Rom-Com Core Is the New Barbiecore. Here’s How to Channel Your Inner Meg Ryan

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During the 2020 cottagecore craze, we tied aprons over our nap dresses and tried to figure out what it meant to “feed” a sourdough starter. Soon after, the internet was taken with Dark Academia, the goth-meets-prep fashion trend that made us feel like we were living inside the library of a prestigious boarding school. And this year, thanks to Valentino’s Pink PP collection and the much-anticipated Margot Robbie movie, Barbiecore has flooded our feeds (think: hot pink mini dresses, platform sandals and bubblegum tracksuits). 

Up next? According to the annual Pinterest Predicts report, Rom-Com Core, or dressing like a character from a romantic comedy. Pinterest has seen an uptick in searches for ‘90s and 2000s girl fashion, predicting Gen Z and Millennials will adorn their wardrobes with rom-com staples like “slip dresses, tube tops, cargo pants and claw clips” in the coming year. So how can you channel your inner Kathleen Kelly working the bookshop counter in You’ve Got Mail or Mary Fiore touring venues in The Wedding Planner? Below, find the best leading lady inspiration, plus how to achieve their looks with a few trusty staples. Cue up the Norah Jones playlist and keep scrolling. 

How to Copy ‘The Crown’s’ Retro Fashion to a T—Because I’m Absolutely Obsessed with It

Rom Com Notting Hill

1. Notting Hill

Leather Jacket + Tee + Pinstripe Trousers + Beret + Sneakers

A quintessential part of any rom-com, a meet-cute is equal parts awkward and adorable. And in Nothing Hill, the cult-favorite love story set in a charming London neighborhood, the run-in is no exception. It’s also quite stylish and, in the case of Julia Roberts’s casual-cool ensemble, easy to recreate. Just toss a leather blazer over your favorite white T-shirt, slip into pinstripe trousers and top everything off with a black beret. Where shoes are concerned, Vans lend a laid-back vibe (but you could totally dress this up a bit with some chunky loafers).

Shop similar styles: &Other Stories Wool Beret ($29);Ouay Narrow Cat Eye Sunglasses ($75); Rag & Bone Icons Leather Blazer ($696); Everlane Box-Cut Tee ($30); Maeve Pinstripe Trousers ($170); Vans Old Skool Core Classics ($70); Kate Spade Hudson Hobo Bag ($348)

Rom Com Youve Got Mail
Warner Bros./IMDB

2. You've Got Mail

Mock Neck Sweater + Shift Dress + Oversize Cardigan + Oxfords

You may have heard of Meg Ryan Fall, a TikTok style movement centered around You’ve Got Mail’s main character, Kathleen Kelly. A lover of statement collars and cardigans, the fictional bookshop owner continues to inspire fashion lovers decades later. This ensemble, in particular—oversize sweater, shift dress, black mock neck, and oxfords—is a fabulous outfit formula to follow.

Shop similar styles: Theory Mock Neck Sweater ($195), Misook Pullover Tank Dress ($268), Everlane Oversized Cardigan ($165), Dr. Marten 8065 Mary Janes ($130)

Rom Com Maid Manhattan
James Devaney/Getty Images

3. Maid in Manhattan

Cream Peacoat + Turtleneck + Wide-Leg Pants + Slingbacks

In 2002’s Maid in Manhattan, J.LO plays a hotel maid who finds herself romantically linked with Senate hopeful Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes). Her monochromatic park date outfit, one that was borrowed from a socialite staying at the hotel, is still enviable decades later. To copy it, pair a cream peacoat with matching wide-leg pants. If pointed sling backs aren’t your first choice for jaunting through the city, we’re right there with you. A pair of black ankle boots bring the look together just as well.

Shop similar styles: ASOS Double-Breasted Peacoat ($97), &Other Stories Tailored Trousers ($129), Everlane Italian Re-Wool Cocoon Coat ($224), Anne Klein Sleeveless Turtleneck ($69), Alexandre Birman Velvet Boots ($750)

Rom Com When Harry Met Sally e1671655701795

4. When Harry Met Sally

Chunky Turtleneck + Brown Blazer + Straight-Leg Jeans + Loafers

Chunky knits and earth tones are made for autumn strolls in the park. Here we meet Meg Ryan again, this time playing Sally Aldridge, a confident and charismatic journalist living in New York City. To steal Sally’s style, start with a cozy turtleneck and tuck it into some straight-leg jeans. Tie together the look with a brown blazer and messenger bag, then grab a coffee and spend the afternoon meandering around The Met.

Shop similar styles: Neiman Marcus Cashmere Sweater ($150), Rag & Bone Cody Wool Twill Blazer ($650), Everlane Rigid Way High Jeans ($108), Anthropologie Slouchy Faux Leather Tote ($90), Koio Classic Penny Loafers ($295)

Rom Com Clueless e1671655739660

5. Clueless

Cropped Cardigan + Tank + Printed Mini Skirt + Knee-High Boots

Clueless is a treasure chest of daring fashion choices. And while there’s debate over this film’s status as a rom-com, one thing is certain: Dionne Davenport’s wardrobe is a ‘90s fever dream. Master of mixing prints and bright pieces, Dionne shines in this green sweater set and gingham mini. To put a grown-up spin on the high schooler’s outfit, opt for an oversize outer layer, like a sweater or trench, along with a longer skirt hem. Then, slip on knee-high boots or ballet flats, depending on the season. Dionne might not know how to drive on the freeway, but she knows how to dress.

Shop similar styles: Mango Ribbed Cardigan ($25), Mango Houndstooth Skirt ($30), Rune Slouch Knee High Boot ($357), Lelet NY Jules Pin ($148)

Rom Com 13 Going on 30

6. 13 Going on 30

Printed Babydoll Dress + Strappy Sandals + Baguette Bag + Colorful Jewels

No outfit paints a portrait of Y2K fashion like Jennifer Garner-as-Jenna Rink’s babydoll dress in 13 Going on 30. And in 2023, the striped number is perfectly on-trend, from its rhinestone-flecked straps to the triangular cutouts at the ribs. To channel her fun, youthful energy, combine a bright dress with strappy sandals, colorful jewels and a baguette bag. If you’re really committed to the bit, tie your hair into a spiky bun and sprinkle in some butterfly clips for good measure. 

Shop similar styles: Ronny Kobo Jo Low-Cut Mini Dress ($698), Vince Camuto Sanda Strappy Sandals ($83), Nadri Butterfly Pendant Necklace ($68), Coach Luna Shoulder Bag ($295), Lelet NY Crystal Clips ($198)

Shop More Rom-Com Essentials

Everlane Oversized Blazer e1671652568720

1. Everlane Oversized Blazer

Size range: 00 to 16

Lace Slip Dress
Neiman Marcus

2. Rag & Bone Logan Lace Trim Slip Dress

Size range: 00 to 14

faux leather skirt e1671653260199

3. Mare Mare x Anthropologie Faux Leather Skirt

Size range: XS to 3X

aviator jacket

4. Topshop Oversize Aviator Jacket

Size range: 2 to 14

sweater dress e1671654007669

5. Current Air Sweater Dress

Size range: XXS to 3X

coach demi bag

6. Coach Demi Bag in Signature Jacquard

slouchy boots
Neiman Marcus

7. Paige Carrie Slouch Booties

Size range: 5 to 11

cargo jeans ganni e1671655588623

8. Ganni Wide Leg Cargo Jeans

Size range: 25 to 32

purewow author

Senior Social Strategy & Trends Editor

From 2017-2023 Michaela Magliochetti held the role of Senior Social Strategy & Trends Editor covering wellness, horoscopes, trends and more.