The early 2000s was a pivotal time for exiting looks. In a world filled with tabloids and a growing fixation on reality TV and party culture, hemlines have grown shorter and designer logos have become flashy centerpieces. The 2002 Friends comedy The sweetest thing stars Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair as Christina, Courtney and Jane, respectively – a trio of young, successful girlfriends looking for love and getting into a variety of ever-increasing hijinks absurd. Their nighttime looks epitomized the era’s body maximalism, with a variety of outfits that would look out of place on pop starlets of the era.
In one of the scenes where the friends go clubbing, Christina wears a black one-shoulder crop top paired with low-rise shiny crimson bootcut pants, while Courtney pairs his bootcut pants with a belly chain and a cropped denim corset with a plunging neckline, and Jane wears a leopard print bodycon dress. Complementary outfits (you know it’s the 2000s when a group of friends wear several pairs of bootcut pants and crop tops) are harmonious, and revealing silhouettes speak to the decade’s obsession with flat bellies and sex appeal without subtlety.
This group of stylish besties is reminiscent of sex and the citythe ultimate model for all media of the time featuring well-dressed female friends getting involved in sexual provocations. sex and the city may have the most lasting legacy and most memorable jokes, but The sweetest thing remains a time capsule of both the raunchy humor of the era and the clubwear trends that, yes, are now making a comeback.
Just about every trend of things makes its way into the movie. Christina often wears thin scarves, which were popular as slightly hipster accessories that served no functional purpose. She carries a variety of designer bags and she and her friends always wear stilettos. The look of a cropped going-out top, low-rise bootcut pants, and high heels was all the rage at the time, and it makes numerous appearances throughout. The sweetest thing. It’s the kind of day-to-night attire that contemporary fashion magazines of this era were always talking about – seductive but still vaguely professional, with the heels and trouser combination lending just a hint of edginess.
The costume of these three characters suits their status as sexually adventurous career women. They know how to have fun and aren’t afraid to experiment with a bold accessory and ruthlessly tight and/or cropped clothing. In the age of the pandemic, these going out outfits are especially appealing – what could be more luxurious than a cute top that instantly transforms an outfit into something worthy of the dance floor?
The funniest fashion moment of The sweetest thing takes place not in a nightclub, but in a quirky small-town boutique where Christina and Courtney find themselves on the hunt for wedding-appropriate outfits following a series of mishaps that nearly destroy their clothes ( long story). In the dressing room, they embark on a charming, self-aware montage that sees them dress in outfits reminiscent of a host of cinematic icons. Christina struts around in an outfit like the one Sandy wears at the end of Fat (with perm and cigarette), while Courtney dances wearing a lightning dance-ready cut sweatshirt. Then, Christina circles around at the start of Madonna, proving that if Diaz ever returns to acting, she could be considered for the next biopic about the musical legend. Courtney plays around in a red dress and white gloves, inspired by Julia Roberts in A pretty woman.
Grease, Flashdance, Desperately looking for Susan, A pretty woman – these are all films in which the costumes reinforce the characters’ confident femininity, but perhaps most amusingly, Christina and Courtney also dress in coordinating blue and orange tuxedos, just like the ones the protagonists wear in the unforgettable film from 1994 Stupid and dumber. Bright colors, ruffles, bow ties, top hats and canes make for a garish display, and this little nod to an absurd buddy comedy from eight years earlier is an ideal choice for the characters. that easily go from contemporary glamor to ridiculous. Two decades after the initial release of The sweetest thingthe mix of sexy nightclub style and silliness remains the highlight of the film.