, even the extras dress with what seems like 2020 in mind, with a woman, on a run with her child in the stroller, shown wearing margarine-yellow sweatpants and sneakers mid-movie. (Entireworld, anyone?)
And then there’s dad (Martin). After re-watching the film, I’ve come to realize this: When we talk about “dad style” making a comeback, George Banks is exactly who we’re referring to. He wears some seriously chunky sneakers and frequently sports perfectly worn-in chambray shirts, which he wears over white T-shirts. Even his pajamas — a Brooks Brothers-esque blue robe, paired with blue and white striped boxers, and tube socks worn with slippers — have an air of 2020 cool about them. In fact, his boxers very closely resemble a pair I splurged on from London-based streetwear brand Aries Arise, the likes of which are now sold out. And given how much time is spent at home these days, pajamas are just as much an all-day staple as your favourite jeans once were, especially if your boss allows you to Zoom call without your camera on.
Where we used to dream about Andy’s Chanel thigh-high boots from The Devil Wears Prada — and someday, we’ll dream of them again — right now, comfortable fashion is what’s appealing to us and our WFH life. For me, that means throwing on a pastel-striped button-down stolen from my dad’s closet, and wearing it with bike shorts, tube socks (preferably of the Brother Vellies Cloud variety), and retro-esque sneakers.
The song playing during the film’s intro seems to say it all when it coos, “Give me the simple life.” Because in 2020, it’s the simple things — like a good chambray shirt or a pair of rolled-up boxers — that make all the difference in my wardrobe.