Ok, remember the movie Pleasantville?

By Samantha Sutton
Oct 10, 2019 @ 5:45 pm
AF Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

Earlier this year, it came to my attention that the cardigan had received a full-on makeover. When styled without anything underneath and only a few buttons fastened, or paired with a matching bra, the typically modest staple suddenly became...sexy — at least, that's how celebrities have been styling them. And yet, each time I throw one on, I don't think about the top models who pair them with jeans or even Katie Holmes's Internet-breaking look. I think about Reese Witherspoon in the movie Pleasantville.

It's a strange association, I know. The 1998 film — in which Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire play teen siblings who get sucked into a 1950s sitcom and then slowly transform the black-and-white TV town to color — is not one you hear about often. But Witherspoon's character, Jennifer, did wear a bunch of cute cardigans. Some of them had patterns, some of them had collars, and some of them came as matching sets. They were all styled in a very '50s way, obviously: belted and paired with a full, A-line skirt.

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Does this kind of cardigan styling qualify as sexy? Nah. It's definitely more on the demure and ladylike side. But the outfits from this movie are still pretty great, and do deserve a moment of reflection and appreciation 21 years later. Perhaps you'll feel the urge to pair your own button-up sweater with a midi skirt tomorrow, or at the very least, get inspired ahead of Halloween.

New Line Cinema

While this part of the movie was in black-and-white, the contrasting collar and embroidered detail on this cardigan were still pretty eye-catching.

New Line Cinema

Sometimes, the best styling choice is skipping accessories and keeping things sweet and simple.

New Line Cinema

See what I mean about those patterns? Someone needs to replicate this striped sweater, ASAP! (La Ligne, perhaps?)

New Line Cinema

Before there was matching your bra to your cardigan, there more modest twin sets like this one.