An Alternative History Of Party Girls

Strike a pose – it’s been 20 years since Parker Posey’s Mary morphed from club kid to librarian in Party Girl. The tongue-in-cheek tale of a sassy New York IT-girl who breaks the bank being fabulous 24/7 (someone’s got to do it) is many a fashion fangirl’s favourite film. The ‘90s dramedy is often eclipsed by another 1995 release (whatever) but this cult classic is every bit as iconic as Clueless.

The first feature film to be streamed on the internet, Party Girl entered my life via If-You-Were-Born-In-The-80s VHS. I would rent and rewind the tape to watch, in slow motion, Mary’s many costume changes, each one more flamboyant than the next. When Mary entered a room, everyone noticed. And in a red satin corset and glitter hotpants, is it really any wonder? “Less is more” was most definitely not in this wild child’s vocabulary. Take a leaf out of Mary’s book and make leopard print, evening gloves, costume jewellery and patterned tights your new neutrals.

Costume designer Michael Clancy relied on pieces borrowed from Todd Oldham, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Parker Posey’s own closet to create Mary’s larger-than-life look but you don’t need a socialite’s salary to dress the part. Mary’s librarian-on-acid wardrobe is super-easy to recreate. Here’s how.
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The “you don't think I'm smart enough to work in your fucking library?” outfit.

Aspiring librarians take note. Shelve the prim pussy-bow blouses and pencil skirts and check out the primary colours and kitsch accessories instead. Most importantly, whatever you’re wearing, you should always be ready for an impromptu dance party in the aisles.

Jumper: Bella Freud Into This Wool Jumper, £280, available at Harvey Nichols.
Shorts: Zeus + Dione Petra Crepe Shorts, £230, available at Matches Fashion.
Shoes: REDValentino Embellished Mary Jane Pumps, £360, available at Very Exclusive.
Hair: Claire’s 4 Pack Glass Fruit Hair Elastics, £5, available at Claire’s.
Glass: Leonardo Cocktail Glass, £7, available at Debenhams.
Bag: Olympia Le Tan Embroidered Felt Clutch, £1,035, available at Browns.
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The “get a last name and we'll talk” outfit.

Sometimes, all you want to is be left alone to Vogue in peace with your friends, and look fabulous while doing it. The “remove one accessory before you leave the house” rule does not apply.

Dress: French Connection Satellite Brights Sequin Dress, £175, available at French Connection.
Shoes: Charlotte Olympia Lizzie Embellished Suede And Mesh Platform Sandals, £492.10, available at THEOUTNET.COM
Necklace: SB London Bella Ball Pendant, £275, available at Wolf & Badger.
Gloves: Dents Long Satin Gloves, £19, available at Dents.
Earrings: Goldsmiths 9ct Gold Textured Small Hoop Earrings, £50, Goldsmiths.
Lipstick: MAC Russian Red Lipstick, £15.50, available at Selfridges. Hair: VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel, £3.15, available at Superdrug.
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The “He-he- hello” outfit. Every Party Girl needs one.

For when you’re feeling a million dollars (which is all day, every day). Mary rarely left her Soho loft without at least one item of leopard print on and in this coat who would want to stay in? Pair with plenty of party girl red and don’t forget to perfect your walk.

Coat: Biba Detachable Faux Fur Collar Leopard Print Coat, £179, available at House of Fraser.
Skirt: Victoria, Victoria Beckham Teddy Wool-Blend Boucle Mini Skirt, £325, available at NET-A-PORTER.COM.
Blouse: Mango Tie-Neck Blouse, £24.99, available at Mango.
Shoes: Daniel Alert Black Suede Mary Jane Platform Shoe, £179, available at Daniel Footwear.
Brooch: Yazbukey Le Lipstick Brooch, £50, available at Valery Demure.
Gloves: Jane Carr The Slender Gloves, £200, available at Jane Carr. Bag: Rebecca Minkoff Micro Avery Tote, £129.32, available at ShopBop.
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The “can I have a falafel with hot sauce, a side order of baba ganoush and a seltzer, please?” outfit.

If you’re crushing hard on the falafel cart guy with the soulful eyes you’re going to need an outfit that makes you stand out from everyone else in the queue. And if you’re Mary, which, in this scenario you most definitely are, you might find you need not one but several outfits to seal the deal. Of all Mary’s seduction get-ups, this one is probably our favourite.

Top: Jigsaw Skinny Rib V-Neck Jumper, £98, available at Jigsaw. Shorts: Topshop Velvet Patch Pocket Shorts, £35, available at Topshop.
Shoes: Kurt Geiger Solace High Heel Shoe Boots, £160, available at Kurt Geiger.
Knee socks: John Lewis Cotton Rich Knee High Socks, £8, available at John Lewis.
Faux fur shrug: REISS Falabella Faux Fur Stole, £85, available at REISS.
Make up: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl, £30, available at Space NK.

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