Confession: Despite rounding the bend to the big 3-0, I still love a good teenage coming-of-age movie. From Sixteen Candles to Mean Girls and Paper Towns, that particular genre is like a time machine, bringing me back to my own adolescent years — you know, minus the acne and the anxiety about SAT prep. Cliques and cool kids and math team and decorating for the school dance? Sign me up.
But lately, I've noticed a pattern about the requisite "uncool" (but secretly super-cool) girl who tends to wind up at the centre of these stories. She might have a rough haircut that's growing out, or be completely invisible to the popular crowd. But that popular crowd tends to dress like a bunch of lame lemmings. The uncool girl, on the other hand, has her own unique style.
A good recent example of this observation comes by way of The Edge of 17, out just before Thanksgiving (and yes, a pretty stellar addition to the teen movie canon). Hailee Steinfeld plays Nadine, a high schooler who is struggling with the social scene — but totally nailing it on the sartorial front. Fishnets and miniskirts and platform sneakers with an ever-present vintage bomber jacket? Nadine has her own distinctive look. And to be honest, it's really good, and not just for her age group.
But she's not the only social outcast with killer style. Check out the other on-screen "geeky" girls who actually have the best fashion sense in school. Now, if only we could only raid their closets go back to our own high school days.