Dirty Dancing Has Been My Summer Style Inspiration for Over 20 Years

You might be wondering why I was allowed to watch Dirty Dancing at around 6 or 7 years old. Despite growing up in a house with maybe eight TV stations in total, I remember I could turn on the television (seemingly unsupervised) on any random weekend afternoon and the classic summer love story would be playing. Was it age-appropriate? Nope. Did I actually understand the plotline? Not until high school. But to this day, it's still my favorite movie—and one of my top sources of summer style inspiration.

It doesn't hurt that despite the film being set in the 1960s, it's Jennifer Grey's Baby character whose wardrobe is much more timeless than distinctly set in a specific era. She relies on classic silhouettes and neutrals shades. Her outfits are practical (hello, secret dance rehearsals), but each is either somewhat sweet—a nod to her character's naivety—if not a bit more provocative—speaking more to Frances Houseman coming into her own maturity.

Looking back, I realize Baby and I don't have a ton in common—save for a bit of similar teenage awkwardness and a love for dance—but I think of the film whenever I see pretty, pink summer dresses that are made for spinning (or flying into Johnny's arms). Somehow a pair of jorts and Keds can still make me want to shoulder shake as if no one's watching. And lord knows I love a tied-up bottom-down top.

Keep scrolling for a few looks that stand the test of time, especially for a superfan like me.

Dirty Dancing Outfit Ideas


Everette Collection

Is it just me, or is this "My parents don't know I'm learning to Mambo" ensemble something you'd absolutely see on any influencer's Instagram feed?

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Dirty Dancing Outfit Inspiration


Everett Collection

What's more summertime-perfect than a crisp all-white outfit? The peasant top nods a bit more to the '60s but remains a style you can find in spades today.

Available in sizes 14 to 24.

Available in sizes 24 to 32.

Dirty Dancing Best Movie Style



In this ensemble, the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts, as it relies on super-easy-to-come-by pieces but is styled (specifically, all tied up) into something more special—and, considering this "Lover Boy" scene, something iconic.

Dirty Dancing Summer Style



Is it even possible to look at a pink, swishy-hemmed dress without thinking of this final scene? Does anyone put Baby in a corner? Absolutely not.

Up next, we asked a fashion psychologist about the one trend Meghan Markle simply can't quit.

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