Tweens, teens and twenty something’s flocked to their devices in February to indulge in the sweetness that was the highly anticipated sequel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before- a coming of age rom-com about a girl named Lara Jean dealing with the ramifications of her childhood love letters reaching their intended marks. Two months on H&M have released a lookbook inspired by the sequel but is it worth the splurge?
The sequel to the surprise hit of the book adaption by the same name managed to ramp up its appeal by dropping on streaming platform Netflix the day before Valentine’s Day, and while we could and maybe should discuss our thoughts and feelings about that ending- or what to expect of the third and final instalment (announced but with no release date), we’re actually discussing what may just be the pivotal part of this story; the fashion.
To all the boys has an extremely specific aesthetic, an artistic almost oversaturated imagery that feels almost a treat to the eyes, and something that likely wouldn’t work for most other films, and likely nothing outside of romance.
Alike La La Land its artistic vision is part of the appeal, and that carried through to the fashion. In this instance I’m focusing on Lara Jean, as she arguably has the clothing we’re all fawning over, and while her co-stars shine there’s no doubt she shines brightest. So much so she inspired an entire fashion line by global brand H&M.
In an age of neon and skin-tight clothing, the pastels and layering are almost abhorrent. Akin to a Tumblr aesthetic the wardrobe is a homage to the girly girl in its softness. The clothing depicts Lara Jean as quirky, yet somehow trendy in a perfectly stylised fashion that makes her stand out without-well-standing out. However, the H&M line presents a much simpler collection that somehow manages to completely miss the mark.
Vintage but somehow modern; Lara Jean encompasses a cinematic look book. Lorraine Carson, who designs the wardrobe for the stylish character, manages to squeeze in some classic Korean dress wear for a scene intending to pay homage to Lara's cultural heritage that still somehow in keeps with the tone of the protagonist’s fashion arc. Yet, the clothing on sale for the collab is a basic collection of creams, pinks and blues that no way represents Lara Jean.
The collection intends to appeal to the masses, which it does, but somehow in no way satisfies the itch to replicate Lara Jean's style. Therefore while the flowy dresses and denim options may not be anything special they will likely make good extras for your wardrobe basics.
What Lara Jean presents is the progression of her story through clothing, her romantic attachments are part of her attire just as much as her emotional growth as a character. What the book was not able to showcase was the power of fashion to a character’s story, or the power of TV fashion to an audience. People don’t want to be Lara Jean they want to dress like her, just check out the many articles and fan-inspired posts decorating the internet. In this way, the items do not represent all that the film manages to capture.
To All The Boys reminds us of the power of fashion, its influence on the story, its characters, and its audience. But it also shows how difficult it is to capture the magic of Lara Jean's fashion in a collection for the fan. Arguably the line is a method of capitalisation on the interest of this modern-day love story.
However, if you take away anything from the film that enthralled the world remember that it’s just as easy to fall in love with the fashion as it is the boy-and you don't need to buy some mass replication of it. You can put together your own collection of Lara Jean inspired clothing, easily better than the fashion brand.