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.

More from Styling Tips

R29 Original Series