The Olsen Twin Movie, New York Minute, Is A Lesson In Character Dressing
Are you a Jane or a Roxy?
Buttered Popcorn is a monthly column that cover the wardrobe in fashion in current TV shows.
INT: BEDROOM - LONG ISLAND - MORNING
ALARM CLOCK BUZZES
Meet Jane: She's the type of girl to wear a matching floral pajama set to bed. Her closet, at 17 years old, is full of business casual, in pastels and neutrals, itemized meticulously. Her day planner is annotated, underlined, and color coded. Her usual morning shower is interrupted by her sister’s python, Ringo, who has escaped his cage and slithered in to join her.
Meet Roxy: She did not set an alarm and was nudged awake by her twin sister Jane. Her closet is an explosion of jersey, jean, mesh, and fur. There is a crumpled bag of Chex Mex and a box of Cocoa Puffs on the top shelf. She proceeds to her drum set for a morning jam session when she is interpreted by Jane’s screams and is relieved to find Ringo had not gone far.
The characters featured above are played by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in the 2004 movie New York Minute. Shortly after in 2006, the pair created the ‘stealth wealth’ fashion brand, The Row, putting quality of design and material above their celebrity. New York Minute serves as a fully loaded time capsule, both for the end of the Olsen twin’s fruitful TV era and as a prime example of 2000’s archetypal styling. On one shoulder, the “angel” Jane played by Ashley Olsen, the type A control freak. On the other the “devil,” Roxy, played by Mary Kate Olsen, the rocker, the scholastic slacker. New York Minute, as well as being styled with relevant longevity, utilizes clothing as a visual language. It places hyperbolized emphasis on the girl’s individual personalities, as well as tracks their evolution as a day in the city goes very far from planned.
Putting her professional foot forward before inevitably breaking a heel, Jane serves timeless polished femininity like 1985’s Day-to-Night career Barbie. She sports a textured pale pink floral jacket. The DNA of skirt suit combinations such as hers is forever wrapped in archival Chanel, where the perfume paired is as important as the buttons chosen.
Underneath, Jane wears an opaque white short sleeve button down with embroidered stripes. She could have walked the runway in the Marc Jacobs Spring 2003 Ready-to-Wear collection as Natalia Vodianova did, in a knee length tweed coat and sheer white pleated top. The overlay of her floral skirt is reminiscent of Gisele Bündchen’s opening look in Jacob’s show. It however gets caught (SPOILER ALERT) in her future boyfriend's bike pedal and ripped off. A mauve slip and sleeker silhouette is revealed. Similar in vibe to the soon-to-be queen of Genovia, Anne Hathaway’s “Mia” in Princess Diaries Two (2004), the pressure of perfection attempts to be concealed by a tailored jacket.
Roxy heads into the city with Kurt Cobain nonchalance in the same faded Metallica T-shirt she slept in layering a white sleeved tee underneath. In a True Religion moment, Roxy lets her neon green thong peek out the sides of her low rise medium washed jeans. Her character would have gotten along with Lindsay Lohan’s “Anna” in Freaky Friday (2003), with visible underwear and dreams of rock and roll stardom to match. Roxy’s purple Havaianas flip flops, red newsboy cap, and wrists full of bracelets allude to Avril Lavigne's level of excessive accessorizing in the early 2000s.
Due to, in short, a purple slurpee to Jane’s chest, being chased by a con man, and a dramatic car puddle splash, the girls are forced to change their plans and thus their clothes. The pair sneaks into the Plaza Hotel to slip into a stranger’s shower which is interpreted when said strangers arrive back unexpectedly. The twins running blocks in only towels and puffy white monogrammed slippers offers a Marilyn Monroe sewer grate, skirt flying experience. The adrenaline of surprise is paired perfectly with the poise of effervescent confidence. It’s comparable to Amanda Bynes in What a Girl Wants (2003) accidentally landing on a catwalk in a couture show in just a white tank top and jeans. It’s Julia Fox grocery shopping in her underwear. Stiped down chicness and potentially the only look the Olsen twins might consider revisiting today.
After running several blocks toweled, the girls pawn Jane’s watch for a full tourist matching makeover. Both decked in a fitted white I <3 NY t-shirt, Jane in a pleated heart red mini skirt and Roxy in shorts. It is unknown where they had the time and the scissors for the V-neck split and cut off sleeves on the tee, but that’s movie magic baby! This look serves the plot out of an act of desperation and a symbolic palette cleanser from the girl's archetypal tendencies.
From here, the pair ends up at a barbershop in the Bronx. The makeover montage that ensues engages the entire staff, various wigs, acrylic nails, and a degree of personas for the girls to try on for size. In the end, Jane lands on a Mod inspired Tiffany blue pleather jacket and ruffled mini skirt. She captures a Twiggy-like buoyancy with contrasting bright yellow just below the knee boots. Her white camisole with baby pink lace brings it up to speed, all while maintaining the polish of a female in politics.
Roxy’s look veers toward 70's glam rock. Her burgundy velvet shorts paired with striped printed leggings serves a David Bowie pattern and textural field day. The matching velvet jacket and cheetah print lapel feels reminiscent of the vibe captured at YSL’s Tom Ford era 2003 ready-to-wear collection, notably based on Saint Laurent’s 1971 Scandal Collection. The entire look, down to the textured silk top and magenta suspenders, could have been jumped in on the White Stripes’ Elephant (2003) album cover.
Born out of the cliche “good” girl versus “bad” girl troupe, Jane and Roxy are last seen meeting on common ground. New York Minute, as well as the movies referenced and plenty more use costuming to emphasize the growth of an archetype away from an extreme to a centralized point. It blends what the characters learned with traits that should always be celebrated within them. So whether you are a Jane or a Roxy, a Mary-Kate or an Ashley, clothing can always be used to tell a story and an I <3 NY t-shirts may always be in style.