Style Study: Pretty in Pink's Iona

It's no secret that I have a soft spot for the fashion and music of the 1980s, but, as a teenager, when I finally got around to watching those John Hughes' brat pack, coming of age films from the decade, I have to say I was a little disappointed. 

Having red hair and making eccentric fashion choices often brought up Molly Ringwald comparisons as a kid, so when I saw her on screen for the first time in Pretty in Pink, I remember not being very impressed.

 Sure her character is admirable for most of the movie, but in the end she unforgivably chooses the wrong guy! I was also always disappointed in Andie Walsh's wardrobe, she makes her own clothes and puts together outfits for $15 (girl after my own heart!) but what she does put together is often frilly or frumpy. Watching it as an adult, her ensembles seem less offensive, but as a adolescent with a penchant for all things black, the style icon of the film was clearly Iona, the quirky record store owner. 

After recently revisiting the film, more than 15 years after first watching it (gee, am I really that old?),  I was amazed to find that not only do I admire Iona's eccentric style, I'm quite inspired by it.

When we first meet Iona, she's wearing a vinyl tank-dress, white t-shirt and has a head full of spiked hair. Vinyl for decorating with vinyl? Kind of the perfect outfit.

The next we see Iona, she's got this great 80s does 40s inspired look going on, complete with snood, hat and peplum top. Of course, she's still got some wild 80s hair, but I think it really works with this ensemble!

"Andie, hon. Listen, it's after 7:00. Don't waste good lip gloss"

Finally we get a glimpse into Iona's equally quirky apartment and find her in a white wig and black and white dress with mandarin collar for an Asian inspired look.
 I remember watching this film originally and rejoicing at the thought of wearing a wig-- it may have been at this very point in time that I realized how much power fashion gives you to be whoever you want to be. I have yet to wear a wig for anything other than Halloween, but here's a reminder to take it into consideration.

And finally, the last good Iona look of the movie-- her prom dress and that beehive! Like a true style icon, she can't just put the dress on, she has to go the extra mile and complete the whole look with pearls, hair and make-up. 
(Can we pause for just a moment to admire the pink polka dot prom dress? From first viewing to last, I've always cringed a little when Andie cuts into it to make her own dress.)

"It was the first and last time I ever looked normal--you know, relatively speaking. It would have been a fairy tale if my date hadn't been the only one at the prom with a wife and two kids."

The last time we see Iona, she's nearly unrecognizable and, as she admits, looks like a mom. While this look is not unfathomable as her fashion choices are so varied, she explains her less eccentric look is due to her latest "yuppie" beau. Just like Andie's choice of Blane (aka the wrong guy!), Iona changing her look for a man was, and still is, disappointing. However, knowing Iona, she'd have an entirely different look should we have seen her again in the film. I think, ultimately, that's the charm of her fashion choices, nothing is off limits.

I suppose what I admire most about Iona's style is what I lack in my own. Each time we see her, her look is entirely different, yet still entirely her. While her hip, 80s mom look seems a little out of place, given her array of looks throughout the film, we can assume nothing is off limits for her. 
Her style is variety, and we get the sense that if Iona were real, and not just a movie character with a wardrobe department dishing out looks, she'd be the kind of woman that un-apologetically wears what she loves and dresses to suit her mood.

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