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Let’s get one thing straight: Meredith Blake is a terrible person. I’m referring, of course, to the villainous, gold-digging blonde bombshell played by Elaine Hendrix in the 1998 cinematic classic The Parent Trap — which, coincidentally, hit theaters exactly 19 years ago today. (Yes, that means that if you were Hallie and Annie’s age when you first saw the film, you are now officially older than Meredith “How old are you?” “Twenty-six!” Blake.)
Sure, the movie’s evil stepmother-to-be might’ve made Cruella de Vil look like Mother Teresa, but that does not change the fact that Meredith Blake was — and still is — a summer style icon beyond compare. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a moment to reflect on her wardrobe from the film — or, as Hallie and Annie might say, “Relax… sail through time… back to yesteryear…”
Both Annie-as-Hallie and the audience first meet Meredith poolside at Parker Knoll, the family’s Napa vineyard estate (remember — this was a Nancy Meyers production, meaning all primary characters were legally obligated to own multimillion-dollar real estate). There, she’s just spent the past two months wooing the twins’ father, Nick (Dennis Quaid). She gets her own sexy saxophone entrance music, of course — and in her two-toned sun hat, chunky gold jewelry, and red lip, she basically looks like she’s stepped straight out of an old Slim Aarons photo.
Also, this boatneck dress still haunts my dreams. The keyhole cutout! The cutaway skirt!
Things quickly sour between Annie-as-Hallie and Meredith — and the next time we see the two of them together, Mer’s wearing a perfectly tailored navy pinstripe top-and-skirt set and has traded her gold jewelry for Tahitian pearls. It’s a frankly flawless look, even when its wearer is spouting off cartoonishly wicked one-liners like “First change I make is to send that two-faced little brat off to boarding school in Timbuktu!”
For a trip home to San Francisco to introduce Nick to her parents and moodily drink martinis in the hotel bar, Meredith wears this strappy-backed matching set that wouldn’t look out of place on a modern-day Alexander Wang runway. Nice try, J.T. — Meredith Blake was bringing sexy back in 1998.
She pairs it with a pretty gray duster coat and a black lady bag I look forward to seeing in a future Mansur Gavriel collection.
I find it profoundly unsettling that despite The Parent Trap’s 128-minute running time, this Helmut Lang-esque blazer literally only gets 30 seconds of screen time. What gives, Nancy Meyers?!
Finally, let’s talk about her hiking outfit: an impeccably-coordinated crop top, legging, and hoodie combo in classic black and white. Gigi, Kendall, step aside: Meredith Blake was doing athleisure back when you were still in diapers. (And listen, you’d be scowling too if someone filled your Prada backpack with rocks.)
So while Meredith might’ve been the most convincing big-screen baddie of the late ’90s — and rightfully wound up stranded and waterlogged in the California woods because of it — that doesn’t change the fact that she was a really, really good dresser. And if you can’t see past her manipulative ways to acknowledge that, well: