‘Dirty Dancing’ Style Rules to Follow This Summer
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Is there any movie more SUMMER than Dirty Dancing? You’ve got your star-crossed romance between two love interests from two different sides of the tracks, you’ve got your cranky dad and you hula-dancing sister, socs versus greasers, sweat, drama, camp, theft! There are endless dancing montages, a talent show and at least two instances of family bonding. And then, of course, there is the quintessential summer fashion. The style in this movie stands the test of time, yet — and maybe this is due to the gingham, crop tops and eyelet — it seems to feel especially right right now. Luckily, the rules are super easy to follow.

1. Hey Baby! Put Your Dancing Shoes On.

I suppose that goes without saying. You want a sneaker or something supportive with a low heel. No mules, I’m afraid. These can be worn with anything from a red dress to denim Bermuda shorts; practice gear’s fair game so long as you participate.

2. Get You a Shirt That You Can Shimmy Your Shoulders In.

Give in and accept that OTS tops are still relevant.

3. Stock Up On Stripes.

Laugh in the face of that fleeting thought that said, “But don’t you have enough already?”

4. Whip Out the White Jeans and Add an Oversize, Dad-Approved Button-Down.

It’s a classic combo so you can’t go wrong.

5. Wear a One-Piece With Everything.

It’s summer’s multipurpose answer to the bodysuit.

6. …Or a Try Two-Piece for Daytime.

A matching set means less thinking on your end.

7. Suss Out Some Seersucker and Do Your Makeup On the Go

Bonus points if the seersucker’s rainbow.

8. Channel Your Inner Carrie Bradshaw and Try Your Version of a Tutu.

A white tank rolled up keeps it simple, while silver shoes add a little something special.

9. Get a Raincoat!

It’s now or never (which is when it pours, summer storm-style).

10. Wear Eyelet and Floral for All Your Summer Soul-Searching.

Eyelet’s nice and breathable. Great for emotions.

11. Take Your Shirts Seriously!

Don’t relegate going-out tops to going out. They’re great for right this moment.

12. A High Waist can Never Be High Enough.

For your crotch’s sake, though, you’re better off dancing in them than sitting down.

13. If You’re Going to Get Just One Dress This Summer, Make it Gingham.

Then add a giant belt.

15. Have the Time of Your Life in a Princess Outfit

Don’t let anyone put you in the corner, and when in doubt, tell anyone who will listen that you carried the watermelon.

Get more Fashion ?
  • Weronika Michta

    I LOVE this. I’d add one more – buy those wonderful white sneakers!

  • Tori Dresch


  • Adrianna

    I always think about how the creator of Dirty Dancing insisted the movie keep the abortion storyline. And how this was my Polish, but very Catholic mother’s favorite movie when she was a teen. (Maybe the Polish version didn’t translate that part..)

  • Trina

    Every single time I try on a pair of denim shorts, I want them to look like Baby’s and they just never do. Still searching in vain! Also, there once existed the most perfect pair of shoes with silver straps at the toe and a t-strap with a blush pink heel and I referred to them as “Dirty Dancing shoes” until they disappeared off the internet and left me with a hole in my heart.

    • Amelia Diamond

      those shoes sound magical

  • Rheanonn Perez

    “eyelet is nice and breathable. great for emotions” LOL & the accompanying picture 😂!


  • LOVE THIS. I seriously think about this movie every time it’s summer because it is perfect in every way.

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    Soooooooooooooooo on point!

  • One of the best movies ever – the one piece look is all I’ll ever need for summer. Something about Jennifer Gray’s killer body and the way she dances in that scene is everything! Nobody put’s baby in the corner!!


  • Stephanie

    1) What is summer, if not 90+ days of opportunities to work “I carried a watermelon” into everyday conversation?
    2) On a related note (in terms of both original air date and flashback period), my #1 tomboy style icon of all time is Kevin Arnold in season 1 of the Wonder Years.

    • Amelia Diamond


      • Stephanie

        Right?! Like, just tell me my deadline, because I have a LOT to say about “Why Kevin Arnold in Season One of ‘The Wonder Years’ Is My Unlikely Style Icon” etc.

        • EmmyLou666


  • Heleen Peeters
    • Amelia Diamond

      dying at “i carried a watermelon red”

  • Andrea Raymer

    ALL of this is what I want to be. my friend just got off the national tour of the stage adaptation of dirty dancing and I am about to make her steal all of her costumes for me

  • ladle

    Whenever I wear something I’m afraid my first thought is ‘will think make me boil in the heat’. So no jeans. But some of these are things I really want.

  • I just realized that this is exactly what I’ve been trying to thrift this summer, but now with visual aids and a concrete reference!

  • Katy

    I watched this for the millionth time at the beginning of the summer and had exactly the same thought–what perfect, relevant fashion. Especially Penny’s look in 11, and basically every little effortless top Baby wears on the bridge in a montage.

  • Anna Muller

    I ALWAYS had a connection to that outfit of hers in the pink bodysuit denim shorts and white keds. Iconic for me

  • Lyla

    TBH you could buy all of these looks at Madewell

  • Emmie

    unpopular opinion here: i can’t stand Dirty Dancing – I couldn’t tell you why. All of the above & comments make a great case for it, as does the chapter in Hadley Freeman’s book Life Moves Pretty Fast (which, if you like 80’s movies is a MUST READ). There’s just a niggling feeling that irritates me about it.

    ANYWHO, i will be trying white denim & dad shirts ASAP

    • Kelsey

      I relate fully to all of this!

  • I cannot fashion enough to do any of these, but I don’t love this post any less.

  • Van Oscar Catacutan Tabaloc

    I carried the watermelon. Lol

  • Jasmine H

    I love everything about this. Such a great movie and great style inspiration!