There are certain movies that call for a summer evening spent with your favorite girlfriends. While a cute romantic comedy is fun, we believe a truly great girls’ night requires a film with standout style. Our top five films combine iconic characters, smart situations, and a flair for fashionable creativity. From Baby’s dance moves to Zooey Deschanel’s vintage cool, we can watch these movies again and again. Make sure you’ve got your favorite snacks and some sweet treats on hand to share. It’s going to be a fun night!
5. Dirty Dancing (1987)
The quiet family vacation at a Catskills resort didn’t quite go according to plan for the Houseman family when their youngest daughter, “Baby” (Jennifer Grey), falls for the resort’s dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). While the coming of age drama alone is probably enough to draw your attention, the dancing makes this movie truly great. After watching that final dance scene, you’ll be heading to the local rec center and signing up for ballroom classes, or at least pulling your favorite twirly-skirt and strappy silver shoes out of the closet.
4. Grease (1978)
Drama ensues when a summer fling cools at the start of a new school year in this film adaptation of the 1971 musical. When a movie takes its name from a 1950s sub-culture (the greasers), distinctive style has to be a central element, and Grease has come define the period’s fashion in the minds of many. After all, there’s Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and the T-Birds’ slick hair, tight t-shirts, and black leather, while the Pink Ladies pair their satin jackets with anything from cropped black pants to plaid skirts. Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) covered the full spectrum, as she transformed from a “Sandra Dee” good girl into the more rebellious, boundary pushing vixen clad in a skin-tight black outfit and red pumps. Don’t let the music fool you, though. While there’s plenty of bright colors and silliness, even seemingly frivolous songs like “Beauty School Drop Out” point to a story line that hinges on the deeper challenges of growing up. Perhaps those more serious undertones are what give the film so much lasting power.
3. Pretty in Pink (1986)
Had fresh style been around in the 1980s, Andie Walsh (played by Molly Ringwald) would have been the poster girl. That she makes her own prom dress using fabric from two old dresses says it all. Her eccentric, DIY style is enough to entice even the wealthy, kind-hearted boy from the “good” side of town. More than in any of his other coming-of-age classics, writer John Hughes (who also wrote our fun-in-the-sun National Lampoon’s Vacation) packed every facet of 1980s style into this film—even bolo ties (thank you, Jon Cryer) and loud throwbacks to the 1950s (via Annie Potts’ portrayal of Lona) make prominent appearances. And let’s not forget that Duckie (played by Cryer) taught a new generation Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” long before Jay-Z.
2. 500 Days of Summer (2009)
This is not a love story, or so the film tells us from the outset. It isn’t lying either. This movie is a 90-minute tour de force when it comes to narrating the modern breakup and all of the awkward and painful emotions that come with attempting to escape unreciprocated love. It is remarkable not only because we’ll so willingly follow Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) through each step of his fated journey (the ones where Joe dances are especially charming), but also because he and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) look so iconically fashionable along the way. Summer’s perfectly tailored wardrobe makes you nearly forget how cold she’s treating the earnest, albeit clinging, Tom. You might even consider a jaunt to L.A. in hopes of mastering the look. We’d be remiss if we failed to mention Zooey’s signature bangs, which have gone on to inspire a wave of impulse hair cutting that has had women either smiling or crying in front of their own bathroom mirrors whether or not a breakup was involved.
1. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Okay, we’ll admit this is an obvious choice. A story that involves magazines, fashion, and a nerdy girl making her dreams come true—they’re singing our song! The story follows the smart but somewhat awkward Andrea “Andy” Sachs (Anne Hathaway) as she unexpectedly finds herself in the lofty realms of a high-fashion magazine after becoming co-assistant to editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). It’s not all couture and glossy pages, though. The film confronts the body-image issues created by the fashion industry’s unrealistic expectations as well as the ugly dog-eat-dog mentality that comes with overly competitive career tracks. As Andy undergoes her soul-searching trek, we get to ride along through the streets of New York and Paris. The film also offers some smart lessons on high fashion’s trend-setting power (you’ll never see cerulean the same way), the striking power of a gray mane, and the importance of finding an honest mentor.