There is nothing more debated in the whole world than the styling in Love, Actually. Some people love it; some people hate (actually) it. Both arguments have solid points — we’ll get to them. I come here today to talk to you about the 14 best seconds in Love, Actually fashion that no one talks about, but first, a quick run down of the good and the bad to paint a fair picture and waste some time while we’re at it.
First, you have the famous turtlenecks.
Good turtleneck: Mia’s excellent gravity-defying black turtleneck that I’ve spent my whole life in search of and because I still haven’t found it, clip all of my turtleneck-necks in the back to keep them as tight and upright as hers.
Bad turtleneck: The multi-colored zip-up turtleneck of Mark (the “to me you are perfect” guy… p.s. look at him with a beard).
Less represented but almost all good, the cardigans: Aurelia’s thick gray cable knit cardigan layered over a purple shell cardigan, Jamie’s black speckled cardigan as seen in the same scene, or Aurelia’s sister’s red-and-yellow striped cardigan that is probably Acne.
Just plain bad: Mia’s black-and-white Tetris sweater vest.
Good: Mia’s top, which looks like something by Reformation, that she wears in the scene where she tries on the necklace Harry gave her.
Bad: The yellow sunglasses Colin wears when he comes back from America, which I can’t find a photo of but they look like those wraparound Oakley Pit Bulls.
Good: Sarah’s holiday party dress.
Good: Peter’s magenta wedding shirt/tie combo that few could pull off but I stand by it so hard.
Also good: Juliet’s plumed wedding sweater.
And the really, really bad: The blue hat Juliet wears in her video-snooping scene, which she apparently had to wear because she had a “massive spot on her head” (<- this clip I just linked to kills me because the host asks Kiera Knightly, with zero context, “What does it feel like to fall off a golf cart in front of Ewan McGregor?”)
Given my own personal problem with short-billed hats (it’s never you, always me) this particular train conductor hat (made of denim?) could have the power to cement the film as a “bad fashion movie.” But a blip of an outfit angel saves it. At the 3:13 mark of the below clip, when it’s dawning on Juliet that Mark is in love with her, the back of what appears to be a blue velvet blazer slips its way onto the screen. At 3:26 Juliet waves, which reveals the blue velvet blazer to be tie-dye.
And at 3:42, the rest of her shirt is revealed: a high-necked going-out top, with a lining that stops just at the belly button, a slightly longer sheer sheath of fabric covered in purple paillettes over it, so light the wind is able to pick it up and cause it to dance around — the sequins twinkling like a bubbling moonlit river as a result. Though I do wish I could see them for sake of the full picture, her bottoms are insignificant; they’re merely a vehicle for that which flies above, like celery to buffalo chicken dip. You can easily pretend her pants are jeans, or wear jeans if you ever find your own version of this heaven. It is every birthday party outfit I’ve ever dreamed of; the ideal thing to wear on New Year’s eve so that you look festive but not like everyone else. It is magically garish and elegant at once. It is proof that outfit hunches have to be tried out, otherwise you’ll never know your closet’s most special combination.
With approximately 14 seconds of screen time, this top/jacket pairing is a styling supernova — a flash that you have to look for to see. I wish I knew more about it: Who makes that top? Is the jacket velvet, or what? Did the same stylist who dressed her for this moment and the wedding scene call out sick on the fateful hat day, or was she trying to show, through clothes, that Juliet very well may have weep-worthy eyebrows, but she is flawed just like the rest of us?
The world may never know, but it doesn’t matter.
To me, this outfit is perfect.
Photo by Mary Evans/UNIVERSAL PICTURES / WORKING TITLE FILMS / DNA FILMS/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection.