Would Danny really have been hopelessly devoted to Sandy if she hadn’t wriggled into those spray-on leather trousers and shaken out her beribboned hair? Did Miss Congeniality have a shot at winning the hot cop if Gracie Hart had opted out of the beauty pageant assignment and kicked back with her beloved Ben & Jerry’s? Two words: Hell. No.
Think about the amount of tears shed in rom-coms when the supposed leading lady realises she doesn’t have a chance with her crush because she’s not the stereotypical Hot Girl – Jossie Grossie (the delectably dorky Drew Barrymore) in Never Been Kissed, Mia Thermopolis (a bushy-haired Anne Hathaway) in The Princess Diaries – only to turn his head when she’s had a blow-dry and a wax. Transformation scenes are part and parcel of a genre that likes to neatly wrap up its plotlines with a pretty bow – and we all fall for it.
Who didn’t get out the popcorn for J Lo’s glow-up from downtown maid to Manhattan socialite? Or appreciate Julia Roberts’s aesthetically pleasing journey from prostitute to pretty woman? For the costume department, it’s just as fun to mastermind as it is for the audience to watch.
Denise Wingate, the brain behind Laney Boggs’s metamorphosis from quasi-poet to prom queen in She’s All That, never studied fashion. “I was a psychology major, so a lot of what I do is about, ‘why would a character wear something?’” she once told Interview. There will always be a pseudo intellectual interpretation of any character’s outfit choice – Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) wore her oversized art-school uniform like a form of armour after the death of her mother before Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr) came along – but why in Hollywood should a woman always change for a man?