Alicia Silverstone on the Story Behind Her Iconic Plaid Clueless Suit.
By Christian Allaire
Who can forget the indelible image of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, wearing a sunshine-yellow plaid suit and shouting “Ugh, as if!” in a repulsed tone? Clueless recently turned 25, and the Amy Heckerling–directed comedy remains an iconic piece of pop culture today. Starring Silverstone as the fashion-obsessed teen Cher Horowitz, the movie is best known for its outstanding clothes (you can thank costume designer Mona May for that). Out of the 64 costumes that Silverstone sports in the film, however, that iconic yellow plaid suit that she wears in one of the opening scenes is the most memorable. Vogue recently chatted with Silverstone to learn more about the backstory of how that famous outfit came to be—and it turns out, it almost didn’t make the cut. Get 1 Year of Vogue
plus an exclusive gift SUBSCRIBE NOW
Looking back, Silverstone says she wasn’t aware of just how good the film’s fashion was at the time of filming. “Before Clueless, I didn’t have any interest or understanding about fashion,” she says. “The clothes are the star of the film—or at least the costar!” The actor does remember, however, the influence that grunge music was having on style in 1995 when the movie was filmed. The genre played a huge influence in her wearing that yellow plaid suit, which consisted of a plaid Dolce & Gabbana skirt with a matching jacket, Mary Jane shoes, white knee-high socks, a white tee, and yellow cardigan. “In the early ’90s, fashion was heavily influenced by Nirvana and Kurt Cobain,” she says of the look. “It’s a nod to a schoolgirl uniform, but in an elevated, chic, very high-fashion way. And it’s so absurd. Immediately you’re transformed and you know the world that you’re in, because that’s not how kids dress to go to school.”
Silverstone remembers how that now-infamous ensemble almost looked entirely different, though. “There were three options for this opening scene: a blue version, a red version, and a yellow version,” she says. “Amy and Mona chose the yellow one because they felt it was the most appropriate for the scene.” (We’re so glad they did.) More than two decades later, Silverstone says she still gets tagged in tons of social media posts that are dedicated to recreating Cher’s checkered suit. “Every single Halloween, I get pictures sent to me, and they’re always in the yellow plaid outfit,” she says. She even wore a re-creation of it herself on an episode of Lip Sync Battle in 2018. But the suit does not currently live in a precious archive or museum as you would think it would be. “No one knows where that yellow plaid outfit is,” she says. At least we have the memory.
Above, watch the full video with Silverstone.
Director: Rom Bokobza
Editor: Camille Getz
Producer: Naomi Nishi