Pulp Fiction was released 20 years ago this week, as you may know. The movie had an immeasurable impact on film and pop culture. But with its top-notch dialogue, plot, acting and editing, sometimes the characters’ incredible style gets lost in the discussion.
This is a shame, because Pulp Fiction functions as a pretty bomb time capsule for ’90s dressing. Fashion is currently embroiled in a fiercely nostalgic ’90s revival, so we’ve assembled every single look from Pulp Fiction, in order of appearance, along with some options for bringing the plaids and piercings of 1994 into the 21st century.
Yolanda is very ’90s, but she’s a bit of a hot mess. Her hair is in a league of its own, and she’s wearing a purple, cotton, A-line frock that really puts the “baby” in babydoll dress.
The unbrushed hair and playclothes make for a juvenile look that matches her whining, her baby voice, her childish nickname (“Honey Bunny”) and her eventual inability to stand up under pressure. If you want to replicate her look, babydoll dresses are making a comeback. This time around, though, they’re shorter and patterned, making for a slightly more grown-up vibe.
Played by Tim Roth, this soon-to-be repentant restaurant robber is bringing down the house in a green and blue Hawaiian shirt. Channel him with a loud-as-hell surfer print from Topman. This one is on clearance for $35. Can’t imagine why. To bring the look into 2014, make like the cool boys and wear it buttoned all the way to the top.
2. Jules and Vincent in suits
The thing that sets Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta’s suits apart in Pulp Fiction is not their skinny ties, but their cheapness and lack of tailoring. Suiting has been slim for a few years now; why not hit the town in a baggy gangster suit from Jos. Bank?
3. Marvin in his bad-luck-blue polo
Poor Marvin is on Vincent and Jules’ side, but that doesn’t stop him from later getting shot in the face by accident. To honor him, let’s bring back the ironic polo shirt. It’s only $9.95 at H&M.
4. Mr. Flock of Seagulls
Damn, that haircut. This guy, who seems stoned, is munching a Big Kahuna burger with his cool haircut when Jules and Vincent burst through the door. Jules shoots him to prove a point.
Flock of Seagulls guy, we barely knew ye, but your haircut should soon be dominating the streets of Bushwick. Definitely take this photo to the barber next time around.
5. Mr. “Say What Again”
This very nervous boy is killing it (and getting killed) in a denim button-down. He’s also wearing khakis, which have yet to make their official comeback. But in this era of normcore, they should be all over the city any minute now. Here’s a similar chambray man-blouse from 3X1.
6. Bomber jacket Butch
Bruce Willis played Butch at the peak of his action-star virility. To get the look, try a ’90s-friendly bomber jacket. This one from Diesel is
7. Jules and Vincent in their goofball uniforms
Here, we have our first proof of cinematic time travel within the movie’s editing. Jules and Vincent arrive at the bar where Marcellus Wallace is talking to Butch, but they’re wearing clothes they won’t change into until almost the end of the movie. They’re wearing oversized, faded graphic T-shirts and baggy shorts.
This is a good look for hitting the gym, playing some pickup basketball, doing the laundry or cleaning a dead body out of the back seat of your car. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can replicate it by purchasing Vincent’s UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs T-shirt on eBay, Etsy or wherever else fandoms congregate to sell garments that are one step away from cosplay.
8. Bolo tie Vincent
Vincent pops by his drug dealer’s house to pick up some heroin. This scene is actually happening before the diner and bar scenes, but after the apartment shootout. Check out the shoes on pedestals behind Vincent (foot fetish hint?), and the way you can see the dealer’s face in the closet door. Oh, Tarantino!
Anyway, Vincent is wearing a bolo tie. Bolos haven’t really made a comeback at this point, per se, but can something that was never a trend in the first place ever truly come back? Ditto his vinyl trench coat. Somehow, he’s really rocking this look. If you want a bolo, these seem nice.
9. Jodie, or, “the one with all the shit in her face”
To channel Jodie, the whiney-but-probably-misunderstood wife of Vincent’s heroin dealer, you will need hella facial piercings and a blonde mullet. Juxtapose the overt punk vibes with some minimalist Theory and you’ve got yourself a major look:
10. Uma Thurman, finally
Hell yes, two badass and babely outfits in a row. To channel the iconic, iconic, iiiconnnniccccc Mrs. Mia Wallace, the perfect tailoring is essential. Mia Wallace epitomizes ’90s minimalism; she makes glorified office basics smolder. Costume designer Betsy Heimann told Elle she chopped the bottoms off of a pair of flared black trousers to dress Uma Thurman for the role because all of the pants they had on set were too short for Ms. Thurman. Cropped black flares: good luck pulling those off.
Additionally, to channel Mia Wallace, you will need one sturdy, no-frills, white blouse. She wouldn’t have been caught dead in J. Crew but this one is perfect:
Gold Chanel flats:
And a smokey brown cat eye. Urban Decay actually makes a Mia Wallace-inspired eyeshadow palette:
She’s also rocking a black crushed velvet jacket, a garment you can’t even find on a respectable ecommerce website these days. Crushed velvet, please come back, you crazy diamond.
Trudi, seen here recoiling on the couch as Mia Wallace receives her adrenaline shot, has a miniscule role in Pulp Fiction but has the most quintessentially ’90s look: that of the grungey schoolgirl. To copy, wear a black band T-shirt and hit up American Apparel for some knee socks and a kilt.
12. Christopher Walken
None of us will ever be able to replicate anything he’s done, so let’s just look at how cool he is. Also, slicked-straight-back hair is due for a comeback.
13. Butch, conflicted in yellow
Here is Bruce Willis’s character just before he fails to throw the fight like Marcellus Wallace told him to. You can easily acquire a bumblebee-colored boxing robe on eBay, but this look might be better suited for Halloween.
14. Esmeralda Villalobos, purring cab driver
Florals were huge in the ’90s, meaning this is the second minor female character who shoulders some serious style, only to disappear seconds later. Still, all of the minor characters in Pulp Fiction are memorable and tend to stick with you — maybe it’s because of their distinctive and iconic looks. If you want to be like Esmeralda, try some loud florals from Milly:
It’s only fitting that Butch, who represents a twisted version of what every little American boy hopes to be, would have a tiny French girlfriend. Fabienne’s accent, her speech about wanting a pot-belly and her weird, inky bowl cut upstage her wardrobe, but she does show a laid-back, relaxed version of ’90s femininity. A similar look today would be one of Urban Outfitters’ zillion paisley dresses.
16. Marcellus Wallace
The mob boss is spoken of in hushed tones throughout the first hour of Pulp Fiction, and we see the back of his head. But we don’t really get to know him until an hour in, when he takes matters into his own hands and tries to chase down Butch.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to find that chef-coat-style, clementine-colored button-down in the wild. The gold hoop man-earrings are easier to track down, but we’re definitely not pulling for that ’90s über-trend to make a comeback.
Also, let’s give a round of applause to a pre-fame Kathy Griffin, seen here in a boxy, suede barnyard coat. Her presence is a nice reminder that in the ’90s everyone was a lot more chill about letting their glorious, natural curls hang out.
17. Pervy gun store owner
This guy and his cop buddy are easily the most reprehensible characters in Pulp Fiction. But that’s not to say this gunslinger’s short-sleeved plaid shirt isn’t an important part of ’90s fashion. Damn you, Tarantino, why do you have to make the bad guys dress cool?
18. The Gimp
Again, this character is not so chill. But at least, in this case, the clothes match the man: S&M gear is, by definition, pretty un-chill. Still, it had a moment in the ’90s just the same (thanks a lot, Madonna). Don’t even front like you never owned something that was leather and studded from Hot Topic in those days.
Explicit connotations aside, this is a trend with staying power. Nowadays, even Saint Laurent‘s been known to grab the stud gun:
19. Fabienne’s denim jacket, crop top and jazzy legging combo
Fab’s leggings are a holdover from the ’80s. Such skintight, patterned atrocities also had a moment over the past five years or so — they’re super comfy, after all. But thankfully, they appear to finally be dead again (except on sick days) after their most recent comeback.
But the rest of her outfit is legit: it wouldn’t be 1994 (or 2014) without a crop top and a denim jacket. This boxy American staple is groping for a comeback as we speak. Here’s one from Proenza Schouler.
20. THE CREWNECKED GUNMAN!!!
This little sneak! Thankfully, his aim with ~style~ is much better than his aim with a handgun.
We haven’t seen too many coral-colored male crewnecks in the streets of NYC, but the crewneck sweatshirt is definitely prime for a comeback. Zip-ups are beyond boring at this point. Thankfully, as is the case with most basics, American Apparel is on it.
21. Jules’s cute lil gold bracelet
Here is Jules, around when he decides to give up on a life of crime in favor of a life of pontificating. He has technically been wearing this gold bracelet since the first scene, but it doesn’t appear until now. Men were way more into jewelry in the ’90s, it seems. Maybe this was because of Prince. Either way, let’s bring it back. Here’s a special tip: to get man-jewelry, just buy some regular jewelry and put it on a man.
22. Quentin Tarantino
The director uses his cameo to deploy a ton of ill-advised N-words. It’s uncomfortable. For our purposes, though, it’s worth mentioning that he’s wearing this really cool ’60s-throwback red robe with a midcentury modern graphic dotted print.
Sadly, they don’t make robes like this anymore. Your best bet would be to acquire a ’60s pattern from Etsy and make your own.
23. Marcellus Wallace’s amazing yellow turtleneck
Yes, yes, yes. This is great. His chartreuse turtleneck matches the eggs on his plate. This poolside domestic scene has a real ’60s feel and there’s no reason why, in 2014, we can’t reference 1994 referencing 1968, so everyone should definitely start wearing crayon-colored turtlenecks again. Even Gucci thinks so.
24. Bonnie and her situation
Although this section of the film is entitled “The Bonnie Situation,” we never actually see Bonnie. The screengrab above is from an imaginary scenario that Jules is describing.
Like many of the women in Pulp Fiction, Bonnie is a lady of few-to-no words who nevertheless drives the film’s action as the men around her go to great lengths to keep her satisfied. Bonnie is a nurse who takes care of people all day (or at least she’s a person who dresses up as a nurse as part of her job…), so she can’t be bothered with cleaning up dead bodies when she gets home from work. Channel her with a white shift dress, which is always in style.
25. Mia Wallace as ’60s housewife
To round out the pool scene, Mia Wallace materializes at her husband’s side in matching midcentury duds. It looks like any other successful businessman who’s achieved the American dream, sitting poolside with his wife as she brings him a bloody Mary and he takes the rare weekend work call. To get her incredibly cool look, settle for some cat-eye glasses, because the swimming robe is sadly no longer a thing in 2014.
26. Mr. Wolf
Is it a coincidence that as the movie goes on, the clothes get more timeless? This might be an homage to the midcentury crime movies that Tarantino is referencing. But it also draws a stylistic line between the higher-ups in this crime network and the hit-men who do their bidding.
Mr. Wolf’s perfectly tailored tux makes Jules and Vincent’s volleyball-team-reject duds look even more ridiculous. He’s clearly on the same level as cool/clean Mia and Marcellus, while the expendable hit-men, Jules, Vincent and poor Marvin, are wallowing in blood and guts.
Compare even Vincent and Jules’s ill-fitting suits from the beginning, which are now covered in gore, to Mr. Wolf’s outfit. It becomes clear that these two might not have been cut out for this life in the long term. That’s why Jules ends up leaving organized crime to “wander the earth,” while Vincent has already been shot by Butch a few scenes prior.
Maybe take all this into consideration next time you consider passing on the tailoring for your new separates.
Last but not least, we have Raquel, heiress to Monster Joe’s garbage dump, in her plaid shirt and über-90s relaxed fit jeans. (She makes a good Halloween costume.) It’s nice to end this with plaid, which was huge in the’ 90s, and is now — take a look at this Rag & Bone clone of Raquel’s shirt.
That’s it for Pulp Fiction’s many stylish outfits, most of which you’d come across in some permutation while walking around your more stylish neighborhoods. Some ’90s trends, like puffy khakis and manly-man earrings, might be gone forever — but there’s still time for them to make a comeback; we’re still relatively early into our current wave of ’90s nostalgia.
Say good night, Raquel.