penny lane coat

Vanessa Bogart: Penny Lane’s Fur Coat in Almost Famous

As a girl starting to realize she was interested in boys and coming up on the cusp of those crucial years of confusion and self-identification, there was no cooler idol than Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) and her amazing fur-lined 1970’s-tastic coat.

After Will, a quiet little 15-year-old boy surrounded by personalities and a world bigger than he can imagine, tries his damnedest and fails to get in backstage at the Black Sabbath concert, he turns to see Penny Lane at the top of the loading area. She makes her grand introduction, blonde hair waved to her shoulders, tinted blue glasses, and a jaw-dropping brown coat that frames her angelic face with an exaggerated fur collar and lapel. The coat is more than a random piece of costume fashion from the time period. That coat immediately tells the audience that she is important, that she is on the level of the band, that she is going to be an instrumental piece to Will’s story. She is not a groupie, she is a bandaid, a modern day muse during one of the most influential periods in music of all time.

Even though our protagonist is Will, Penny Lane becomes the tragic mystery that steals our attention and our hearts. That coat embodies her over-the-top and entrancing lifestyle but it also swallows her whole. It may be the coolest coat I have ever seen and I begged and begged my mom to get me one just like it, but as I watch Almost Famous as an adult, I can’t help but notice that the coat weighs her down. Penny Lane, who I once idolized as being the kind of petite, blonde, cool girl that I wanted to be, was consumed by her own adventure and she was as much a victim of the artists as she was their inspiration. That coat is the whirlwind of the music world in the ’70s engulfing her. It is beautiful and it is tragic. I still want one. It will forever have an air of mystery, because of the just-barely-a-woman who brought it to life.

Ferris Bueller jacket

Ben Pearson: Ferris Bueller’s Leather Jacket in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris’s leather jacket from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off may not be the most eye-catching piece of clothing in movie history, but allow me to make the case for its perfection within the context of John Hughes’ 1986 classic comedy. If Ferris himself were a piece of clothing, this would be it: he’s a chameleon in school, able to blend in with all sorts of social groups (“The sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him”) in the same way this jacket can fit a myriad of social situations. I mean, think about it: he wears it to a baseball game, a museum, and an uber-fancy lunch restaurant all in the same day. Talk about versatility! The jacket itself is a mishmash of colors and styles: it has zippers and rivets, and yes, it’s leather, but look at the ends of the sleeves – those rings around the wrists almost look like something you’d see on a letterman’s jacket. Ferris would never be caught dead in one of those, but the fact is that this jacket is an encapsulation of his character: it fits whatever situation he needs so he can ease through high school with as few obstacles as possible.

Plus, look at the way it billows out in that slow-motion shot as Ferris uses a child’s trampoline to spring over a fence during his race home at the end of his day off. The fact that this is a slow-mo shot is no accident: Hughes lingers on the air filling in underneath that jacket and frames it like a cape, further emphasizing the idea that Ferris is his own one-of-a-kind version of a cinematic superhero.

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