Every style has an originator. A special someone who wears a look in such a way that everyone else wants to as well. Throughout the decades, teenagers have had their idols, and in many cases, tried their darndest to look just like them. Hindsight Idols is a section about the celebrities, characters and personas that we’ve wanted so badly to emulate.
This week’s Hindsight Idol is Steff, James Spader’s character from the 1986 film “Pretty In Pink”.
Feathered hair. White sport jacket. Collars popped. Shirt buttons undone. Aviator glasses. Loafers. No socks. As the yuppy bad boy, the character of Steff was the teen fashion equivalent to the Miami Vice look. If Sonny Crocket fathered an illegitimate love child with an ivy league beauty born into money, this is what he would look like. A little more subtle than the duds sported by Don Johnson, the Steff Look became the go-to dressy look for teenaged boys everywhere. Though it might not have been every day school attire, when the time came to attend Grandma’s birthday, a graduation dinner, or a Bar Mitzvah, out came the white suit and Sperry Top-Siders.
Sure, he was a bit of a jerk. A control freak. An ego maniac. A snob. But without Steff, there would have been no “Pretty in Pink”. What would Andie and Duckie and Blane have done without such a dashing antagonist? Happily gotten along? What kind of movie would that have been? The bottom line was that Steff’s general cuteness and bad boy arrogance made him impossible to hate. No matter how hard I tried, something about that tanned skin and blonde mane got me every time.
And so, Steff, The Hindsight Letters would like to salute you. Thank you for inspiring teenaged boys everywhere to pitch their socks and pop their collars. Andie might not have been your biggest fan, but we sure are. Besides, “that girl was, is, and always will be nada” anyway.