If I had to name a single person who shaped my sense of style, it would be Molly Ringwald. No question. I may have a version of her outfit from The Breakfast Club in my closet at this moment, but it was Pretty In Pink that really inspired me. Just watching the opening scene where Andie Walsh pulls up her thigh-high nylons and selects the perfect accessories practically gave me chills. It wasn’t even what she wore that was so appealing: it was how she wore it. She was regular girl from the wrong side of the tracks who truly owned her identity, and in that was beauty. In the face of all the pressure to follow trends and fit in, it was, quite frankly, the most liberating revelation of my teen years.
Though Ringwald herself has kept a relatively low profile for the past twenty years, her influence has remained strong. It seems as though the message in Pretty In Pink was enough to sustain us, even in the absence of our mentor. It wasn’t as though she abandoned us or left us defenseless, and, consequently, it’s easy to welcome her back into our lives with open arms. Her book, Getting the Pretty Back, is like a visit from an old friend.
What I immediately loved about Ringwald’s book is the spirit of being true to yourself. As soon as I read the line, “I discovered…that as long as I set the trend, instead of following it, I’d be okay,” I knew that the Molly we all loved and believed in was still very much with us. The book may offer beauty and fashion tips, but it’s all presented in a way that allows women to take the advice and make it their own. Though Molly sings the praises of designer bags, she also knows that the funky purse found at Target makes way more sense for most women. It’s a sentiment that makes being pretty accessible, just as Pretty in Pink did nearly twenty-five years ago.
Of course, the book isn’t just about looking good – it’s really about feeling good. Getting the pretty back involves maintaining healthy friendships, pursuing our dreams, eating, entertaining, exercising, and encouraging confidence and individuality in our children. Somehow the idea of eating seems the most revolutionary of all. While most style books emphasize dieting and staying trim, Molly gives us permission to round up our friends and have some fondue. How do you not love a girl who loves food?!
Getting the Pretty Back is not a dishy memoir, but Ringwald’s experiences are woven throughout the narrative. We definitely get a sense of who she is and what’s she’s been up to, but that’s not the point. This charmingly illustrated book does exactly what Molly has always done so well: it empowers women to be the best possible version of themselves. I can think of nothing prettier.