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Flashdance Star Reveals Iconic Cutoff Sweatshirt Look Was Total Accident

Jennifer Beals reveals the cropped sweatshirt she’s wearing on the iconic poster for flash dance was the result of a laundry accident that became a fashion trend in the 1980s. The film was one of the biggest blockbusters of 1983, grossing over $200 million and an Academy Award for its title track. While a sequel has long been talked about, a sequel television series is for flash dance was announced by Paramount+ to be developed via Dear white people creator Justin Simien.


flash dance tells the story of Beals’ Alex, a steel mill worker who dreams of becoming a professional ballerina. Styled like the music videos of the period, the film inspired the aesthetics of other ’80s music dramas, including footloose, Dirty Dancingand Purple Rain. While not critically well received upon release, the film has gained a cult following with some of its elements (including the poster) considered icons of the era.

Related: Everything We Know About Dirty Dancing 2

In an appearance on The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon pulls out the poster and asks Beals about the origins of the look. Beals explains that she shrunk her favorite sweatshirt in the dryer, forcing her to cut a hole in the neck to get her head through. She then carried it to a wardrobe that fitted for flash danceimpression on the director and costume designer, and galvanizing them to use as the poster for the movie. Read Beals’ quote below:

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It was based on a fashion accident. I had my favorite sweatshirt in high school, and I put it in the dryer too long and too hot. So the neck part shrank, and I couldn’t get my head through it, so I just cut the hole. And I carried it to a wardrobe that fits for flash danceand Adrian Lyne, the director, loved it, and Michael Caplan, the costume designer, loved it, so he made a much better version of it for the movie.

How Flashdance’s poster defines its legacy

It’s amazing how many icons of movie history are the result of accidents, limitations or coincidences. Beals’ down-to-earth storytelling shows how ordinary the circumstances were, and something so stylistically symbolic of the decade could happen simply because she didn’t want to throw away her sweatshirt. The look would shake up a lot of women-driven fashion of the 1980s, including more loose-fitting clothes and a more casual feel.

In an industry so saturated with content, it’s hard to pick looks from movies that had such a cultural impact as Beals did. flash dance. Even with Parmount+ bring flash dance to the small screen, it’s doubtful it would have anything close to the impact the original had in 1983 and will instead only serve as yet another vehicle for nostalgia. In the end, Beals may have accidentally changed her sweatshirt, but the result led to one of the most defining images of the 1980s, the impact of which was felt for years.

Source: The Tonight Show

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