Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Sometimes, you come across an outfit you just can’t forget. It could be from a movie, a music video, a TV show, or a book — or perhaps it’s something your favorite famous person once wore while walking the dog or grabbing coffee. Welcome to This Week I Wanna Dress Like, where we pair pop culture inspiration with actually shoppable outfits.
I wouldn’t put this on a court transcript, but I am fairly certain that the first time I saw Harold and Maude was my freshman year of college, in some friends’ dorm room, alone. I’m not quite sure how that situation would have come to pass — I believe a pair or group of us had started to watch together, and then someone had a rehearsal or a dinner or a study group, and then it was just me sitting on the carpet watching this odd, taupe-tinted movie and humming to Cat Stevens.
I loved a lot of things on that first viewing, and in the dozen or two subsequent ones since. I loved Harold’s mournful eyes and Maude’s bubbly wisdom; I loved the sunflowers and the tombstones and the sense that everything would be okay even when it wasn’t. And I loved Maude’s outfits, these proto-menocore compilations of jackets and scarves and dressing gowns.
Whether she’s crashing a funeral or dancing with her significantly younger boyfriend, Maude’s outfits reflect her outlook: they’re utilitarian, but surprisingly cheerful. Everything she wears looks well-loved, the spoils of a life lived simply and joyously. And that means her look isn’t hard to copy — just wear everything you love at the exact same time, detractors be damned, sometimes for a whole week in a row. Here are a few Maude-ian pieces to get you started.
What I love most about Maude’s style — sartorially and otherwise — is her lack of fear. She’s not afraid of being laughed at or judged; she’s not afraid to die. She’s not afraid to be alone, and she’s also not afraid to open herself up to the splendor and pain of others. I think that’s what I was drawn to most on the first viewing, when I was no older than Harold is meant to be.
This is why Maude’s death at the end of the movie isn’t sad. How lovely, it says, to have found your people; how lovely to have done what you could the best you knew how; how lovely to say goodbye when it’s time.
Got an iconic outfit or character you’re equally obsessed with? Email firstname.lastname@example.org — she just might shop it out for you!