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  • Saruta Chaochavanil for POLYCHROME

Top 5 stylish Summer Camp films

As we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July, our minds turn to the summers of our youth and memories of summer camp. The popularity of this topic for films points to the nostalgic feelings that camp inspires, not only for the adventures and the long balmy days, but also for the fashion from iconic sportswear to even those cringeworthy outfits. We’ve picked our top 5 summer camp films which tap into that guilty pleasure, so pull up a lawn chair and fire up the s'mores to get ready for some retro style inspiration.

nostalgic Summer Camp images

images from: Pinterest


Wet, Hot American Summer (2001)

dir: David Wain | starring: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter

One of the most popular films to leverage the 1980's summer camp setting. This film will instantly take you back to the decade's most memorable fashion moments. Throwback fashion staples like shredded oversize tees, colorful cutoff shorts, polo shirts with upturned collars, striped ringer T-shirts, and even friendship bracelet can be spotted. The low-maintenance fashion from cool kids of that era defines effortless style and the perfect summer look.


The Parent Trap (1961)

dir: David Swift | starring: Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith

Although there are some that prefer the 1998 remake of this camp classic, I am standing by the original version for its fashion sense. The plot of the film revolves around the chance meeting of two identical twins, separated at birth, and what ensues when they hatch a plan to stay together. The girls' adorable camp uniforms are just the start; the real fashion parade commences once the girls have left camp and gone back to their homes. You get a a full range of fashion from the proper Bostonian costume of Susan to the more laid back, Western-inspired clothing Sharon wears in California. The costumes of the adults are wonderful, too, especially those of their mother, played by Maureen O'Hara, who is a sophisticated East Coast career woman.


Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

dir: Wes Anderson | starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis

This is the story of two12-year-olds adventurers, Suzy and Sam, who fall in love and ran away together on an isolated island. Costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone referenced thousands of vintage photographs as inspiration for this film and the majority of the costumes were handmade, delivering all the quirky style we've some to expect from a Wes Anderson film. We adore the uniquely nerdy style of these two characters - totally their own but at the same time it feels like they raided their grandparents' closets. Suzy's favorite look includes a dark pink beret and a bright yellow dress with contrasting Peter-Pan collar. Sam escaped from scout camp to go on this escapade, so he is in a classic khaki scouts uniform much of the time. This movie will make you want to get to the nearest vintage store to play dress-up!


Dirty Dancing (1987)

dir: Emile Ardolino | starring: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach

This much-loved classic romantic drama centers around a teenage girl, Baby, who vacations with her rich family at an exclusive resort and falls in love with Johnny Castle, the handsome dance instructor. The costuming captures the classic preppy fashion of the time. Baby's outfits include ribbed tanks knotted at waist or coral colored body suit under a plaid shirt; twirly midi floral skirts and the white "Champion" sneakers that cemented iconic status for Keds brand. Johnny's outfits veer a bit more edgy to convey his other side of the tracks reputation; he is often attired in the American rebel uniform of white T, jeans, and black leather jacket. Many of these looks are those #OOTD outfits that still look chic and on-trend today.


Meatballs (1979)

dir: Ivan Reitman | starring: Bill Murray, Harvey Atkin, Kate Lynch

This classic 1979 summer camp comedy portrays the rivalry between the poor kids' camp and the neighboring rich kids' camp. The laid-back style late-70's to early-80's teens is front and center, and while much of its nerdy style is hilarious, it's also pretty timeless. It features color blocked shorts, knee-high tube socks, bandanna headbands, and wildly colorful Hawaiian shirts. The movie is great "trendspiration" for tropical prints,clashing patterns and offbeat style.


Below are some prints from our summer collection that also have that colorful and nostalgic summer vibe.

Tropical Reflection | Illustrated Citrus | Paisley Hipster | Fractured Foliage| Lemonade | Beachy Print

Go to our Print Page to check out hundreds of on-trend prints from our global team of artists and designers!


sources: imdb | YouTube

* We intend no copyright infringement by displaying images from other sources on our site. Unless otherwise noted, all images are the property of their respective owners.

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