While films are ultimately made to entertain the masses, they also have the capacity to teach us valuable life lessons. The Devil Wears Prada is the staple fashion movie. Many young people today, including myself, grew up on this film, discovering a hidden passion for fashion as they watched each scene unfold. This movie is iconic. It has the perfect balance between drama and comedy, and it’s full of quotable material.
Aside from its entertainment value and array of chic looks featured throughout, The Devil Wears Prada can teach us a lot. So, down below are ten lessons The Devil Wears Prada can teach aspiring professionals and fashionistas about life and what it’s really like in an ever-changing and fast-paced industry.
I. Things don’t always go as planned.
Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism. Once she makes it to New York City, she is sure that she will garner a job working at a newspaper, but instead, she finds herself working at Runway Magazine — not as a writer or editor, but as the junior assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the publication’s cold editor-in-chief. Andy never would have predicted that she’d be working as a coffee runner at a magazine once she graduated from college, but her situation is common. You never know where you’ll end up. The job market is unpredictable, and from my own experience, so is life. Sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow.
II. Be irreplaceable.
Andy is one of many assistants that must answer to Miranda’s every beck and call. Her position was previously filled by Emily (Emily Blunt), who was recently promoted to “senior assistant.” As Andy begins to work, Miranda refuses to address her by her given name. Instead, Miranda refers to her simply as the “new Emily.” Her indifference to Andy, and even to Emily, demonstrates that in fashion and in the workforce, anyone is replaceable. It isn’t until Andy starts to distinguish herself that Miranda addresses her correctly. Make yourself memorable. Never let anyone forget your name.
III. Be daring.
Andy gained Miranda’ respect by standing up to her, getting her hands on an elusive Harry Potter manuscript, and for simply having guts. If you want to earn respect, be bold.
IV. Fashion is cutthroat.
Andy is an average-sized woman, but she is called fat once she arrives at Runway. Emily starves herself to keep a good figure. Miranda also isn’t shy about roasting new collections that she doesn’t approve of. If you plan to work in a creative industry or public sphere, plan for your work or character, to be ripped to shreds.
Learn to put on a brave face when facing the music. But once you get home, it’s okay to cry like no one has ever cried before because criticism sucks. It’s also okay to eat ice cream — and lots of it.
V. Fashion is all about the details.
Andy has no sense of fashion.
In one scene, Miranda is trying to construct an outfit, and she can’t figure out which belt she should use. To Andy, the belts look “exactly the same.”
I might be biased, but, boy, was Andy wrong about that one. Fashion is all about the details. I mean, it should be common sense at this point.
VI. Don’t change yourself for anyone.
Eventually, Andy tries to fit in with the culture at Runway, and this includes a new wardrobe (which she totally slays!). Her clothes aren’t the only things that change. Soon, she finds herself becoming shallow and making less time for her friends. Andy alters her whole identity for a job that she detested month’s prior. Don’t let your job or employer make you change yourself unless it’s for the better.
VII. Don’t fall for snakes.
With her journalism career still in mind, Andy is happy to have become acquainted with Christian Thompson (Simon Baker), a handsome young writer with plenty of connections. Later, Andy realizes that Christian isn’t as trustworthy as she thought. Don’t fall for snakes — even if they are as handsome as Simon Baker. I know, it’s easier said than done.
VIII. It’s lonely at the top.
Miranda is often portrayed in the press as a workaholic dragon lady who can never maintain a personal life. In the film, viewers are shown that yet another one of her marriages is falling apart, and Christian Thompson and co. are trying to dethrone her as Runway editor-in-chief. It’s lonely at the top, and success is coveted. To experience success in society is to have a target on your back, so watch out.
IX. Stand up for what you believe in.
When Miranda sacrifices art director Nigel’s (Stanley Tucci) promotion at a new magazine to save her job as editor-in-chief, Andy realizes that she doesn’t want to be in the fashion world anymore. Andy quits her job on the spot and doesn’t look back, standing up for what she believes in. Maybe don’t throw your phone into the fountain, but do what’s right for you. Recognize what you want out of life and follow that path.
X. Don’t give up.
While Andy didn’t initially get the job she wanted straight out of college, she got the valuable connection of Miranda Priestly. Andy’s hired by a major New York publication after Miranda gives her a glowing reference.
The main takeaway here? Everyone has their own time to shine, so long as they don’t give up. Never back down, and go after your dreams!
The Devil Wears Prada is a must-watch for all fashion lovers. Watch it for the laughs. Watch it for the looks. Watch it for the lessons. •
By Myah Taylor
Graphics By Lily Wickstrom
Photo Credits to 20th Century Fox
Myah Taylor is a first-year journalism major from Colorado Springs, CO. In her free time, she enjoys updating her personal blog (couturelysound.wordpress.com), running, getting lost in books, appreciating fashion and culture, and having solo dance parties to her favorite songs.