The glamour! The tiaras! The pore strips!
The Princess Diaries turns 21 this year, and it’s time to celebrate the best piece of Disney teen movie wish fulfillment this side of High School Musical. Specifically, it’s time to celebrate its fashion, which lies at the rare (but compelling) intersection of “alternative early 2000s private school teen” and “modern European royalty.”
I’ve ranked all 19 of the outfits Princess Mia wears in the film from “Paolo Disapproves” to “Paolo Approves (And So Do His Assistants, Gretchen and Helga).”
The “Cat’s Pajamas”
The “Boat Girlfriend”
Mia is not a Boat Girlfriend, nor should we expect her to be.
The “How High Is This Family’s Flannel Pajama Budget?”
The “Unrealistically Cool High School Job Uniform”
The red fleece vest and graphic tee are fine, but the best part of this outfit is this blue plaid scrunchie. Kudos to whichever hair accessory craftsperson out there thought, “You know what the market is missing? A business casual scrunchie.”
The “My Private School Is Fancy Enough To Require Both A Blazer And One Of Those Necktie Things Sailors Wear”
Being a school uniform, this outfit already doesn’t have much going for it, but I refuse to believe that a bona fide chaos magnet such as pre-transformation Mia wouldn’t have at least one knee sock scrunched around her ankle.
The “Gym Class Hero”
The “Never Enough Maroon”
The “Yoga Studio”
The “Fuzzy Bathrobe of Boat Boyfriend Betrayal”
The “Niagara Falls Tourist”
The “Pre-Betrayal, Post-Boat”
The “Hat of Lily-Induced Shame”
This is a much cuter outfit than the purple shirt and green skirt combo Mia actually wears. (Though this outfit may be underneath that one.) The olive green iridescent zebra top is surprisingly wearable for an article of clothing to which all four of those adjectives apply, and again, those platform flip-flops are worth more than all the pears of Genovia to me.
The “The Paolo”
I know she’s just wearing her school uniform here, but I’ve written a BuzzFeed post or two in my day, and far be it from me to be the writer who didn’t include Mia’s makeover in a ranking of The Princess Diaries‘ most fashionable moments. This montage marks a turning point for Mia’s character, one in which she begins to come into her own as a person and a princess, and all it took was some contacts, a reinforced hairbrush, and a mildly treacherous stylist with the skills of a master and the last name of a pasta sauce.
I just can’t condone this high collar. The dress as a whole is elegant, modest, and understated, and while there’s nothing wrong with it, per se, it’s just a bit dull.
That being said, upstaging the Queen could be a capital offense in Genovia, so maybe it was for the best.
The “Private Jet Lady”
I like this outfit just fine when Mia’s wearing it while hanging out with her grandma…
…but the pore strip elevates it to a new level of teen movie outfit perfection.
The “There’s No Prom In This Movie But Damn It, We’re Including What Is Basically A Prom Dress”
Mia, seen here doing the robot at a royal ball, changes into this gown after fighting a losing battle with San Francisco weather, and it’s obviously beautiful, from the tiara to the opera gloves to the white pumps that she’s wearing when she gets her long sought after foot pop. This gown complements Queen Clarisse’s, while still coming across as younger (and a little more fun).
And finally: The “Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Princess of Genovia”
This outfit comes to you in three parts, much like The Princess Diaries will when they add Paolo: The Puttanesca Story to the series. First, we have Mia’s runaway-to-be jeans and hoodie combo, which is promptly soaked in a thunderstorm. Then, when Mia accepts her throne, she adds a crown to the ensemble.
The final addition is this bright red robe, and the costume in this final iteration is my favorite in the film because the regal accessories can’t obscure who Mia truly is on the inside: A bit of a mess. And we love her for it! Long live the princess.