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A Brief History of Richard Linklater’s Best-Dressed Characters

BY: KELLY MACDOWELL | 7.11.2014 |

A Brief History of Richard Linklater’s Best-Dressed CharactersDirector Richard Linklater’s filmography is crazily eclectic—there are low-budget tales of young misfits (Slacker, Dazed and Confused), experimental animated films (Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly), mainstream comedies (School of Rock, 2005’s Bad News Bears), and philosophical romances (the Before trilogy). But despite their differences in genre, many of these films have something in common: they follow characters through a single day in their lives, often eschewing traditional narrative.

Linklater takes a much longer snapshot for his newest film, Boyhood, in which he tells tells a coming-of-age story in real time. Rather than hire different actors for each age in the boy’s life, Linklater filmed the same cast a few days a year over a 12-year span. In honor of the film’s Friday premiere, we revisited some of Linklater’s career highlights and spotlighted characters whose style is almost as singular as the director’s.


1993: Dazed and Confused

Floral wrap crop top, Miss Selfridge ($49); high-rise skinny jeans, paper denim & cloth ($258); peep-toe platform sandals, River Island ($100)

Career highlight: Thanks in part to its VHS release, this slice-of-life story about Texas high schoolers quickly became a cult classic. It also marked the cinematic debut of Linklater’s fellow Lone Star State native Matthew McConaughey.

Best-dressed character: Sorry, Matt, but this one’s a tie between Simone and Darla. Their tied-off tops and bell-bottoms evoke the crop tops and high-waisted jeans of today. (Get more crop top-inspired style here.)


2001: Waking Life

Cotton shift dress, Mango ($49.99 on sale); cashmere blend scarf, Faliero Sarti ($266.57); matte lipstick in Eden, NYX ($6)

Career highlight: The dreamy rotoscoped flick wowed critics with its experimental style, earning a spot on Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list and several independent film awards.

Best-dressed character: That redhead in navy. Her simple color-blocked coat and scarf play deftly off the vibrant hue of her hair and matching lipstick.


2003: School of Rock

Geometric-print shirt, River Island ($40 on sale); gingham bow tie, Dorus Mhor ($68); navy chinos, Zara ($39.99 on sale)

Career highlight: Linklater’s first major commercial success (it grossed more than $130 million at box offices worldwide) was fueled in part by Jack Black, whose string of early-aughts comedies and role as one half of Tenacious D made him a natural as Dewey Finn.

Best-dressed character: In the film, a student deems Finn’s style “tacky,” but it was actually ahead of its time. With some better tailoring, his pattern-mixed outfits would be right on trend today.


2004: Before Sunset

Crop jacket, Topshop ($110); ruffled silk camisole, Cynthia Rowley ($179 on sale); Hudson crossbody bag, Rebecca Minkoff ($265)

Career highlight: Linklater’s first Oscar nomination didn’t come until 14 years after Slacker, when the second installment of his Before trilogy was up for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Best-dressed character: Julie Delpy, sans doute. Her fresh-faced beauty finds its complement in an understated ensemble that remains as chic now as it was a decade ago.

Guide Staff Writer
BY: Kelly MacDowell Guide Staff Writer