Catching Up With Clarissa Darling & 6 Tips For Dressing Like The ’90s Supergirl

by Julia Zdrojewski
Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah…
Let’s go back to a simpler time, shall we? A time when we had all the answers. Why? Because Clarissa gave them to us. Clarissa explained things. Clarissa explained it ALL.
I loved “Clarissa Explains It All.” I loved her enormous headbands. I loved the hubcaps on her wall. I even loved Sam’s ladder that would always hit her window announcing that her best friend wanted to chat. Mostly, I loved that Clarissa Darling (played by Melissa Joan Hart from 1991-94) was an individual, something that the creator, Mitchell Kriegman, is still proud of to this day. 
“She was an original voice, she was ahead of the curve, and encouraged everyone to be ahead of the curve. It was the show of a generation,” said Kriegman in an interview with Flavorwire earlier this month.  
Clarissa has entered the cultural conversation once more as a result of Kriegman’s new book that picks up with our heroine about a decade after the television series left her. The novel, Things I Can’t Explain, focuses on the triumphs and tragedies that Clarissa is experiencing in the weird, wonderful Hell that is your mid-20s (i.e.- What am I supposed to be doing with my life? How can I afford to pay rent and student loans at the same time? Can I bring my Tinder hookup as a date to my college roommate’s wedding?). Details of the novel have yet to emerge, but I’m personally hoping for three things:
1. That Clarissa still calls her brother Ferguson “Ferg-Face.” Because it’s timeless.
2. That Clarissa still thinks it’s an amazing idea to mix prints with florals and bright colors.    Because it is.
3. That Sam got a car. Because using a ladder as a form of transportation is cute when you’re 12, but pretty creepy when you’re inching towards 30. 
When discussing the upcoming novel, Kriegman also weighed in on the gender politics present in the show at the time, particularly in relation to the friendship between Clarissa and Sam. Kriegman explained that,
“From the perspective of gender, that was a really important relationship because it meant that guys watching the show could say, ‘Oh, I can sympathize with her. I want to be friends with that girl. It’s OK for me to be friends with her without having to jump her bones or feeling like I’m being a sissy.’ Which, to this day, is a really hard thing to get across in television.” 
From 90’s computer games to long monologues to some crazy fashion, Clarissa Darling was someone who liked what she liked. In fact, her fashion sense still receives attention for its uniqueness. Anyone up for a stroll down memory lane? Here’s my quick guide to dressing like 90’s Clarissa:
1. SHORTS. Do you own shorts? Good. Do you own a second pair of shorts? Even better! Now, put on as many as you can. Don’t ask questions, just do it. 
2. HEADBANDS. I find the bigger the better because as you can see they are meant to cover at least ¾ of your forehead. This is ideal for a few different reasons. 1. It can cover your adult acne (but for real, when will it end?) and 2. It’s getting pretty cold out, so these suckers can also serve as ear warmers. Ugh. Clarissa really did have the answers to everything.
3. BOOTS. Clarissa rocked Dr. Martens long before Miley Cyrus ever did. Tip: The boots look will work best if you have neon socks that can hang out from the top. Do you have a scrunchie that matches (or totally clashes) with those socks? Bonus Points!
4. VESTS. I don’t want to start a fight, but if you came out of the 90’s without at least one vest in your closet, I’m calling you out as a fraud who probably doesn’t even know the name of Clarissa’s pet alligator (Elvis). Vests were a necessity. Mine was denim and came from a Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, Florida. Note: I have never in my life been to a Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando — so Mom, if you’re reading this, call me. 
5. JUST KEEP ADDING ACCESSORIES. Too much is never enough! Do you have old glasses you can throw on? What about an oversized watch? Earrings the size of a small child (or in the case below- the actual world) that you can hang from your ears? When it comes to dressing like Ms. Darling, subtlety isn’t a strongpoint. Trust me. 
6. BE BRAVE. Don’t be afraid to wear colors/ mix prints/ dress yourself with your eyes closed in a dark closet. I find that I have this new tendency to wear dark colors too much, and while this covers up the food I will inevitably spill on myself, it’s not always the most exciting. Take risks with your fashion- it’s more fun that way. Just think #WWCD?
Be on the look out for Clarissa-eqsue clothing and definitely be on alert for Things I Can’t Explain, by show-creator Mitchell Kriegman, set to come out later this year!
(And read this other crazy interview from Flavorwire that also touches on the Golden Age of Nickelodeon and its legacy!)
Images via Clarissa Explains It All

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