You don’t need to be a film nerd to know the melodramatic line that made Dirty Dancing famous. Whether you’ve heard Patrick Swayze say it with his unbeatable 80s charm or not, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner?” has been quoted and mocked ever since the film’s premiere in 1987. Even though this film plays a key role in the evolution of modern coming-of-age films, there’s another reason for you to watch it that’s much more important. Dirty Dancing fashion subtly changed how people perceived summer camp from a fashion perspective. It ushered in memorable style trends that would go on to help define the 90s and made a warm weather getaway to the woods steamier than it had ever been before. With 90s style back in favor, it’s the perfect season to take your summer vintage and give it a silver screen revamp.
DARE TO WEAR A SUIT
Bringing your tux to summer camp is a bit extreme, but having some formal clothes handy isn’t a bad idea. Even if there’s no big dance to finish off the season Dirty Dancing style, a walk along the lake in a bowtie and suspenders will make your time with whoever you meet at camp that much more delicious.
BORDER NECKS AND BORDER SLEEVES
Obviously, watermelon is a great fruit that can boost your health this summer, but it’s not a fashion trope. The style to pay attention to here is Neal Jones’s bordered t-shirt. If you’re tired of wearing Henley after Henley, break the pattern and experiment with bold borders instead. There are remnants of both 80s vintage and aughts fashion in the simple summer design.
GIVE THE CROWD A PIRATE LOOK
When the 00s returned, they brought with them classic casino collars with the top two buttons undone. While that’s well and good if you want to the rogue look of a white-collar criminal, summer camp offers the chance to get even more rebellious when it comes to showing off your chest. This one’s for you, men. If you think those pecs are going to impress the ladies, unbutton your shirt to mid-chest and give her some pirate fashion.
GET THAT TOP OFF YOUR SHOULDERS
Whether it’s a halter-top maxi to match the men in suits or a simple off-the-shoulder blouse that gives you a fuller tan, this is the season to show off every inch of your collarbone. Worry less about cleavage and more about flaunting the gentle curve of your neck as it slopes toward the rest of your body. This summer should be all about tastefully exposed skin rather than a highlighted bosom.
RECYCLE YOUR DENIM SHORT SHORTS
They may have started in the 80s, but cropped denim short shorts truly came into their own in the 90s. Now, they’re back again to show off your legs in casual country style. If you want to take this vintage summer look even further, pair it with a pattern tank top and thick leather belt. It’s near impossible not to impress with this outfit if you’re careful to get the details right.
TIE UP YOUR TANK TOP
It used to be common practice to knot your top to keep it tight and out of the way on a warm summer’s day. After the aughts ended, navel-baring faded away only resurfacing at Pride parades and other celebratory events. That’s all about to change. This summer, bunching up your top so your waist can have some breathing room is cool again. Let that belly button shine.
EMBRACING A VINTAGE WARDROBE
This iconic image from Dirty Dancing incorporates almost every fashion trope in the film. From the classy all-black dance outfit on Swayze to Jennifer Grey’s knotted top, cropped jean shorts, and vintage Keds, it’s a master class in what retro summer fashion should aspire to in 2017, dancer or no dancer.
A CASE OF SCHOOLGIRL PINK
We couldn’t leave a Dirty Dancing countdown without including the poster image featuring what these characters wore when Swayze uttered the immortal “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” line. It’s basically a case for pink and black as a couple combination. You really should just go for it and start wearing pink like it’s the 90s. You know you want to.
Dirty Dancing shows that dancing can bring out the best in fashion trends. Luckily for you, these outfits will work even if you don’t fancy gyrating the night away at camp. Whether strolling on a lake or spinning on the dance floor, steamy is the way to dress this season.
— Timothy Vest