‘The Sweetest Thing’ outfits are a fashion time capsule of 2000’s nightlife

The early 2000s were a pivotal time for going out looks. In a world full of tabloids and an ever-growing fixation on reality TV and party girl culture, hems have become shorter and designer logos have become eye-catching centerpieces. The 2002 buddy comedy The cutest thing Stars Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair as Christina, Courtney and Jane respectively – a trio of young, successful girlfriends looking for love and getting caught up in a variety of increasingly absurd jokes. Her nightly looks embody the body-conscious maximalism of the era, with a variety of outfits that wouldn’t be out of place on the pop starlets of the era.

In one of the scenes where the friends go to clubs, Christina wears a black one-shoulder crop top paired with dangerously low-waisted shiny crimson bootcut pants, while Courtney matches she Bootcut pants with a belly chain and a cropped denim corset with a plunging neckline, and Jane wears a leopard print bodycon dress. The complementary outfits (you know it’s the ’00s when a group of friends sport multiple pairs of bootcut pants and crop tops) feel harmonious, and the revealing silhouettes speak to the decade’s obsession with flat stomachs and understated sexuality.

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This group of stylish besties reminds me Sex and the Citythe ultimate blueprint for all media of the time, featuring well-dressed girlfriends attempting sexual provocation. Sex and the City may have the more lasting legacy and more memorable jokes, but The cutest thing remains a time capsule of both the hit-or-miss raunchy humor of the era and the clubwear trends that are, yes, now making a comeback.

Almost every trend of the aughts finds its way into the film. Christina often wears skinny scarves, which were popular as lightweight hipster accessories that served no functional purpose. She carries a variety of designer bags and she and her friends always wear stilettos. The look of a cropped night out top, low-rise bootcut pants and heels was all the rage at the time and has many appearances everywhere The cutest thing. It’s the kind of day-to-night outfit that contemporary fashion magazines of the era were always talking about — flirtatious but still vaguely professional, with the combination of heels and pants conveying just a hint of edginess.

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The costuming of these three characters befits their status as sexually adventurous career women. They know how to have fun and aren’t afraid to experiment with flashy accessories and unforgivingly tight and/or cropped clothing. In the times of the pandemic, these night out outfits feel extra appealing – what could be more luxe than a cute top that transforms an outfit into something dancefloor worthy in the blink of an eye?

The funniest fashion moment of The cutest thing takes place not in a nightclub but in a quirky small-town boutique where Christina and Courtney search for wedding-appropriate outfits after a series of mishaps that nearly destroyed their clothes (long story). In the dressing room, they launch into a charming, confident montage in which they dress in outfits reminiscent of a number of movie icons. Christina struts in an outfit like the one Sandy wears at the end Fat (complete with a perm and cigarette) while Courtney dances while wearing one Flashdance-Ready cut-off sweatshirt. Christina then bounces around in full early Madonna drag, making a strong case that should Diaz ever return to acting, she could be considered for the upcoming biopic about the music legend. Courtney makeup in a red dress and white gloves inspired by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

Fat, Flash Dance, Desperately looking for Susanne, Pretty Woman — these are all films where the costumes build the characters’ confident femininity, but perhaps amusingly, Christina and Courtney also don coordinating blue and orange tuxedos, just like the protagonists in the unforgettably goofy 1994 film dumb dumber. The bright colors, ruffles, bows, top hat and walking sticks make for a garish display, and this little nod to an absurd buddy comedy from eight years ago is a perfect fit for characters who move effortlessly from contemporary glamor to ridiculousness. Two decades after the initial publication of The cutest thingthe mix of sexy nightclub style and silliness remains the film’s highlight.

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