Style Inspiration: Hallie Parker
Pictured above: Hallie Parker; Hallie Parker's adoring and loyal posse.
Meaning, yeah, the Hallie Parker of Disney's The Parent Trap (1998), featuring a young Lindsay Lohan and her reclusive-but-definitely-real twin, British Lindsay Lohan. Oh yeah, this is happening.
Okay, hear me out here. I am at least a little bit obsessed with this movie, in that 17 years later, this is the movie I watch when I'm like, existentially sad and need something to quote. I'm also entirely convinced that this movie is an unrecognized true classic of the 1990's and should go down with, not like, the true legends, should at least be ranked higher than American Beauty on IMBD. I will spend the rest of my life trying to convince the rest of world that British Lindsay Lohan deserves a post-humous Oscar for her work before her mysterious accident.
The brilliance of The Parent Trap lies in two primary sources: first, the fact that it is entirely, unabashedly ridiculous and heartwarming in the way only a 1990's Disney rom com can be; second, that despite the ridiculousness, every single one of those characters felt entirely plausible to girls of my generation. I remember being like, maybe five or six and seeing a woman pull up next to our minivan in a red Corvette, take a long drag of a cigarette, and step out to reveal this Little Black Dress. It was like seeing Santa Clause - Meredith Blake was a real person. I think for so many of us, this movie strikes this balance between the fantastic imaginations of girlhood and reflected images of the kind of girls we might actually want to be. Hallie and Annie, in my mind, might as well be American Girl dolls.
This movie is iconic among girls of my generation for one, main reason: long before you were a "Carrie or a Samantha" or an "Audrey or a Marilyn" or a "Jennifer or an Angelina" (someone give me more up to date pop culture references), you were a Hallie or an Annie. If you were sweet, cultured, proper Annie, you were the type of girl who knew that the key to manipulating adults was to pretend - pretend - to be one. You were polite, but sly as hell. If you were tomboyish Hallie, you were the kind of girl who fought for her right to party.
And today, we are here to talk about Hallie Parker.
This is because no single movie scene left a greater impact on my tender childhood psyche than The Poker Scene, which I've linked for your convenience below. With six words: "I'll take a whack at it," eleven-year-old Hallie Parker became the embodiment of the woman my six-year-old self dreamt of becoming, and the woman I aspire to be to this day. The opening bars of Bad to the Bone - this was way before I realized that song was intended to be cliché - and Hallie Parker struts in with like, a posse, in a black silk jacket and dark sunglasses. This was the first time I realized that Bitchy Resting Face, an affliction I was unfortunately born with, is in fact a valuable skill known as Poker Face. Everything about this scene, god. "I'll take a whack at it." and then they trade in the currency of girlhood - Essie nailpolish and scrunchies and small change. Can't beat it.
I started riding my bike around the cul-de-sac with a lot more attitude after this.
I think what I love so much about Hallie's style is that she has this very deconstructed, casual-cool tomboy look down. Hallie was the girl that taught us that you could look posh as hell and wear a nightgown to bed, but that the cool girls were wearing an old lacrosse tee and boxers. Everything Hallie (or Annie, whatever. The one in California at any given time) wears in this movie is perfect, but let's focus on the poker outfit.
I've prepared for us this handy Polyvore representation of what Hallie's wearing in that iconic scene:
It's not overall look itself that makes this so cool - although, to be fair, each of these pieces is pretty fucking trendy right now. But rather, it's the collage of the pieces themselves and what they create when they form an entire picture. Like the combination of a silk track jacket - which plays at the visual suggestion of a leather jacket, but sportier - with the All-American wholesomeness of the camp t-shirt. Stan Smiths before they were a trendy item and back when we just bought the same basketball shoes as our brothers.
It creates this look that's very "effortless," whatever that means - these are the clothes we threw on on summer nights when we were 11, and they're being contrasted together in a way that's ultimately really badass. And, of course, speaks to the transformative power of a pair of sunglasses. There's something about all of it - the shamelessly bad blue nailpolish, for example - that calls to mind the "idgaf" playfulness of the way we dressed as young girls. As in unabashedly for ourselves, as in unabashedly kind of bad and weird.
I think the term tomboy has been completely co-opted by marketing in the past two years, and that's a shame. This look is really the root of what that word actually means - the American representation of an alternative girlhood. These girls who wore black jackets and dared people to jump in lakes naked and whatever. These are the girls that give that term meaning. And Hallie Parker is our queen and leader.