Movie Looks: Practical Magic

A few years ago, a friend and I walked to several video stores in the West Village looking for a copy of Practical Magic. The first video attendant actually tried to look for a DVD for us. At the second store, they laughed in our faces. Another store had no idea what we were even talking about.

Practical Magic is the pinnacle of ’90s Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. They are seriously stunning. Their hair is perfect and makes me seethe with envy, even when they have it in pigtails.  It’s also set in one of the most amazing house sets that I still want to live in. Also it’s got witches, which were so hot in the ’90s.

It also has sisters who mix and match their pjs together, which is what I imagine sisters do.

If you have no idea what the story or plot is, it’s about witches who are sisters and are cursed to not have love, or to have their loved ones die, so the wild sister Gillian (Nicole Kidman) lives fast and loose, while Sally (Sandra Bullock) sees herself widowed with some daughters to raise because this is a fun movie about romance and lady power. Sally eventually has to come rescue Gillian from an abusive boyfriend, whom they accidentally kill and who eventually possesses Gillian. There’s also a subplot about Sally dreaming up a perfect man as a kid, and him manifesting in the form of the police officer sent to investigate Gillian’s boyfriend’s disappearance. But truly everything you need to know about this movie can be summed up by this scene:

I mean if that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is. If ever you were thinking, “Man, I want to live life like the witches from The Craft but I also want something that says ‘suburban mom stereotype,'” don’t worry, Practical Magic is here for all your late ’90s inspired style tips.

This is how you know Gillian is the bad girl:

Grinding at a pool party? Scandalous.
Very tiny sunglasses? Badass.
Looks cool while smoking? Wild child.
Smoking and trying her sisters products? That’s just mean. Gillian, your sister is a social outcast witch who is trying to sell overpriced lotions in a small town, you’re scaring away her three customers.

Conversely, this is how you know Sally is the nice, earth mother type:

Strappy dress with floral print and cardigan: Exhibit A
Strappy dress and cardigan with floral print (twist!): Exhibit B – PTA meeting edition
Strappy dress with floral print and cardigan: Exhibit C – bonus floral lining and apologetic expression that reads “sorry about my reckless witch kids”
Strappy dress and cardigan: Exhibit D, the “please like me, townspeople. look at my neutrals.”

This is how you know it’s the ’90s:

Sally’s seductive outfit: cutoffs, rainboots and a embroidered t-shirt. See also: Karishma’s “taking out the garbage” summer outfit.
Other seductive outfit: LACE OVERLAY.
Waking up the dead calls for a peasant top and a slip dress.
Exorcising spirits calls for long floral print skirts.

The truest fashion stars of this movie are of course, the aunts, who are of an indeterminate age. Their outfits give absolutely no clue.

Looking ready to board the Titanic. Yes, I want these outfits and that useless parasol.
Just wearing some Victorian mourning dresses, as you do.
Dianne Wiest is the most elegant of the beekeepers.
Stockard Channing is everything I want to be in my retirement years.
Do you even see her gold lamé? She gives no fucks and is all glamour.
The aunts are definitely your eccentric hippie neighbors who want to give you a bunch of herbal supplements they bought at the health store and will talk to you about their garden forever until you have to pretend you left the oven on and run for your life.

Of course no movie about witches could ever end without the traditional witch outfit (which actually, a lot of movies have done fine without, including The Craft). So in closing, here are Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock smirking in their closing traditional witch dresses and hats prior to jumping off the roof.

Practical Magic is on Netflix Instant so you too can sit and debate the merits of Aidan Quinn versus the first husband (YES I KNOW HE DIES BUT HE WAS GREAT) and also wondering if Sally’s dream man list was really that hard to find. I mean, I can’t flip a pancake to save my life, but surely more people can do that than I think, right?

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Karishma is a twenty-something living in New York City and is trying her hardest to live out every cliche about Millennials. This involves eating her feelings, drowning in debt and mocking infomercials. She likes sociology so much that she has two degrees in it, and is still warding off her parents' questions about a real career.

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