Today marks the 10th anniversary of cult fashion film The Devil Wears Prada, a.k.a the movie that launched Emily Blunt’s career, put Anne Hathaway on the fast-track to A-list fame, and cemented Meryl Streep as one of the most bad*ss female bosses of all time.
For the first time in film history, the public also got an (only slightly exaggerated) in-depth look at what working in the world of fashion magazines is like. The movie created such a lasting impression that when I interned at ELLE Singapore in 2008, two years after it premiered, my friends were still asking: “So is it really like The Devil Wears Prada?”
In case you haven’t watched it (gasp!), the movie stars Anne Hathaway as naïve journalism school graduate Andy Sachs, who hopes to kick-start her career in media by being an assistant to Meryl Streep’s character Miranda Priestley, the powerful and demanding editor-in-chief of fictional high-fashion publication Runway.
And in honour of its 10th anniversary, here’s a recap of the life lessons we’ve learnt from The Devil Wears Prada. By all means study them at a glacial pace.
1. Always look out for fresh and new ideas
We know – it’s totally natural, sometimes even inevitable, to hit cruise control when you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time. But Miranda’s iconic zinger, “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking”, serves to remind us that if you want to be the best in the industry, you must never get so comfortable at work that you stop trying to think out of the box.
2. Be on time
According to research, punctuality is a trait that’s highly valued by most bosses. The scene where Nigel (Stanley Tucci) tells Andy that she’s already late because “Miranda’s pushed the run-through up a half hour. And she’s always 15 minutes early” confirms the fact that the best bosses are usually role models for respecting their own – and others’ – time.
3. Do your homework
I.e. you better know how to at least spell the names of the biggest players in the business if you want to work in that industry!
4. Take pride in your work
Miranda’s matter-of-fact claim that everyone wants to be like those in the fashion industry is a tad too OTT for us, but it has made us realise that we should be confident about what we do - and more importantly, take pride in it.
5. Statement shades give you power
All we want is half of Miranda’s awe-inspiring presence in the office lift.
6. Know your sh*t
Unfazed by Andy’s self-righteous dismissal of “this stuff”, Miranda delivers one of the best monologues in movie history about how cerulean infiltrated the masses after its appearance on the runway. And made us really, really proud to be part of the fashion industry.
7. It’s ok to screw up – as long as you make things right after
Andy went on the coveted Paris trip that co-worker Emily (Emily Blunt) had been dying to go for, which wasn’t very cool. But she later made it up to her by offering her all the free clothes she’d gotten from the trip - and was more than forgiven.
8. Dress the part
While we’re not condoning obsessing over what you wear, it’s important to recognise that clothes are a part of the first impression you give people. If you dress like a slob, you can’t blame people for not taking you very seriously.
9. Stop complaining
Whining gets you nowhere – and there’s always someone out there who’s eyeing your job (and can probably do it just as well). As Nigel reminds Andy:
Andy: I don’t know what else I can do, because if I do something right, it’s unacknowledged, she doesn’t even say thank you. But if I do something wrong? She is vicious.
Nigel: So quit.
Nigel: Quit. I can get another girl to take your job in 5 minutes.
10. But ultimately, having an amazing job doesn’t guarantee happiness
...And you have to be brave enough to realise it - and do something about it. Even though Emily kept reminding Andy that a million girls would kill for her job, Andy knew that her coveted job wasn’t the one that would bring her happiness and fulfilment. Sometimes, the job that everyone else thinks is perfect just isn’t the right one for you.
For more on fashion, head here. Or check out Here’s Your Perfect Hot-Day Uniform and 9 Amazing Summer Looks To Steal From Fashion Bloggers.