In this article:
- Heather Duke is one of the main characters of the cult classic movie The Heathers and a musical of the same name. Though she doesn’t start out as the most powerful member of her clique, Duke gradually grows her influence and shows this evolution through the clothes she wears.
- Since the movie and musical are set in the ’80s, Heather’s wardrobe is mostly blazers and layers, giving her a mature appearance that’s more ’80s office woman than an ’80s high school girl.
- We’ve put together a list of some pieces you can get online today to get her look without looking like you’re outdated.
Before Mean Girls, there was The Heathers. The 1989 cult classic movie marked the beginning of a darker tone for teen films. Instead of the light-hearted high school romances and relatively mild drama that came before it.
The Heathers offered a cynical view of society through the microcosm of high school. And sure, that sounds a little bland on paper, but the characters’ youth makes the gradual disillusionment of the cast and their later commitment to kindness more touching.
Geeky film things aside, The Heathers wouldn’t be The Heathers without the titular Heathers. Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara, and Heather Duke serve as the stereotypical mean girls of the film while low-key being representatives of how power is accumulated, lost, and abused by the once-trampled underlings of those in power.
The Heathers’ key to power is their beauty which they each emphasize through their fashion sense so you best believe Heather Duke is stylish.
Who Is Heather Duke and Why Does Her Style Matter in The Heathers?
Fashion matters a lot for the Heathers. The uniform-like similarities of their clothes communicate that they’re a group or, to be more accurate, a clique. It tells all the other students that they’re the lion pack of Westerberg High. No one else wears their colors — red, green, and yellow — the way they do in both the musical and the movie because they’re colors reserved for the Heathers.
The regal red, a color associated with passion, domination, and power, goes to Heather Chandler, the leader of the Heathers up until her accidental death at the hands of Veronica. Heather McNamara gets yellow, a color associated with cowardice. In both the movie and the musical, McNamara struggles to find the courage to stand up to the other Heathers, even though she knows that what they do as a trio doesn’t necessarily align with her values.
And then there’s Heather Duke. Clad in green, Heather Duke is quite literally green with envy. She gets mercilessly bullied and “put in her place” by Heather Chandler who does everything to keep her spirits down, likely recognizing that Duke has aspirations of replacing her if the opportunity arises.
When Heather Chandler finally kicks the bucket, we see Heather Duke begin to wear red in the movie while in the musical, she starts wearing a red scrunchie — a symbol of power associated with Heather Chandler.
Her bulimic tendencies also line up with her envy. Sure, there’s the obvious part. These girls are able to maintain their teen dictatorship over Westerberg High because of their beauty and sexuality. This is a reason for their disordered behavior on its own and is something that makes them painfully insecure because they know they need to stay conventionally attractive to remain in power.
Going off the latter idea, Heather Duke’s purging can be seen as an act of self-denial, an attempt to disguise or renounce her desire to go toe to toe with Heather Chandler and part of how she stays in Chandler’s good graces. After all, Chandler makes it clear that she chose her Heathers and Veronica for their physical attractiveness.
After Chandler kicks the bucket, Duke starts to eat. With no restrictions on her consumption and ambition, she finally lets loose her desire to swallow up Westerberg High. The more she eats, the less green she wears. She starts wearing warmer colors and is seen in a yellow blazer, signifying that she’s moving up the Heathers’ social ladder and is now on the same footing with McNamara.
The longer she realizes no one is going to fight her for Chandler’s spot, the bolder she gets until we finally see her in an all-red outfit that Chandler would claw her eyes out for wearing if she were still alive.
But that’s enough reading into the play. Clearly, Heather Duke has taste. Even at the time this was written, when the microtrends don’t favor the ’80s, Duke’s outfits are extremely flattering on her. The big hair and her choice of blazer cuts give just scream confidence and honestly, we could all do with a little more of that attitude in our lives.
So, here are some pieces you can add to your online shopping cart to get that Heather Duke look.
Revive 80s Fashion With These Heather Duke Worthy Pieces
Pretend it’s the ’80s again and shoulder pads, bright color combos, chunky jewelry, and big hair are all back in style. The ’80s made popularized the concept of “power dressing” for women in the workforce. Power dressing basically boiled down to dressing like a woman but with shoulder pads to give you a more androgynous look that invoked masculinity and was therefore more respectable.
1. The Signature Green Blazer
Get Extro & Vert’s Oversize Jersey Blazer and Bralette Vest Co-ord.
Let’s start with the obvious must-have. You can’t channel your inner Heather Duke without a green blazer. This oversized green blazer from Extro & Vert has that ’80s shoulder pad look without being so wide-shouldered that you end up looking like you literally came from the ’80s.
Remember, bringing back styles is about adapting them to current tastes, not copying them look for look unless you want to look like you’re the star of a period piece.
This green blazer is actually a co-ord that comes with a black bralette vest. Wear them together and the only difference between a work outfit and a night out-ready look is whether you have your buttons done or not.
This would also look nice layered with a white turtle neck or dress and a plaid gray skirt. Heather Duke actually wears a variety of this combo in The Heathers movie so you might want to try that out.
2. An Oversized Black Sweater That’s Perfect for Layering
Ever noticed that movie Heather Duke was always wearing turtlenecks and blouses under blazers and jumpers? A black baggy sweater like this one would be great for layering with a green pinafore dress or the Extro & Vert green blazer. You could also wear give it a Sailor Moon-inspired twist to make it more in line with current ’90s-inspired trends. Think black sweater, plaid skirt, and chunky gold necklace.
Speaking of plaid skirts, this next Heather Duke-worthy piece can work with this turtle neck or a white fitted one which is another wardrobe staple of movie Heather Duke.
3. A Skirt That Looks Like a Homage to Heather Duke
See? It’s even green. Maybe not as intense a green as the one we started with, but definitely mid-movie Heather Duke green. Kind of like that pastel green suit combo she wore that had a big fabric chrysanthemum on the front.
Honestly, though, it’s giving more The Heathers musical Heather Duke since musical Duke wears a plaid green skirt with her green blazer. This can easily be paired with any other basic top that you might already have in your wardrobe.
4. A Pair of Preppy Loafer Flats
These loafers resemble the ones worn by the Heathers in the musical version. In the movie, Heather Duke wears a pair of black Mary Janes before transitioning into a pair of black pumps. In the musical, she mostly just wears loafers.
And who can blame her? They’re comfy, cute, and are just the right balance between casual and dressy.
5. A Minty Green Plaid Turtleneck
While we don’t see Heather Duke wear a green plaid sweater in the movie or the musical, it’s hard to deny that this number just screams Heather Duke. The plaid, the high neckline, and this specific shade of green are so her it would take eating a brain tumor for breakfast not to see it.
What she said.