Although I avoid prophesying in general, I will admit that I do occasionally do it. Although the rainbow-striped dress that the character fromn13 Getting on 30 is most well-known for isn’t as well-known as the yellow suit worn by Cher Horowitz, it has been enjoying renewed relevance thanks to TikTok.
Christa B. Alley, the 13-year old Jenna of the movie, was the inspiration for it. She now recreates scenes from the movie on TikTok and they often go viral. These scenes are so fun because Allen is now a lot like Jenna (30 years old), and Allen also gets the costumes right. This reminds viewers why Jenna was so fascinating in the first place.
Rink is a shy, insecure teenager who leaves her best friend to make it with the crowd. After a seven-minute-long game in hell, Rink storms into her closet to make a wish to become – say it with us – 30, flirty and thriving. She gets her wish and wakes up as a magazine editor at the glossy fashion publication Poise. Her best friend, Judy Greer (middle school queen bee), is proof she has everything she wanted.
@christaallenhappy Halloween!! wanna dance? 🧟♀️ ##13goingon30
Rink is a teenager living in a 30-year old’s body. She navigates her new life with naivety and excitement. One scene shows her dressing up for the magazine’s big event. Greer’s character chose to wear a slinky, emerald-green corset dress, but Rink opts for a Versace mini in rainbow stripes with a cutout underneath the bust and lots of pink lipstick. She then reminds the stuck-up fashion crowd what it means to have fun by getting them to do the “Thriller” dance at the party. Can you see the difference? Everybody benefits from some childlike wonder.
The dress in the movie was look 5 from Versace’s spring 2003 show in a different colorway. Vogue’s Sarah Mower wrote in a review of the collection, “What’s Donatella Versace to do when the whole world seems to be going shorter, brighter, and more colorful? It’s a good idea to do it shorter, brighter and louder.”
It goes deeper than that. “Y2K is back, so this iconic Rom-com outfit will also be back.” This search phrase, “13 Going On 30 dress”, has been increasing steadily for the past year. It started in November 2020, and then spiked in July 2021, and again this month. Allen has recreated scenes from the movie but she also dressed up last Halloween as Rink in the Versace dress. She also rererecorded the whole makeover scene for her TikTok down to the messy false lashes. It was TikTok gold and 4.1 millions people double-tapped.
Allen explained to me via email that she had originally ordered a dress from Wanda Cobar, an Etsy seller. She makes them by hand and I was so thankful that she expedited the order and delivered it in time for Halloween. Cobar is a specialist in replicating Hollywood costumes, including Cady Heron’s tube dress in black-and-pink from Mean Girls. She is currently on hiatus because she is “completely booked” for Halloween. Although the dress can be made to order for $479, it is an exact replica of the costume.
The popularity of the dress has been picked up by retailers who have created their own versions that are less expensive and less accurate. One TikToker found a $13 version on Amazon in July. Cider, an e-tailer, also offered a modified version of the dress in June for $18. Although the colors are muted and tie-dye, the iconic rainbow-striped skirt with underboob cutout makes them clear. It makes sense that it was popularized in summer and people were still wearing it as a casual dress, not as a costume. Fenco Lin (cofounder and chief fashion officer of Cider), told me via email that many of their pieces are suitable for Halloween. He also stated that Cider expects to see an increase in sales around Halloween. We love the versatility of this dress, which can be worn both as a Halloween costume and as a party dress.
Allen believes the dress is memorable because die-hard film fans are…weel, die-hard. “It is amazing to me how many people love a show or character and never stop talking about it. Did you know they were making another Marilyn Monroe movie? She is still relevant seventy years after her death. Once a media aspect has entered the zeitgeist it will stay there.”
Allen, now 29, will turn 30 in November. She fondly recalls the time she spent on set when she thought Rink and Garner were “the coolest.” She isn’t surprised that her dress has stood the test of time. She says that the iconic Versace dress was chosen for that scene because it is a no-brainer. “Susie DeSanto was the costume designer for the film. She would have us fit for hours. I have never tried so many different clothes in my entire life. She wanted to make sure the costumes were perfect. They were.” Now is the time to turn up “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and put on your best baby-blue eyeshadow and hit the streets as Jenna Rink (big-time magazine editor).