Mandy Miller Comes Correct
Y'all remember The Unicorn Club series? I loved it so much. Then they broke up the club in book 6 (The Unicorns at War) and didn't even include a preview of the next book and, dude, my adolescent heart was so broken, thinking the series was over. Then I randomly stumbled on #7 (Too Close for Comfort) while on vacation with my family (treasured memories: going to bookstores in other states) and all was right in the world again but the books weren't really that great after that bitch Kimberly Haver came back to Sweet Valley and ruined everything.
. . . Obviously I had a very tough childhood.
This is the cover of the first book, which I studied INTENTLY because there was no way the illustrator was pulling a fast one on me: that was clearly Tiffani Amber Theissen on the front cover. It's like "oh, hey! The Wakefield twins! Maria Slater, former child star! Lila Fowler, looking sadly weasely! Mary Wallace, as exciting as a sack of potatoes! And right in the middle -- Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell! Why not!"
Anyway, Mandy Miller* is totes the Claudia Kishi of the Unicorn Club. She's not strapping dollhouse chairs to her ponytail or anything, but she is definitely the wacky dresser of the series. In the first book, she tells us that "my family doesn't have much money, so my mom and I have always had to be creative when it comes to clothes. I get most of my clothes from the thrift store. I guess you could say I was the grunge pioneer at Sweet Valley Middle School.
Take today - I had on wide-legged striped pants, a knit cap, and a long vest over a T-shirt. Not to brag on anything, but I do have sort of a flair with clothes. Even Lila Fowler tells me she really likes the way I put things together."
Even Lila Fowler, people.
By book 2, Mandy is such a fashion superstar that she starts a thrift store makeover trend at school, which leads to the director of some teen rom-com hiring her as an apprentice costume designer when he happens to wander into the thrift store mid-makeover sesh. He also casts Maria Slater in a bit part, uses the Unicorn Club as extras, and decides to film some scenes at Sweet Valley Middle School, because this is apparently what life is like in California. And here I had the misfortune of being raised in suburban New York. (Seriously, how many times did a model scout or movie director or former rock star or star journalist wind up in Sweet Valley? There must be something in the water there. Like cocaine.)
"Mandy walked up and down, like a general inspecting her troops. She had really gone all the way today. She was wearing a pair of men's paisley pajama bottoms under a short tartan kilt, with a ribbed poorboy top and a paisley scarf worn like a sash. On her head was a tam with a big pom-pom. She looked great -- sort of like a punk bagpiper.
We all stood up really straight as she passed us by. Mary had on a forties vamp outfit. Flowing pants and a floaty top. Her fine blond hair lay flat all around her head in spit curls. And the only makeup she wore was dead white powder and red, red lipstick.
'Good', Mandy said approvingly, and Mary blushed with pleasure.
Lila had on a white crocheted vest over a black body suit and jeans. On her feet were saddle shoes.
Mandy smiled and shook her head. 'Great.'
On to Jessica. She was wearing faded jeans and a blue, pink, and purple floral-patterned vest. Underneath the vest was a white oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and on her head she had a hat with a big flower pinned to the upturned brim. Elizabeth had chosen a cool fifties-style housedress, accented with colorful jewelry, patterned tights, and lace-up boots.
Evie was there, too, and she trailed behind Mandy like a second-in-command, straightening a shoulder pad or retying a tie when it was necessary.
She was very funky, too, in her patterned men's dress shirt and tie. She wore them over a stretch miniskirt and tights."
Original fashion bloggers tbh. Stacey McGill better scurry on over to Bloomingdale's, because she is getting schooled left and right here.
* Sweet Valley trivia: Mandy Miller was introduced in the Sweet Valley Twins series -- she desperately wanted to be a Unicorn but was kind of goofy and her family was poor but then she got cancer and the Unicorns felt bad about being full-fledged bitches when it turns out Mandy was actually a super great person and then I think Lila bought her a wig because Mandy's mom could only afford a really janky one that did not meet Unicorn standards. I did not have to consult Wikipedia for any of this and that saddens me.