Style Icon: Clarissa Darling

Before she was casting spells on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and long before she paired up with Joey Lawrence in Melissa & Joey, Melissa Joan Hart stole our adolescent hearts as the feisty and fashionable Clarissa Darling.

The Nickelodeon sitcom Clarissa Explains It All gave us an insider’s peek into the challenges and troubles of the average teenage girl.  Clarissa constantly confided in us — be it about her troubles at school, how to avoid her mother’s alfalfa parfait, and, of course, how to get back at her bratty brother, Ferguson. Years before the rest of us were on AIM, Clarissa was designing her own computer games. While we played with the house cat, Clarissa kept a pet caiman. But all of this awesomeness pales in comparison to Clarissa’s true talent — her sensational styling.

Clarissa was never afraid to strut her style — and often took on critics and parents alike when they tried to get in her way. “This is the dawn of a new era of fashion!” she boasted. “Our mission — to seek out racy combinations, to boldly wear patterns no one has worn before!”

“How could anyone not crave this outstanding ensemble?”

In sharp contrast to Ferguson’s button downs and cardigans, Clarissa’s technicolor tights, mixed patterns, and trendy toppers brashly declared her vibrant personality and inspired a generation of neon-loving fashionistas. It’s easy to see why Clarissa had us glued to the TV whenever SNICK came on.

Having trouble figuring out what to wear in the morning? Just take a tip from Clarissa: “Think hip, think hot, think funk.”

What show from your childhood helped to influence your style?


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  1. Avatar
    Miss Crayola Creepy 02/28/2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I was obsessed with that show! I tried to convince my parents that I needed a ladder outside of my window like Clarissa! haha

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    Erin 02/28/2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Oh my goodness I used to watch this show all the time. Such a good one too.

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    Stephanie 02/28/2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Oh I used to LOVE this show and totally envied her amazing wardrobe. What a 90’s style icon. Also, I got to meet the actor who played Sam once, it was quite an excited moment in my life!

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    Amber Rose 02/28/2012 at 1:51 pm #

    LOVE her. Kate of Scathingly Brilliant actually dedicated an entire week to Clarissa Darling a few months ago.

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    Suzanne T. 02/28/2012 at 2:28 pm #

    I had a notepad filled with Clarissa’s outfit combinations that I would take to Value Village with my mom and try to replicate. Granted I did this is in 1997, so a few years after it would have made sense, but I didn’t care!

  6. Avatar
    Jenna 02/28/2012 at 4:11 pm #

    I LOVED that show! I wish I could watch it again, along with some other choice shows like The Secret World of Alex Mack, Taina, Moesha, The Mystery Files of Shelby Wu, Ghost Writer…

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    kelly christine 02/28/2012 at 4:14 pm #

    tooooooooo good.

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    Erin (ModCloth) 02/28/2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Yes! Clarissa was hands down my number one style icon as a kid.

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    Colleen 02/28/2012 at 5:17 pm #

    My favorite part about Clarissa Explains it All is how much she loves They Might be Giants!

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    bluuseas 02/28/2012 at 6:02 pm #

    I loved Clarissa! Even watching her now (the show has been on Teen Nick off and on with their new ‘The 90’s are all that’ block) some of her clothes I want!

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    Emily 02/28/2012 at 6:50 pm #

    In second grade, we had to dress up as a person we admired for school. I was Clarissa. She was a huge influence on me to have fun with my appearance and wear what I wanted, no matter what others thought.

  12. Avatar
    Rachel 02/28/2012 at 7:31 pm #

    I think I am too young for this show but probably would have loved it. I definitely miss 90’s Nick! My favorite show was All That. Thanks for the peek at this 90’s fashinista! 🙂

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    Crystal Trezza 02/28/2012 at 8:35 pm #

    I took my style from movies: Clueless, weird science breakfast club,etc. If I saw it, I made a way to make it happen with thrift stores and sewing,

  14. Avatar
    Jade 02/28/2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Love this show. I still watch it when it comes on 90’s is All That. Melissa Joan Hart rocks and now that it is mentioned, she did have a great since of style for her time…

  15. Avatar
    sparklesness 02/28/2012 at 10:09 pm #

    my love of hats is completely dedicated to blossom
    (and i can’t believe the actress is now on big bang theory… it spins my head every time)

  16. Avatar
    Sofia N 02/29/2012 at 7:19 am #

    Aah! Thanks for this article. Clarissa was/is my hero! 😀

  17. Avatar
    Courtney 02/29/2012 at 7:21 am #

    I was addicted to this show when I was a kid – I always wanted my outfits to look as good as hers!

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    Kristen 02/29/2012 at 8:19 am #

    I didn’t have cable but would go to my grandmas to watch this, oh man Clarissa was the coolest.

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    Bonne Chance Vintage 02/29/2012 at 8:20 am #

    I love this!!

  20. Avatar
    Charlotte Dunn 02/29/2012 at 11:13 am #

    I used to absolutely adore Clarissa. I used to have several velvet floppy hats like hers…In fact they may still be in a closet at my mum’s.

  21. Avatar
    Abby Varn 02/29/2012 at 5:56 pm #

    !!!! The sequin collar and cheetah print. Works so well… Clarissa really DOES explain it all. I’m so happy you’ve highlighted this gem of a show. Another reason ModCloth is the best.

  22. Avatar
    Jess McDrinky 03/01/2012 at 12:38 pm #

    My husband just informed me that was his favorite show, LoL.

  23. Avatar
    Nina Shewchuk 03/01/2012 at 6:37 pm #

    I never watched Clarissa, but I coveted her style in my early university years. I also loved Blossom (who also deserves a style icon post, I think!).

  24. Avatar
    Jacqueline 03/02/2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Clarrissa was literally my one and only style inspiration for my childhood and still kind of influences it today (I still love fun colored tights paired with cut off shorts and doc martains=) )

  25. Avatar
    Shea 03/03/2012 at 5:29 am #

    OMG, this take me back to middle school. I loved this show, and I kinda miss it too! Does anyone else remember when T.V, was good?


  1. Clarissa’s Got It All – The Year of Sexy - 03/04/2012

    […] spent last weekend watching a show I hadn’t seen in probably fifteen years for a blog post for work. Do you remember Clarissa? I mean, I thought she was cool as a kid, but didn’t […]

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