A Spring Inspiration Story
Not long ago on Instagram I said that I my spring ‘19 aesthetic was going be inspired by Steff McKee, otherwise known as James Spader’s character in Pretty In Pink. There was just something about the high school reminiscent hallway, my sockless nonchalance, and general DGAF attitude in the photo that made me think of Spader. I am never NOT going to make a James Spader reference, so into the caption it went.
It was just a joke. A funny thing I thought and put on Instagram. But then I did a bit of Googling and realised that I wasn’t joking. Steff McKee genuinely hits all the sartorial points that I’m looking at for spring.
Pretty In Pink is probably not your first thought when it comes to chic fashion goals. It was the 80s and Andi’s homemade/mash-up of a prom dress is frankly painful, but the classic, slouchy, WASPy tailoring of Spader’s villain (anti-hero…?) has certainly caught my eye.
Sidenote I’m not here to discuss the sexism and gender roles at play in this film. Steff is the “bad guy” but is nowhere near as bad as some of leading men from the John Hughes catalogue (coughjakeryancough), but he is pretty despicable. Hot and well dressed, but despicable. However I think we do need to mention that Blane (“his name is Blane!?”) is just about as bad in terms of his treatment of Andi and entitlement. And more importantly, that Duckie, who so many people think should have got the girl in the end, is actually worse than both of them. It’s really not a great film for the dudes. But like I said, I’m not here to talk about that. Sidenote over
Ok, back to fashion. For all his faults, Steff was really well dressed. Pastels, structured yet slouchy suits, killer shades and a certain je ne sais quoi that I can only dream of replicating. It is a minimal take on the over the top 80’s. Next to Andi, Steff looks like a calm, cool dream. Like so many other style icons, a lot of Steff’s appeal comes down to how he was wearing the clothes, and Marilyn Vance, the film’s costume designer knew it. “Attitude. He had an attitude, and that’s how I dressed him,” she told Yahoo News ahead of the film’s 30th anniversary.
But, of course, you can incorporate some of what made Steff look so cool without having to go full on yuppie-80’s-teen-movie-villain. Unless you want to. You might not make a lot a friends that way, but you do you. The muted colour palette and socklessness of Spader’s outfits make them perfect for incorporating into your spring wardrobe.
For a few seasons now we have been been seeing very 80’s trends come down the runway, and this spring was no different, so it is not actually a massive sartorial leap I am making here. For spring ’19 we saw khaki, beige and other chilled out cool colours, oversized suiting and OTT accessories. I would even say that some of the slouchy streetwear/athleisure trends we keep seeing could fit the know-it-all-confidence needed to pull off the look.
I’ll be incorporating elements of all this into my existing look. You can expect to see easy suits, both worn together and as seperates, lots of beige and taupe, linen and other casual-lux fabrics layered up and a few classic accessories (gold aviators FTW). I’ve always had an aversion to people seeing my socks (the horror), so this crucial element will be easy to achieve.
The key to nailing the Sockless Spader look is never to be underdressed, or overdressed. Just dressed.