It's a life so outrageous it takes two women to live it. – Desperately Seeking Susan.
Desperately Seeking Susan Costume
Thanks to the movie’s leading lady – Susan, played by Madonna, the costume style throughout the film is as striking as it is effortless. Susan’s outfits although perfectly styled and distinguished, look as though they have been thrown together without a moment’s thought! I feel that this is the reason why the Desperately Seeking Susan costume is still a movie style favourite over thirty years on. One of the key costume pieces is the Desperately Seeking Susan jacket which in the (fiction based) film was supposed to have once belonged to Jimmy Hendrix, purchased from a thrift store by the eccentric Susan. The jacket is an embellished blazer with long lapels, and richly decorated triangular design on the back. It resembles something between a leather jacket, an 80s style military jacket or a sparkly blazer. Along with the jacket, the Desperately Seeking Susan costume assists of an orange-red lip, messy curly hair, wayfarer sunglasses, straight leg black bottoms, one large chandelier earring (worn in the left ear), and a feminine black bow worn in the hair.
SHOP THE Desperately Seeking Susan LOOK
Get the Desperately Seeking Susan Look
A couple of years ago I attempted to recreate the look myself. Surprisingly, I found that I already owned items that very closely resembled those that make up the overall look. My Susan-inspired look consists of:
- A faux leather jacket
- Black vest top
- Lots of decorative gold bangles
- Long costume jewellery necklace
- Bow headband
- Orange-red lipstick
- Hair – curled using a curling wand.
- Don’t forget the Marilyn-inspired drawn-on mole!
This costume look was so much fun to curate purely for the fact that it was so easy and yet the end result was so satisfying! Nothing had to be too neat or tidy, including the hair and make-up. This outfit is highly wearable on a daily basis, but if not there are so many singular elements that can be broken down and taken away and worn individually. Here is the look broken down so that you can see how you can imitate certain parts of the Desperately Seeking Susan look in a subtle yet equally stylish manner:
- Black vest top worn with a statement jacket
- Straight leg casual pants worn with a statement jacket (i.e. faux leather/military jacket/blazer) and accessories.
- Curls don’t always need to be neat and uniform, especially if adapting the look for everyday wear!
- Don’t be afraid to wear a mixture of masculine garments with something highly feminine (like the hair bow), a style rule which epitomises Madonna’s way of dressing.
- You don’t have to wear heels to create an exciting look. You will notice that the footwear (flat pumps by the way) play a very small part in this costume yet it doesn’t matter. They flatter the other garments without diverting attention or confusing the theme of the outfit, demonstrating the impact that carefully selected textures and embellishments can have on any given fashion ensemble.
Cigarette Girl: Susan! My God, we thought you were dead.
Susan: No, just in New Jersey.
- Desperately Seeking Susan
Desperately Seeking Susan movie synopsis
Roberta, a bored housewife in New Jersey who seeks enjoyment from following the personal ads between Susan (played by Madonna) and her boyfriend Jim, gets more than she bargains for when she begins to emulate the intriguing life of the mysterious Susan. Unknowingly, Roberta buys into a piece of the action when she snaps up the jacket that she had previously watched Susan sell back to a thrift store. Roberta’s dull and predictable life is set to change when she begins to secretly copy the seemingly more exciting Susan by first purchasing her jacket, unaware that someone is desperately searching for the jacket and its wearer!
The theme song to this movie was Madonna’s hit ‘Into the Groove.’ Personally, I found the movie comical with an adventurous twist however, it isn’t known as one of Madonna’s best movies. On the other hand, for the short 1 hour 20 minutes run time, it is definitely worth sitting through to enjoy the 80s outfits and evocative fashion!