In 1995, Clueless was released and immediately became a cultural phenomenon. Even if you didn’t live in Beverly Hills and wore Dior to school, the teenage struggle to fit in and get that guy you were crushing on to like you, was the same no matter where you lived. We were all Cher… sans the epic wardrobe.
Along with Clueless giving us a sense of belonging, in a round about way, it also taught us quite a few other things. Here are 10 of them.
1. It’s OK to wait to have sex.
When it’s revealed that Cher is a virgin, she makes a valid point that it’s about how picky she is. It’s important to be picky about everything – from shoes to guys – and still being a virgin because you haven’t found the right person is totally fine; actually more than fine.
2. You need to give people a chance.
Not only do Cher and Dionne give Tai a chance, but Cher evolves to finally see that Travis is more than just a stoner, but an amazing skateboarder who’s pretty much a perfect match for Tai.
3. There will always be jerks.
I mean, did we really need Clueless to teach us this? Not really. But Elton’s behavior is a nice reminder that the seemingly cool, good-looking guy might look like he has it all… but is probably missing basic decency and will leave you in the middle of the Valley if you shun his advances.
4. Sometime the person you really need to fix is yourself.
If you’ve never read Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is loosely based on the premise of Emma trying to “fix” those around her. Cher gives Tai a makeover, finds love for her teacher Ms. Geist, and actually starts giving back to those who need it, like the victims of the Pismo Beach disaster. But it’s through all of this that Cher is really “fixing” herself. In fact, it takes almost the whole movie before she realizes that she’s far from perfect and needs to give herself a kick in the right direction.
5. The ‘90s were a cruel decade for men’s fashion.
Remember that scene where Cher commented on how sad it was that girls were expected to swoon at the awfulness of the boys of her generation? Yeah… it was bad. JNCOs were awful. Let’s never go back there again.
6. Love hits you when you least expect it.
Can anyone fault Cher for falling for Josh, played by the always adorable Paul Rudd? Not really. But what we can fault her for is having love in front of her and not realizing it… which happens to the best of us. Then when it hits you that you’re in love – it hits you hard.
7. If you’re being mugged, don’t expect your mugger to understand haute-couture.
Muggers are usually muggers because they're flat broke and not because it’s some fun hobby. That being said, pleading with a mugger that your dress is an Alaïa, or whatever other designer you happen to be rocking, isn’t going to get you very far. Just hand him your phone and your wallet, and be grateful he let you keep your designer dress and shoes.
8. Looks can be very deceiving.
Sure, Cher looks like and even acts like an idiot sometimes, but that doesn’t mean she is an idiot. She totally knows Hamlet, er, I mean Mel Gibson, and proved Josh’s uptight, pretentious girlfriend that judging a book by its cover is a bad form.
9. If he dresses better than you, he’s probably gay.
Not to stereotype, but gay guys can dress like whoa. So if you find yourself crushing on a guy who dresses better than you, has better hair, and doesn’t try to kiss you after hanging out a half a dozen times, then he’s probably gay. Or not that into you. But considering the fashion aspect, most definitely gay… and then you have one more friend for your crew.
10. You have to be yourself if you’re going to get through this world in one piece.
Cher tried to change Tai, and while she made some vast improvements, it was when Tai was herself that she truly flourished. Same goes for Josh, skateboarder guy Travis, and even when Elton was being Elton. You can try to change people, but at the end of the day they’ll bounce back to the person they’re meant to be and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing.