Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fashion inspiration: the Duckman

In tribute to John Hughes, I purchased and watched Pretty in Pink for the umpteenth time this weekend, including all of the 20th anniversary special features. As usual, I found myself gravely disappointed by the re-shot ending in which Andie, the smart girl from the wrong side of the tracks, ends up with Blane, a rich kid with little personality, ugly pants, and a name that says "major appliance." In the original version of the film, Andie shows up to the prom with her best pal Duckie, and they celebrate their friendship and individuality by dancing to Bowie's "Heroes." How sweet would that have been?
Pretty in Pink is a fairly formulaic romantic teen movie, but one factor screws the whole thing up: Phil "Duckie" Dale. Every time I watch the movie, I find myself more taken with the uniqueness of this character. Duckie doesn't fit the stereotype of the school nerd (he's failing) or the geek (no weird obsessions except for his love for Andie), but he's also not depicted as dark and depressed. He seems to have even less money than Andie, though we only get glimpses of this, like the shot of him in his bedroom, slumped on a matress on the floor. He loves Andie, but it's not a crush from afar: he knows her better than anyone else. Oh, and he also listens to the Smiths and knows all the words to Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness."

Thus, I'll state definitively that Duckie is my favorite John Hughes character of all. (On a side note, I'm also strangely in love with Jon Cryer after hearing his hilarious and charming comments throughout the special features). One of the things I love most about Duckie is his fashion. His style is crazy and out-there, yet it doesn't define him: in fact in the film, no one even comments on it. His look combines the 80's trends of pattern and layering (vests over patterned shirts, layered striped socks) with rockabilly touches, like bolo ties, sport jackets and, of course, those white shoes. I've tried to compile some Duckie-inspired items available now, for women who didn't identity as much with Andie (and wouldn't be caught dead in that baggy pink dress).
Blazer from Urban Outfitters ($48), Bolo tie from Alan Goldin Jewelry on Etsy ($20), Flats from Urban Outfitters ($38)
Bowler hat from Urban Outfitters ($28), Polka dot suspenders from Im Your Present on Etsy ($10), Vest from Since 1985 on Etsy ($10)
Leg Warmers from Modcloth ($11.99), and White oxfords from 1ThingLeads on Etsy ($45)

Legwarmers can substitute for scrunchy socks, and cute white flats for the famous Duckie shoes. All that's left are some vintage patches for your jacket, rolled-up black pants, and an attitude, and you'll be ready to "plow." -Maura