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Why Bohemian Rhapsody’s Producer Chose Not To Put David Bowie In The Movie

It’s a real challenge facing the team behind Bohemian Rhapsody. When telling the story of iconic singer/songwriter Freddie Mercury, how do you choose which moments to focus in on? The movie spends a lot of time on Live Aid, and the creation of Queen’s legendary “Bohemian Rhapsody” track. But one collaboration — that with David Bowie on the chart-topping “Under Pressure” — is never discussed. When we interviewed Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King, we asked if he ever thought about casting a Bowie, and he clarified:

In my own humble opinion, “Under Pressure” is the greatest pop song ever written. Naturally, you’ll disagree, as no two people can actually agree on what’s the greatest pop song ever written. But Queen’s collaboration with David Bowie on the 1981 track off the album Hot Space is the ideal showcase for Bowie, Mercury and the musical talents of Queen.

“Under Pressure” also was a staple of Queen’s set lists since the day that they composed it. The song was the band’s second No. 1 in the UK after “Bohemian Rhapsody” — giving it almost as much weight as the song that gives the new movie its title — and Queen played it in concert repeatedly from 1982 onward.

Graham King is correct that the song is played in the background of a key scene later in the movie, one focusing on Paul Prenter (Allen Leech), Mercury’s one-time manager (and lover) who eventually betrayed Freddie’s trust and reputation to the press.

But it’s a background choice, a famous tune played beneath a scene, and we never got a version of Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury trading falsettos with a stand-in David Bowie. Ah well, perhaps it will appear in the eventual Bowie biopic that I’m sure Hollywood will plan (following this movie, and the Elton John film Rocketman that’s reaching theaters in 2019).

Here’s Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King discussing the choice to leave David Bowie out of the Queen film:

Even without Bowie, Bohemian Rhapsody goes to great lengths to capture what made Queen special, both in the studio, and on the stage. Bryan Singer follows the musicians along the journey to recording some of the band’s most famous tracks, and then restages the Live Aid concert that might go down as their most iconic performance, with the eyes of the world on them.

The movie opens in theaters on Nov. 2. For a full rundown of everything coming to theaters in 2019, bookmark our Movie Release Calendar and reference it often.

Fans Played the *Suits* Theme Song to Greet Meghan Markle, and It Was Everything

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand continued Tuesday (October 30) with a stop in Auckland, New Zealand. The couple kicked things off with a walkabout, where they greeted dozens of fans—including a full brass band, who started playing the Suits theme song upon their arrival. No, that’s not a joke or an exaggeration: A band literally jammed out to Ima Robot’s “Greenback Boogie” as Markle and Prince Harry waved at passersby.

Markle didn’t react to the song, but the moment is iconic nonetheless. The Duchess of Sussex hasn’t really discussed the popular USA TV show that made her a star. In September, Markle reportedly said she hadn’t seen the latest season of Suits, but that’s the only soundbite she’s given on the subject since becoming a royal.

Watch the band greet Markle with a blast from her Suits past, below:

In November 2017, Markle opened up about how she’s ready to close the chapter on Suits and start a new one with Prince Harry. “I don’t see it as giving anything up,” she said. “I just see it as a change. It’s a new chapter. I’ve been working on my show for seven years. We’re very, very fortunate to be able to have that sort of longevity on a series. For me, once we hit the hundred-episode marker, I thought, ‘I’ve ticked this box.’ I feel really proud of the work I’ve done there, and now it’s time to work as a team with [Prince Harry].”

If Markle is looking for something to watch on TV, though, the current season of Suits is pretty lit.

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Hilary Duff Just Welcomed Her Second Child—and Her Name Is Beautiful

A major congratulations is in order for Hilary Duff. The Younger actress just welcomed her second child, a daughter named Banks Violet Bair. (It’s Duff’s first child with boyfriend Matthew Koma. Her son Luca is from her previous marriage to hockey player Mike Comrie.)

Banks was born on Thursday, October 25, but Duff officially announced her arrival on Instagram last night (October 29). “Banks Violet Bair❤️ this little bit has fully stolen our hearts! She joined our world at home on Thursday afternoon and is absolute magic,” Duff posted alongside a photo of her holding Banks as Koma looks on with a smile.

See the adorable photo for yourself, below:

Duff announced in June that she and Koma were expecting a baby girl together. “Guess what guys! @matthewkoma and I made a little princess of our own and we couldn’t be more excited!!!!!!🤰🏼👶🏼,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. Koma made a separate announcement on his Instagram, writing, “We made a baby girl! She will be as beautiful and sweet as her mother… @hilaryduff another incredible chapter begins.”

The “Sparks” singer has been open about the good times with this pregnancy as well as the difficult. In July, she posted an incredibly transparent Instagram about her pregnancy frustrations that many mothers responded to. “Man.. pregnancy is hard,” she wrote. “Giving love to all mamas who make it look effortless… this journey is hard as hell and also incredibly special. Lovely to have a little life inside and to day dream of all the new adventures to come buuuut almost impossible to get my own shoes on..sick of getting up 9 times a night to pee and looking at this weird body in the mirror that is not my own at the moment. Women are so bad ass, this was just a note to remind myself and remind others how’s strong and beautiful you are! WE GOT THIS.”

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Glamour Women of the Year 2018 Honorees

In the 28 years that we’ve celebrated Women of the Year—both in our pages and at our annual summit and awards ceremony—the stories of our honorees often start with the same idea: A woman that refuses to wait for someone else to make things better. Alone, or with an army behind her, she decides to act.

For our lifetime achievement winner, 97-year-old National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin, one of those moments came during planning meetings for the Rosie the Riveter Park. When it was clear her story as an African American woman was being left out, she didn’t sit silently. She spoke up and, as a result, the 60,000-plus visitors to the park each year learn a fuller version of history. Rachael Denhollander’s moment came when she stood in her kitchen and called the police, hoping she’d keep Larry Nassar from assaulting one more girl. Viola Davis made it her mission to stop the camera from overlooking unseen women—the maids, the wives, the grieving mothers—and kept at it for 30 years. Chrissy Teigen had an idea that social media could give all women a voice to share their passions and fears, while Kamala Harris is the politician women—and all Americans, for that matter—so desperately need.

We couldn’t be prouder to introduce you to Glamour’s 2018 Women of the Year. They are a diverse bunch—including a senator, an actress, and two groups of powerful young women fighting to make a lasting difference—but they have one thing in common: They aren’t waiting for the world to change; they’re getting the job done themselves.

Below, read about them and the other remarkable females that comprise Glamour’s 2018 Women of the Year, and head here to buy your tickets for our annual event celebrating these women in New York City. It’s surely going to be an unforgettable three days.

The Women Who Took Down Larry Nassar, Voices of Courage

One woman spoke out, another listened. That helped put an end to the abuse Larry Nassar inflicted for more than 20 years. Meet the survivors, including Aly Raisman and Rachael Denhollander; as well as Detective Andrea Munford, Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, and Judge Rosemarie Aquilina who told the world: believe women.

Viola Davis, The Icon

This was the year the world realized women’s stories deserve to be seen and heard. Viola Davis has made that her mission for three decades.

Senator Kamala Harris, The Advocate

Senator Kamala Harris came to Washington to do the work and gave women nationwide a voice inside the room where it happens.

Chrissy Teigen, The Influencer

So funny. So true. And so damn necessary. Chrissy Teigen may be one of the most relatable people on the internet, but she’s also an unofficial spokesperson for Generation Fed Up.

The Women Activists of March for Our Lives, The Next-Gen Leaders

In the face of tragedy caused by gun violence, these students activists—Samantha Fuentes (top right), Emma González (top left), Jaclyn Corin (bottom left), Edna Chavez (middle), and Naomi Wadler (bottom right)—demanded change, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Betty Reid Soskin, Lifetime Achievement

As the oldest career National Park Service Ranger, 97-year-old Betty Reid Soskin is unabashed about revealing all of America’s history—and her optimism about our future.

Janelle Monáe, The Visionary

Janelle Monáe has been racking up the hits for a decade. This year she opened up about her art and her life—and showed us a future that celebrates all kinds of female power.

Manal al-Sharif, The Freedom Fighter

Manal al-Sharif got behind the wheel and helped launch a movement that gave women in Saudi Arabia the right to drive—and put them one step closer to equality.


Come back each day this week to read profiles of the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year honorees and get your tickets to the three-day event here.

The Biggest Moments for Women In 2018

To steal the internet’s favorite word, 2018 had moments that were … problematic for women. In many ways, the darkness was real and painful. But for every instance that prompted outrage and uncertainty, there were moments that approached the sublime. Music and movies that brought us to our feet. News that made us proud. New Beyoncé!

Sure, Melania Trump slipped into a jacket that said “I really don’t care, do u?” ahead of visiting children who were separated from their parents at the U.S. border, but the rest of us—we really did care! And in 2018 we made new and historic efforts to show it. Women dressed up as handmaids and stormed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Taylor Swift finally took a political stance and, as a result, mobilized thousands of fans to register to vote. A tidal wave of women stood up, resolve ironclad, and not only echoed “Me Too” but also said “Time’s Up.”

So with 2019 on the not-so-distant horizon, we wanted to celebrate the victories women have earned, both big and small. It wasn’t a breeze, but we made it. Below, a brief chronicle of the women who spoke truth to power this year and rocked the status quo.


Hoda and Savannah made history

Today - Season 67

PHOTO: NBC

Savannah Guthrie (L) and Hoda Kotb (R) on Friday, April 20, 2018.

In the first 48 hours of 2018, Hoda Kotb took her seat beside Savannah Guthrie as the coanchor of Today, replacing the disgraced and dismissed Matt Lauer. And with that the duo became the first female cohosts in the behemoth NBC franchise’s 66-year history.

GLAMOUR: Now it seems like fate. But at the start were you two nervous you wouldn’t find a groove?

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I was afraid at first because I could not imagine having to be part of this show by myself. I said, “I don’t want to do it alone.” [When the Lauer news broke] Hoda was with me, and we literally held hands. I basically have not stopped holding her hand.

HODA KOTB: I remember that too. It was literally five minutes to 7:00 A.M., and we stood here together—Savannah and I. We kept saying, “If we can get through today, then we can get through tomorrow.”

GLAMOUR: Conventional wisdom holds that America likes to wake up with a man and a woman behind that anchor desk. What’s it like to be two women cohosting this show?

KOTB: When we announced it, people were like, “Way to go! Girl power!” I was like, “What?” I didn’t quite put it all together. But it’s resonated in a way neither of us expected.

GUTHRIE: Once we started this together, it felt like everyone came to the same conclusion at the same time, which is, Why would you change this?


Women at the Golden Globes made a statement.

75th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

PHOTO: George Pimentel

For the 2018 awards show, women dressed in black to protest sexual harassment and support the then nascent Time’s Up movement. Advocates like Michelle Williams invited activists like MeToo founder Tarana Burke to attend with them. The effect? More than an aesthetic, it was a promise: We’re in this together.


Oprah got her due

NBC's "75th Annual Golden Globe Awards" - Press Room

PHOTO: Kevork Djansezian/NBC

Also at the Globes, Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman ever to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In an acceptance speech so good it sparked rumors of a presidential run, the icon celebrated all the women who came before her, including overlooked heroes like Recy Taylor, who never saw justice for her sexual assault. Winfrey heralded the dawn of a new era: “For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of… men, but their time is up. Their time is up!”


We started winning

NY House Candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins Progressive Fundraiser In LA

PHOTO: Mario Tama

After the primaries, more than 250 candidates for the House and Senate ballots were women—a record. Just a few of the barrier breakers:

Danica Roem, 34, became the first openly transgender woman ever to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates. She followed that landmark achievement with the radical act of… responsible governance. Roem has focused on transportation issues in her district and advocated for infrastructure dollars to be better allocated across the state.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, wasn’t supposed to upend the status quo, but then beat out Joe Crowley (D–N.Y.), who hadn’t faced a primary challenger since 2004. A favorite as Glamour went to press, Ocasio-Cortez is poised to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and perhaps the only politician responsible for an uptick in Google searches for both “Democratic Socialism” and red lipstick. (After she tweeted she’d worn a Stila red stain to a debate, the shade sold out.)

Also expected on Capitol Hill? Rashida Tlaib, 42. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants is expected to become the first Muslim woman to serve in the House of Representatives. (She has no Republican opponent.) In an interview with Democracy Now, she promised to elevate the voices of her Michigan constituents in Washington: “I’m bringing my bullhorn to the floor of Congress.”


Moms ruled

2018 US Open - Day 13

PHOTO: Al Bello

Serena Williams challenged outdated ideas on maternity leave when she returned to tennis post-childbirth and saw her rank fall to number 183—and won the admiration of moms worldwide for her frank Instagram posts about the baby moments she missed when she went back to work. Senator Tammy Duckworth carried her infant daughter onto the Senate floor in April, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought her child to the United Nationsin September—all proving the juggle is real but can be handled with class.


The USA Women’s Hockey Team won gold—and fair pay

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PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

The U.S. women’s hockey team’s win at the 2018 Winter Olympics was a perfect capstone on the season—and their fight for equality. Back in 2017 the women said they’d give up competing if they weren’t paid on par with men in the sport. After a 15-month dispute with USA Hockey, they skated to triumph, raising their pay from a small annual stipend to a reported $70,000 per player. “We had a vision, and the only way to see it through was to remain united,” forward Meghan Duggan told Glamour.


Our heroes were made monumental

Portrait of Ida B. Wells

PHOTO: Chicago History Museum

Portrait of Ida B. Wells, 1920.

There are more than 140 statues of men in the five boroughs of New York City. The number of monuments to historical women? A reported five. Now a new initiative promises to honor women who’ve had an impact on the metropolis. Meanwhile, in Chicago, famed African American journalist Ida B. Wells, who was born a slave and became one of the most prominent activists of her era before her death in 1931, will be immortalized in bronze and granite. Now isn’t it time to get Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill?


Ireland legalized abortion

'March For Choice' in London

PHOTO: Barcroft Media

When dentist Savita Halappanavar died in 2012 from sepsis, an infection she contracted because she was unable to get an abortion as she miscarried, her name became a call to action. And a campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment, which had outlawed abortion in Ireland since 1983, took root. In May, women rallied around the world, citizens made the pilgrimage home to vote, and when all were tallied, a resounding 66 percent said women deserve choice.


We Came Forward

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford And Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Testify To Senate Judiciary Committee

PHOTO: Win McNamee

“I am here today not because I want to be,” Christine Blasey Ford, Ph.D., testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty.” Just over a week later, Brett Kavanaugh became Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh. People on both sides of the aisle said the episode did irreparable damage to the country. But it may yet lead to some healing: In the days after the hearings, the National Sexual Assault Hotline had a historic 338 percent increase in calls from survivors and their loved ones, many who shared their story for the very first time. Like Tarana Burke, Kellyanne Conway, and so many countless women who have said “me too,” Blasey Ford has inspired women to speak out, despite their fears, and perhaps create a new space for common ground.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina Isn’t Done Listening Yet

You can tell at first glance that Rosemarie Aquilina is no ordinary judge. The woman who spent 20 years in the National Guard and 14 on the bench telegraphs that with bold red streaks in her jet-black hair. “It’s really party in the back,” she says. “When I put my hair up, it’s my little independence. As a judge, we have to be so straight and narrow. Well, I’m not—in my life or in the courtroom. I don’t want to be put in a box.”

At the January 24 sentencing of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, Judge Aquilina, 60, became an overnight sensation for letting the “sister survivors,” as she dubbed them, have a voice.

Where did she find that heart, that flair, that spine of steel? Perhaps it all started when she immigrated to America at age one, poor and without a country, her passport stamped “stateless.” It was 1959, and her mother, Johanna, brought little Rosie and her brother from Munich to Detroit to live with her grandparents. The elder couple cared for her while her mother worked at an insurance company and her father finished medical school back in Germany. “He’d visit, but I did not realize he was my dad,” says Aquilina. “I thought my grandparents were my parents, and my mom was this older sister who helped out. No one ever explained it to me.” When her father finally came for good and moved his family to their own home, she says, “I thought I’d been kidnapped.”

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She was five and devastated, and it took a while to sort things out with her family. “But that’s why I have been the voice for people in everything I do,” she says. “Why I have always listened. Because I was a little kid saying, ‘What are you doing to me? I want to go back home.’ And I wasn’t heard.”

After that, Aquilina spent much of her childhood standing in the corner, eyes to the wall, refusing to apologize or acquiesce to her father. “You can’t beat them in the United States, so you send them to the corner,” says Joe Aquilina with a sly chuckle, knowing full well how many child abusers his daughter has put away. “Rosie was bullheaded, and she had to do [things] on her own terms.” Her mother agrees: “She just questioned us all the time and wanted to do it her way.”

And that’s pretty much how Rosemarie Aquilina has rolled. She did it her way when she got married after college at Michigan State University (yep, she’s an alumna of the university where Nassar worked) and had not one but two babies during law school at Western Michigan University. She did it her way when she joined the Army National Guard and became the first female judge advocate general, or JAG, in Michigan history. She did it her way when she had twins at 52. And she did it her way at Ingham County Circuit Court when she let 156 survivors speak as long as they wanted so they could begin to heal.

Aquilina took her first job assisting then Michigan state senator John F. Kelly and later started her own family practice, Aquilina Law Firm. As a respite from her heavy caseload, she started writing crime novels during her lunch hour. (Her first book, Feel No Evil, revolves around a rape; the second, Triple Cross Killer, abused children. “I’d wake up at two in the morning to get my character out of trouble,” she says, and sit down to write.) She also joined the Army National Guard, putting in at least one weekend a month and a couple of weeks a year. “I don’t know when she ever really slept,” says Colonel John Wojcik, Michigan National Guard’s general counsel. “She is passionate with an unquenchable drive, and she has a good judicial temperament. I always found her to be balanced and fair regardless of whether I was prosecuting or defending a case.”

Then in 2002 she realized a few weeks a year as a JAG weren’t enough. She was sitting with a court-appointed client in her private practice when something clicked. “This was a mother who beat her teenage daughter with a belt buckle,” she recalls. “I can still picture this girl. The bruises were so swollen, I mean, it was gut-wrenching. I said, ‘Look, you can’t do this.’ And she said, ‘That’s how I control her.’ I literally had to sit on my hands because I wanted to lean over and choke her. I thought right then: I need to be able to say, ‘You’re going to prison and here’s the treatment, here’s how to fix this.’ ”

And so in 2004, at age 46, Aquilina ran for the Fifty-Fifth District Court in Ingham County and won. She’s been on the bench ever since, having been elected to the county’s higher Thirtieth Circuit Court in 2008. From her first bang of the gavel, she has insisted on hearing from victims, their families, and anyone impacted by the crime “so I can get the full picture to make the best decision,” she says. And she’s always made sure they have a safe space to tell their stories: “When you ask, ‘What would you like me to know?’ it empowers them. They go, ‘Someone’s listening; let me talk now.’”

Aquilina is just as committed to hearing from the offenders and their families. “She was very good at allowing the defense attorneys to walk their cases through, even if they were kind of crazy arguments,” Col. Wojcik remembers, “so if the defendants [lost], they could look their lawyer in the eye and say, ‘Hey, you got to give it your best shot and the judge let me say my piece.’ That goes a long way.”

“In my life or in my courtroom, I don’t want to be put in a box.”

No one was more shocked at the response to the Larry Nassar sentencing than Aquilina. “After it was over, I took a break and went and did four probation violations. I had no idea that the world was exploding,” she says. “I just did what I always do.” In the crush of attention, she heard from other judges who charged, “You are a disgrace,” and, “How dare you behave like this?” for her rebuke of Nassar from the bench. Aquilina doesn’t care: “When I spoke harshly, I did it to deflate all that tenseness in the courtroom where I was afraid people were going to rush him.” The Circuit Court’s Chief Judge Richard Garcia agreed. “Judge Aquilina clearly understood the role of righteous indignation. She also understood the role of the court to have this emotion controlled by the judge rather than allow it to run wild in the community,” he wrote in response to Nassar’s first appeal. “This was a controlled burn.”

Critics have also argued that this victim-centered approach could turn courts into therapy chambers, but Aquilina can’t think of anything more absurd. “If you’re affected by crime, you should be able to tell a judge. It’s the people’s court, it’s our laws, our community. It’s our Constitution,” she says. “If someone doesn’t like what I do, unseat me. It’s that important.”

What’s next? Well, there’s her family. The divorced mom of three had been on the court for a couple of years when she and her partner started talking about another baby. “Our relationship started to fall apart,” she says, “and I said, You know what? I don’t need him—sperm bank! So when I was 52, I did IVF, and I had twins.”

The twins are eight now; they live with Aquilina and her daughter Johanna, 18, in a two-family home shared with her parents. Her two oldest children are grown, but they still all gather for her German schinkenfleckerl and Maltese pastizzi (both recipes from her grandparents). She makes bracelets for her 14 pairs of cowboy boots, takes Bob Ross painting classes “to keep the blood pressure down,” and is finishing her next crime series, All Rise. In this latest opus, the main character’s motto is “Every day is a wedding hairspray day,” which happens to be Aquilina’s motto as well: She spritzes religiously, she says, so “I don’t have a thought or a care about what I look like—I simply focus on the case in front of me.”

And that is what’s next for now. Soon after the Nassar sentencing, she heard the case of a man who had sexually assaulted his 12-year-old daughter. In her victim’s statement Aquilina learned that when his wife kicked him out, he took the family dog. “It was his way of controlling her,” Aquilina says. “So I told him, ‘Sir, I’m ordering restitution: the dog.’” (She also sentenced him to prison time.) “That girl is never going to have her virginity again. But she’ll have her dog—her best friend—and her voice back. That case is just as important as a case with hundreds of women and all the media.”

She’s up for reelection in 2020 and hopes to serve until she retires at age 74. But she plans to live until 120. “That’s my number,” she says. “I keep telling God, I have work to do.”

Liz Brody is an investigative reporter in New York City. If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual assault, get confidential counseling and information on how to report it from RAINN at 800-656-4673.

HAIR: BROOKE ALBERY; MAKEUP: EMILY GRAY; LOCATION: COURTESY OF THE HALL OF JUSTICE, LANSING, MICHIGAN; PRODUCTION: DAVE KRIEGER/MADISON PRODUCTIONS

The Army of Women Who Took Down Larry Nassar

On a bitter, gray Michigan morning in January, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina stood in her office, zipped up her robes over a pair of jeans and cowboy boots, and stepped through the door into Courtroom 5.

Cameras crowded into the snug, carpeted space. News had gotten out that dozens of young women, many of them gymnasts, would be speaking at the sentencing of Larry Nassar, a doctor who’d pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Aquilina, her tousled beehive hairsprayed into obedience, validated one survivor after another: “You are strong”; “you are brave.” “There were so many,” she says now. “You could feel the empowerment. You could feel the rage.” It was hard to look away as the women shared how Nassar violated them in his basement at the age of six, or on the exam table in front of their parents, or at their hotel during the Olympics. Staring him down, they explained to all those who had never listened how this man, like a dirty bomb, had nearly ruined their lives. Yet they decided to rise up. For seven days, 156 survivors spoke, the world reeled, and the case broke history.

What was easy to miss is how it took a chain of extraordinary women to make the world pay attention to this moment and to sexual violence—and to create change so all survivors can get justice.

It Takes One to Come Forward

It’s hard to say when Lawrence Gerard Nassar committed his first crime—women are still reporting their abuse. But what brought him to Aquilina’s courtroom began the afternoon of August 25, 2016, in Rachael Denhollander’s Louisville, Kentucky, kitchen. The 31-year-old mom had given her kids—ages one, two, and four—an audiobook to distract them while she made a phone call. They were too young to understand what she was about to say, but she still didn’t want them to hear. Standing at the sink, she dialed the Michigan State University (MSU) police department and said she wanted to file a delayed report of sexual assault.

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In person Denhollander, a deeply thoughtful Reformed Baptist, is soft-spoken with a light laugh that belies her exacting gaze and determination. “My vagina is dinner conversation for other people,” she says with irony about what has been an excruciating journey. Raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and homeschooled with her two siblings, she started gymnastics for fun. She’d just turned 15 when she told her mom, Camille Moxon, she was having back pain. After overhearing parents at the gym talk about Nassar, the team physician for USA Gymnastics (USAG) who also treated athletes at MSU, Moxon made an appointment. “We walk in and there are poster-size pictures of the ’96 gold-medal team in Atlanta, and the girls have signed them,” she says. “I was dumbfounded.” Denhollander liked him right away.

Over the next several visits, Nassar complimented her long hair and her jeans with the smiley-face patches, chatting with Moxon as she sat in the room. But from the very first exam, out of Moxon’s view and often under a towel, Nassar used two ungloved fingers to penetrate her daughter vaginally and, later, anally, sometimes for up to half an hour. On Denhollander’s fifth visit, Nassar turned her on her side, away from her mother, and groped her breasts. When she saw he had an erection, she realized she was being sexually assaulted. After that, she lied and said her back no longer bothered her.

More than a year later Moxon noticed her teenager stiffening up anytime a man got near her and asked what was wrong. When Denhollander told her what happened, “I was so angry at him and so angry at myself for not protecting my daughter,” says Moxon, “I am still upset.”

Denhollander was 16 by then. “We had the discussion: Do we take this to the police?” she says. “But I knew the reality of how sexual assault survivors are treated, and I knew my voice alone was never going to be enough. Larry was surrounded by very powerful institutions.” Denhollander testified that a year later she did tell someone. She’d gotten a job at a gym, and the coach was about to send one of the young gymnasts to Nassar. Denhollander described how she’d told the coach that the doctor had abused her (“I was quite explicit,” she told Glamour), yet the coach still referred the child. Denhollander was crushed, she said in court: “I couldn’t protect that little girl.”

But she never stopped thinking about her. She got her law degree, and in August 2016 saw an Indianapolis Star exposé of sex abuse among USAG coaches. Denhollander had always suspected there might be others like her, but she didn’t know how to find them; the press might help, and she thought they would want to know about Nassar. After contacting the reporters, she discovered the statute of limitations to file a criminal report had been extended. That’s when she called the police.

It Takes One to Believe

Andrea Munford, a detective sergeant with the MSU police department, met with Denhollander just four days after their first phone call. “She came prepared,” says Munford, 44, a mother of six with decades of experience in victim-centered, offender-focused trauma investigations.

Denhollander brought medical records, the names of potential expert witnesses, contact info for the coach she’d disclosed to. Still, while she found Munford compassionate, she walked out of her office in terror. “I definitely didn’t trust Andrea at that point,” Denhollander says. “I didn’t know if she had the skill and drive to investigate what was a very legally and medically complex case. There was a very real chance I would come forward, and it would be my voice against his.”

Within a day Munford brought Nassar in for questioning. She asked basic but pointed questions; he replied with medical jargon, avoiding any direct answers. “As the interview went on, he started stuttering profusely. He was sweating,” says Munford. “And when he couldn’t explain why he would have an erection during a medical treatment of a 16-year-old girl? There’s no reason someone couldn’t answer that unless they were doing something for sexual gratification.”

Meanwhile, another woman who’d just filed a civil suit against Nassar agreed to talk anonymously to the IndyStar—she would soon identify herself as Olympic gymnast Jamie Dantzscher. The paper published the story on September 12, 2016. There were two voices now.

Then the phones started ringing. “I was surprised there were so many,” says Munford, “and that he’d been doing this for so long without ever getting caught. It was heartbreaking. The other word that comes to mind is fury.”

Despite the number of victims—six quickly grew to 60, then 125—Munford faced an obstacle: Nassar claimed what he did was medical care, an argument that could be plausible to a jury because it was similar to a type of therapy used for pelvic pain. Building a medical case would take time. “Then I got a call from Kyle Stephens,” says Munford. “She wasn’t a patient; she was a friend of the Nassar family. The conversation was very triggering for her, but she was also very determined.” Nassar had started to abuse her at age six in his basement. They could bring charges in this case right away.

Less than a month after her first meeting with Denhollander, Munford and her team searched Nassar’s house. While going through the clutter, one detective noticed Nassar’s trash was still outside; garbage pickup just happened to be late that day. “Throw it on the truck!” Munford called. Inside: hard drives loaded with 37,000 images and videos of child pornography. Subjects as young as infants. Girl after girl being raped. “When I found out,” says Denhollander, “I just stood there and cried.”

The Dream Team

“I absolutely believe there was something that led us to work together,” says Povilaitis, far left, of Munford.

It Takes One to Fight

In Detroit, Angela Povilaitis, then assistant attorney general, was following the local stories about Nassar. Prosecutors often decline to pursue charges for sexual assaults, especially those reported after years have passed. But Povilaitis, 43, a mother of two from a one-stoplight town, was a specialist in these cases and a particularly passionate one at that. So when the MSU police department reached out to see whether the AG’s office might take the case, Povilaitis and her team made the hour-and-a-half drive to East Lansing to meet. When she realized Munford used the same victim-centered, offender-focused trauma investigation approach she practiced, “it was an amazing moment,” says Povilaitis. “I absolutely believe that something led us to work together.”

The two women quickly handed off the child pornography case to federal authorities, who could impose stiffer penalties. Munford and Povilaitis would push forward locally on child sexual abuse charges. In mid-October they flew to Chicago to have lunch with Stephens, at her suggestion in a café in Restoration Hardware. After their meal they wandered showrooms, settling in comfy sectional couches as Stephens told her story. Less than a month later, plainclothesmen arrested Nassar at a local tire store, and Munford took him into custody.

Next Povilaitis and Munford spent time carefully preparing nine survivors to testify and face cross-examination: Stephens, Denhollander, Madeleine Jones, Bailey Lorencen, Annie Labrie, Madison Bonofiglio, Kaylee Lorincz, Jessica Thomashow, and another victim who still hasn’t gone public. All the women were anonymous at the time except Denhollander. “From the start,” says Povilaitis, “Rachael was willing to be the public face so that others did not have to.” But the women themselves still hadn’t met; they had to be kept separated to avoid any suspicion that they had conspired together. “Being in complete isolation was really hard,” says Denhollander. “I knew how tough it would be for these girls to testify because it was terrifying for me. I ached so much for them, and I couldn’t even know their names.”

Stephens went first. Povilaitis had tried to keep her testimony closed to the press, but that morning a lowercourt judge (the case hadn’t been assigned to Aquilina yet) granted Nassar’s request to let reporters in as long as they shielded Stephens’ identity. “Larry was just trying to mess with her head,” says Denhollander, “but she did awesome!” When Denhollander’s day came to take the stand, she told Povilaitis to let the cameras in. “I hated the idea of an open courtroom,” she says, “but it was very important to make it as clear as possible to Larry Nassar that he was not in control anymore—and that we were coming out swinging.”

Meanwhile, Munford kept interviewing survivors. The picture that emerged was damning: Like Denhollander, these girls had told someone about the abuse. In 1997 Larissa Boyce reported Nassar to MSU’s women’s gymnastics coach Kathie Klages (who is now facing trial on criminal charges of lying to investigators), according to testimony. In 2000 Tiffany Thomas Lopez notified MSU personnel, only to be blown off, according to her lawsuit. In 2004 Brianne Randall filed a police report in nearby Meridian Township that went nowhere. In 2014 Amanda Thomashow filed a Title IX complaint, but no wrongdoing was found. In 2015 three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman told an investigator working for USAG that Nassar had abused her. (USAG president Steve Penny invoked the Fifth when questioned at a U.S. Senate hearing and has resigned.) “A lot of people, including myself, have been speaking out for years and years and years, and people just weren’t listening,” says Raisman, 23. “After I spoke up, Larry Nassar continued to abuse gymnasts because USAG didn’t handle it correctly. That’s unacceptable.”

Povilaitis knew what she was up against. “More than 2,000 people voted for Nassar for school board knowing he was under investigation; prestigious members of the gymnastics community volunteered to be character witnesses for him,” she says. “This was not a slam dunk in the least.”

When Aquilina was assigned to the case in the spring of 2017, she was concerned about conducting a fair trial for both sides. To get an impartial jury, she planned for a pool of 800. She also issued two gag orders, the first for attorneys and the second for anyone who might be a victim or witness. “The girls were not happy with me!” Aquilina says with a laugh now. Denhollander sued to get the second gag order lifted (a federal judge ruled in her favor and it was modified). Then, to everyone’s surprise, days before jury selection was to start, Nassar indicated he’d accept a plea deal.

Pivoting from trial preparation, Povilaitis worked out an agreement that offered a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years for seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. Then she added one thing to the deal: a stipulation that all survivors—including the 125 who’d already filed criminal reports and those who were still coming forward—and their loved ones, could deliver impact statements: She wanted to make sure that, after being silenced for so long, the women would finally be heard. Michigan law allows victims to give information to the sentencing court, but, says Jennifer Long, founder of AEquitas, a nonprofit that trains prosecutors to fight sexual violence, “it’s fortunate there was a stipulation explicitly allowing all of these victims to talk and essentially prevent Nassar from lodging any valid objection.” Aquilina didn’t hesitate when she saw the agreement. In her 14 years on the bench, she has made it a cornerstone of her judicial philosophy to let victims, defendants, and their friends and families speak. The Nassar case would be no different.

The night before the sentencing, the survivors finally met one another for the first time, in a local community center with pizza and cupcakes. First to arrive was Donna Markham. Her daughter Chelsey had been abused by Nassar at age 12. After that, the little girl with a stunning smile turned into a teen with severe depression, spiraled into drug abuse, and took her own life at age 23. Another survivor arrived and comforted Markham. (“We just melded,” she says.) The place filled up with hugs and tears. “The biggest thing for me,” says Denhollander, “was the sobering reality of walking into this huge room full of sexual assault survivors who did not have to be there.”

But there was a sense of hope too: A few weeks earlier Nassar had been sentenced to 60 years in federal court on child pornography charges. And advocates working with the team had painted worry stones with words like strength and brave for the survivors to carry into court the next day. Denhollander chose a stone that said “truth.” Larissa Boyce snatched two, one for each hand. “We were just so happy to see we weren’t alone,” she says.

Aly-final-cover.jpg
It Takes One to Start a Movement

At the sentencing, Stephens, shedding her anonymity, was the first to speak; Denhollander, five months pregnant, was the last. In between, over seven days, more than 150 survivors gave their statements. Raisman had planned to watch from New York City, feeling it was too traumatic for her to come. “Then I saw Kyle Stephens say: ‘Little girls grow into strong women that return to destroy your world,’” says the Olympian, “and in that moment it became clear to me that I wasn’t alone. And I knew I had to be there.” The next day she flew to Lansing.

Raisman still feels enraged when she thinks of all the young women in that packed room. “It’s just devastating that we all trusted him because he was the United States Olympic doctor and we thought he really cared for us,” she says. “And it’s devastating that so many people let us down.”

During the proceedings Aquilina asked Nassar whether he wanted to withdraw his plea deal. When he declined, silenced at last, she sentenced him to 40 to 175 years. “There were so many feelings in that courtroom,” says Aquilina. “I felt the anger and the angst. But I could also see girls hugging and helping each other, suddenly a family.”

Portrait of Strength

Eighty-four survivors came together at Michigan’s Supreme Court Building, also known as the Hall of Justice.

It Takes an Army to Change the Culture

Nassar is still appealing, but in all likelihood he’s lost his freedom, his dignity, his family (his wife has divorced him). And the ripple effects of the women’s courage that day have turned into a tidal wave. In Eaton County, where Judge Janice Cunningham sentenced Nassar to another 40 to 125 years, 64 more survivors spoke out. The presidents of MSU, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and USAG have all been forced out. The U.S. House and Senate are conducting inquiries into all three institutions. The Department of Justice is reportedly investigating the FBI for its lethargic response. And MSU has agreed to a $500 million settlement for the survivors.

The Sister Army has pushed for legislation including some 40 bills in Michigan and a new federal law that expands the statute of limitations to report sexual abuse to 10 years from when a survivor identifies it (formerly, the clock started when the abuse occurred), and requires athletic organizations to develop clear procedures to prevent, report, and respond to sexual assault. The survivors helped other women come forward and face their abuse too: Following the case, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network saw a 46 percent increase in calls to its National Sexual Assault Hotline.

Privately many of the “sisters” are still in pain; deep trauma doesn’t just disappear. Larissa Boyce, now 38, and Amanda Thomashow, 29, struggle with having been called liars for so long. “It’s years of convincing yourself that you were wrong,” says Thomashow. “You feel dirty, like you were the one who turned this completely platonic event into something sexualized.” National champion Jessica Howard, 34, is still reeling from “the volcano of buried emotions that erupted” after coming forward that nearly caused her to take her own life. “My treatment is ongoing,” she says. Raisman, who has competed under unimaginable pressure, has suffered after speaking publicly about this issue: “It takes everything out of me—I’m exhausted, and it takes weeks to recover,” she says. “But we need answers in order to change. The first reported abuse was in 1997. A lot of people knew about it and did nothing. We still need a full investigation to find out why.” As Amy Klepal, 24, puts it: “If one adult, just one, had acted, this horrific tragedy would never have happened.”

To that end, Raisman is partnering with Darkness to Light to teach the public how to recognize the signs of sexual abuse. Grace French, 23, has started Army of Survivors (60 women are on board so far) to provide resources, advocacy, and education about how to spot and report abuse. Thomashow now works at the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board as a campus response coordinator. Povilaitis and Munford have taken full-time positions to train police and prosecutors to use their winning approach. Denhollander, a full-time activist, named her fourth child Elora Renee Joy, after Munford’s middle name Renee. The detective was somewhat overwhelmed by the gesture. “But after the trauma all these girls have been through and here comes this baby?” she says. “What better sign of hope!”

In other words, the Sister Army is marching forward. “We will not be quiet anymore,” says Melissa Hudecz, 33. “We have found our voices.” Aquilina can only marvel: “I don’t think anybody could have anticipated all of this, but it’s really a tribute to the courage of these brave girls, to their sharing the horrific things that happened to them with the world, to their saying: ‘No more, we’re speaking out. We’ve grown up. We matter. We’re a force.’”

Liz Brody is an investigative reporter in New York City. If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual assault, get confidential counseling and information on how to report it from RAINN at 800-656-4673.

Images by Jason Schmidt and 16 photos courtesy of subject. GALLERY REPORTING BY SAMANTHA LEACH. Creative Direction by Nathalie Kirsheh. Art Direction and Development by Aimee Sy and Alexander Ratner. HAIR: BROOKE ALBERY; MAKEUP: EMILY GRAY; LOCATION: COURTESY OF THE HALL OF JUSTICE, LANSING, MICHIGAN; PRODUCTION: DAVE KRIEGER/MADISON PRODUCTIONS; ALY RAISMAN: STYLIST: AMY HOU; HAIR AND MAKEUP: MARY GUTHRIE AT ABTP.

How Much Freedom Outlander’s Cast Has When It Comes To Those Sex Scenes

Outlander is known for many things after three full seasons, and one of those things is the steamy sex scenes. Jamie and Claire have one of the most passionate romances on television, and Outlander airing on Starz means that a whole lot of skin can be shown. While the love scenes between Claire and Jamie come across as rough-and-tumble — sometimes literally — they were obviously scripted for Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan to act out. Balfe recently weighed in on how much freedom the cast has for sex scenes:

When it comes to sex out Outlander — which Caitriona Balfe has said is some of the best on TV for a fun reason — the actors do what’s on the page, and it’s definitely not improv. The good news is that Balfe was clear in her chat with EW that there are chats between the cast and producers when it comes to sex scenes, so the actors aren’t just thrown into a scene with a coworker and no questions asked.

That’s very good news for Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, whose characters have hit the sheets (and pretty much any flat surface whenever the mood struck them) a great many times over the years on the show. Even if Starz hasn’t necessarily gone the HBO route of changing how sex scenes are filmed, it sounds like they’re handled in a way that can keep everybody as comfortable as possible. A tight script and discussions so everybody knows what to do and no do can only be a good thing.

Season 3 proved that age and distance did nothing to put out the flames between Claire and Jamie, and there were plenty of intimate scenes after the two reunited. Footage from Season 4 indicates that more is on the way, even if one famous sex scene from the fourth novel in the Outlander book series will have to be changed. Hey, these two lovebirds need to christen their new world some way, and they might not have the time or inclination for such shenanigans once trouble starts brewing.

Now, as much as the Outlander sex scenes get talked about, the show is not all about sex. The characters goes through complex journeys, and the 18th century really isn’t all that amorous all the time. Caitriona Balfe said this about the purpose of sex scenes on Outlander:

On Outlander, the sex scenes can range from steamy to silly to just about everything in between, and that has everything to do with the story. Jaime and Claire were different together after their long separation than they were before Culloden, and that was shown in the bedroom as well as in all their other actions. Luckily, Caitriona Balfe’s comments indicate that there’s still a lot of thought going into Outlander sex scenes, so there should be meaning to them in Season 4 and beyond.

Season 4 of Outlander premieres on Sunday, November 4 at 8 p.m. ET on Starz. If you’re not up on everybody who will be on board for the new episodes, check out our rundown of the finalized cast for the fourth season.

WSJ Readers On Their Most Regrettable Fashion Buys

WSJ Readers On Their Most Regrettable Fashion Buys
Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anita Salerno

Recently, we offered readers a chance to win this custom-embroidered and patch-adorned vintage Levi’s jacket. All they had to do was tell us, in 100 words or less, about their most regrettable fashion purchase. We received hundreds of entries confessing all manner of fashion mishaps. Some common themes: too-small shoes that refused to stretch, hopelessly uncomfortable “parachute pants,” clothing that proved droopy at inopportune moments—and the particular misery involved in wearing the unflattering color orange. Here is the winning entry, a story that stood out for its ability to combine pathos with the word “go-go,” plus the top runners-up and honorable mentions.

The Winning Entry

“It was the 1960s and my pathetic life was not worth living without my own white go-go boots. As a fashion choice, they were as practical and attractive as the miniskirts they went with. I had to have them. I spent my babysitting money on the cheapest pair available. Never mind that the soles were made of cardboard and that we lived in Oregon. Where it rains. The boots lasted three days. Then the soles deteriorated and mold set in. I wore them until they smelled so bad my mother made me throw them out. I still miss them.”

Runners-Up

“I purchased a wide-brimmed hat, such as the one Audrey Hepburn wore in a scene from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I thought it completed my resemblance to the star. However, I am only 5’ tall and the hat was overbearing. As I walked into my office, my assistant said I looked like a mushroom.”

“Crocs. I buy them. I wear them. I get shamed. I donate them. I miss them. I buy again. REPEAT.”

“I was a third-grade teacher and, in the 1980s, I purchased a green cotton shirtwaist dress. When I wore it to school, I noticed that many staff members and students were saluting me when they passed by me. Later in the day, they said that they thought I was wearing a Girl Scout uniform. I never wore it again.”

Honorable Mentions

“I once bought a pith helmet to wear in the hot sun for a summer of baseball games. I became ‘that guy’ as no one was wearing anything remotely like it. and people wanted to hear my British accent.”

“In high school, I wore fishnet tights in nearly every color of the rainbow. It gets better—I wore tube socks over the fishnets with stripes the same color as the tights. On really special days, I put a fake flower in my red hair that matched the tights and stripes.”

“A pair of black-and-white jeans. One leg was black and the other was white and I looked like an absolute idiot with two different colored legs running around in high school.”

“Working with a group of lawyers over a few weeks in the ‘80s, I noted that they all wore suspenders. Neat, I thought, but I was severely ridiculed for wearing both belt and suspenders. Needless to say, this engineer went back to just the belt.”

“1976. Not one but two leisure suits. One with actual rope for piping and the other with fake leather piping. What was I thinking? Oh wait, I was 18. I wasn’t! Leisure suits were ugly then and would still be ugly today. Guess that’s why I wear a real shirt and tie every day. Trying to make up for the 1970s.”

“I still cringe when I think about the year of middle school when I wore bright orange bowling shoes every day, but I miss my blissful ignorance of style. Now I spend too much time analyzing what an item of clothing says about me instead of how it makes me feel.”

“Asking my wife Melanie E. Royce, M.D., Ph. D.—an always impeccably attired, beautiful lady—what her biggest-ever fashion mistake was. I quickly got a one word answer: ‘You.’ She refused to say why.”

“Thirty years ago in San Antonio, I purchased the ‘last’ pair of Lucchese Anteater boots for $900. They were one size too small and torturous to wear. I could not get them enlarged for any amount of patience. I wouldn’t have bought them if the guy hadn’t told me they were the last pair I would ever find since the anteater had been put on the endangered list.”

“Anything and everything black, I look like I should be holding calla lilies in a coffin.”

“In the 90s, I bought a belt from G-Star. Its belt buckle was a replica of an airline-seat buckle. My friends fell down laughing when they saw it. Bad choice.”

“Calvin Klein parachute material, drawstring, three-quarter-length cargo pants. I thought they would be light and comfortable for relaxing weekend activities while providing lots of pockets to carry essentials. I ended-up carrying so much in the handy pockets, the pants always dropped no matter how tight I tied the drawstring. When I hit the hiking trails I was a frumpy and lumpy, instead of a chic nature navigator.”

“A red Valentino dress with feathers, 40 years ago. I felt like a rooster.”

“Blaze orange fall Ralph Lauren jacket…I looked like I was moonlighting for the Illinois Tollway Authority.”

“In the late ’80s, I spent a week’s pay on a glorious, white, full-length sweater coat. It had monster shoulder pads and a fierce hand-painted lion that prowled from the top of the shoulder to the hem. I was a wimp and just could not wear it. I gave it to a friend and regretted it for years.”

“One time I bought a completely basic T-shirt with black and white stripes that every person owns. I immediately regretted it because I love being different and having my own style. Buying that shirt just made me feel like I was as bland as everyone else.”

“Cowboy boots with a speedo. Drop the mic.

“A prom dress that had a hoop underneath. It was so hard to sit down or go to the bathroom in it.”

“I grew up in a hardscrabble New England mill town in the ’60s and ’70s. Despite that fact, I somehow saw myself as a fashionista without knowing what that heck that meant. As a grade-school boy, I wanted white banana bell bottoms. Way ahead of my time. Only the girls’ department sold them. My mom nevertheless enthusiastically embraced my purchase. Those pants were horrific, particularly when matched with a green, faux-Roman medallion.”

“A pair of red leather pants purchased at a shop on Rodeo Drive in the ’80s. Regrettable for who I was with when I bought them: the boss’s wife (a conservative religious woman). I felt she always looked askance at me at office events for the next 20 years. It made the joy of an exciting splurge feel like something I should hide. Haven’t worn the pants in years, but I still have them tucked in my closet.”

“A strapless, flaming red, lettuce-edged Stephen Burrows evening gown in the late-1970s. I didn’t regret the dress itself, but the way i bought it. My friend and I, starving junior Capitol Hill staffers, were invited to two White House Christmas receptions three nights apart, so we shared the cost of the dress, hoping to amortize the expense over the next five years. We were knockouts! But when my friend (second in the rotation) had it dry-cleaned for a spot of Champagne—ignoring the ‘Do Not Dry Clean’ tag. It came back to us at least two sizes too small. Neither of us could ever wear it again.”

“In my early 20s, I bought (and wore and wore) a rabbit-fur jacket that—with its generous hood and dangling fur pompons—made me feel like a retro-glam, mid-aughts Sonja Henie. The problem was that it was slowly shedding to death, and every time I slid off, say, some dark car upholstery, I left a ghostly silhouette in rabbit fur. Eventually I had to give up the coat, by this point named “Thumper,” when I began leaving Pigpen-style motes of rabbit hair wherever I went. Not long thereafter, I became a vegetarian.”

“A pair of casual pants with a Velcro fly opening.The first time I went to the men’s room, they opened with a ripping noise. Still have them, but only wear them around the house.”

“Without question, it was wearing a polo shirt inside another polo shirt in the mid-80s at college. The look was to match the color of the outside shirt’s logo with the inside shirt. What resulted was a cluster of too many collars fighting with too many colors!”

“These ridiculous, sequined, leopard-print, high-top Converse sneakers, a whole size bigger than what I normally wore, when I was a senior in high school. I thought they were ’so cool’ and that I would wear them all the time. I wore them once for an event and it looked like I had bedazzled clown feet. I never wore them again.”

“Well, I’m an Episcopal priest, and, as you may know, we Episcopalians like liturgical tradition and all of the fine fabrics that are used to construct the various ‘outfits.’ The cassock and surplice are the basic ‘ecclesiastically hip’ combo that is worn for fundamental priestly functions. When I was in Rome several years ago, I went into one of the hottest clergy-clothing stores to look around, and spotted a biretta! A biretta is a stiff, four-cornered hat, topped with a big, fluffy tassel, that can be worn with a cassock and surplice! Mistake! I looked like an eraser!”

“I bought an evening gown from a secondhand couture website. It looked so interesting and elegant, but turned out to be complicated and confusing with cutout sides and fabric twisted in the middle. It was like solving a Rubik’s Cube and I could never figure out how to wear it. It’s in the box of ’possible Halloween costumes’ in my attic.”

“I bought a very conservative navy blazer from Brooks Brothers and wore it to the office with khaki pants and a white collared shirt. Everyone asked me what activities I had planned for the cruise! Yes, I looked like a cruise director on ‘The Love Boat.’ ”

“A pair of nearly knee-high, lace-up Frye granny boots. I was 8 or 9, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ was the rage and Laura Ingalls Wilder did not have better prairie boots. Neither did Nellie Oleson. I tantrumed and cried to get this last pair, the Holy Grail of boots, savored them in the box, smelled their leather. But the shoes that I claimed would fit like a glove were both left feet.”

“More of a regrettable fashion decision than a regrettable purchase, but here goes: In 1978, on the first day of seventh grade at a new school, I figured that wearing a pair of light blue ski pants just made sense. Mirrored sunglasses, a black turtleneck (tucked under the bib and suspenders, of course), and a pair of Pumas completed the look. I still remember getting a ‘have a good day at school’ kiss from my mom and the swish-swish-swish sound of the nylon as I walked to the bus. It quickly went downhill from there.”

“A bright red, pleather, fake Prada purse from a street vendor in Chinatown on my eighth-grade school field trip to New York. The label was slightly crooked, but I remember walking down the sidewalk that afternoon with it slung casually on my shoulder, thinking strangers might mistake me for a model. I had braces and was likely wearing tennis shoes and jeans.”

“I custom-ordered a black tulle tutu skirt from Etsy . I was very excited but I looked like an oversize broom. I wore it twice for Halloween.”

“It was actually an outfit I sewed in high school. I made velvet rust-colored knickers with a matching vest and hat. The vest was lined with floral fabric. I must say I was quite proud of my sewing ability. I thought I looked mighty spiffy (this was in the ’70s) until I wore it to school. I earned the nickname Captain Smiff and the students even made up a song to go with my new nickname.”

“I interviewed for a senior executive position on an (all-male) management team. They flew me to an eastern resort to meet the entire team and determine ‘fit.’ The event was characterized as a dinner, but the invitation said something like ‘Gentlemen, wear jackets.’ Thinking they meant dinner jackets, I purchased a 3-piece, $2,000 St. John’s outfit —professional yet suitable for a formal dinner. When I showed up, dinner was a casual clambake-style roast on a very cold beach (the men wore winter jackets). Needless to say I was way overdressed.”

How ’90s Clothing Brands Are Using Retro Designs to Entice Millennials

Earlier this year, Tommy Hilfiger collaborated with New York streetwear store Kith on a collection of reissued retro designs.
Earlier this year, Tommy Hilfiger collaborated with New York streetwear store Kith on a collection of reissued retro designs.

THOUGH HE’S ONLY 21, Dom Hadley owns nearly 30 pieces of vintage Tommy Hilfiger clothing, a collection he’s cultivated over the past four years. Yet many designs from the brad’s ’80s and ’90s heyday have eluded the college student from Liverpool, who also runs a YouTube channel dedicated to vintage clothes. So the news, this past August, that Tommy Hilfiger was reissuing certain iconic styles in partnership with New York streetwear store Kith thrilled Mr. Hadley. “That collaboration is just crazy because some of the pieces [Mr. Hilfiger and Kith owner Ronnie Fieg] chose for the collaboration, they’re all like the rarest vintage pieces,” said Mr. Hadley, who bought a zip-necked rugby shirt from the collection during a trip to Manhattan.

Increasingly, the vintage styles sought by young men like Mr. Hadley are reappearing on racks. Brands like Nautica, Ralph Lauren and Guess Jeans have all reissued, in one form or another, archival designs of the 1980s and ’90s, and this month, Perry Ellis jumped on board with a limited collection of retro re-releases, the original designs tweaked only slightly. Perry Ellis designer Michael Maccari reports that when he and his team “were looking back at the archive,” the younger staffers said they would wear the color-blocked cropped anoraks and bomber jackets that defined the brand’s pre-2000 heyday. These ’90s looks have come full circle, embraced by a generation of vintage-minded millennials that missed them the first time around.

Perry Ellis is one of many brands who have recently released archival clothing collections.
Perry Ellis is one of many brands who have recently released archival clothing collections.

Patrick Buhse, 27, the marketing manager of a Harley Davidson showroom on Long Island, called these buyers a “movement.” Inspired by photos he’d seen online of Snoop Dogg and Michael Jackson wearing Tommy Hilfiger in the ’90s, Mr. Buhse himself bought basketball sneakers and a long-sleeved polo from the Kith collection. For older millennials, this thirst for retro designs is wistful: “As a kid who grew up in the ‘90s, [the Kith collection] brought back a little nostalgia [for] my first bottle of cologne by none other than Tommy Hilfiger,” wrote Reagan Lee, 35, a web designer in Sydney, over email.

Given the graphic impact of much of the clothing, this nostalgia trip is gaining speed on visuals-happy social media platforms. A Guess T-shirt noisily striped in red and white or a Perry Ellis pullover slapped with a neon-green logo assert a loud aesthetic that stands out in the age of constant documentation. “Instagram is now the most important visual medium for fashion and as a result the industry has honed in on streetwear’s graphics and logos as transmittable memes, seeing a huge revival in 90s logomania,” reads a report (due to be published in November) by Lyst, a website that tracks search activity of fashion brands across the internet. Lyst reported that searches for Tommy Hilfiger jumped up 34% year-on-year, Fila searches soared 202% year-on-year and searches for Gap and Nautica have begun to rise since July. Searches for Perry Ellis are flat, but its new archive collection could move the needle.

Fila’s conspicuous shoes, like the “Disruptor II,” a lumbering lugged-sole sneaker from the ’90s that was reissued in 2016, have allowed the brand to introduce itself to a much younger consumer, according to Mark Eggert, the SVP of footwear at Fila North America, who said the brand wants to offer a unique look, “especially with the advent of social media.”

Some of this social media buzz is organic, but often it is orchestrated. Armaand Mangat, 26, who helps manage his family’s chain of gas stations in Ashburn, Va., first saw the Tommy Hilfiger Kith collection in an Instagram photo posted by 33-year-old racecar driver and Tommy Hilfiger spokesperson Lewis Hamilton. “They’re working with the right influencers,” said Mr. Mangat, who subsequently purchased a T-shirt from the hyped-up reissue collection.

In partnering with popular rapper A$AP Rocky, Guess gave a millennial-minded marketing hook to its retro-tinged collection.
In partnering with popular rapper A$AP Rocky, Guess gave a millennial-minded marketing hook to its retro-tinged collection.

If Lyst’s data is any indication, Fila has benefited from persuading top models with big Instagram followings such as Kendall Jenner, Romee Strijd and Emily Ratajkowski to wear its shoes. “We recognize that [Instagram] is where the kid is–that’s where they’re getting their information, they’re on the phone–so it was very critical for us to be there,” said Mr. Eggert. Similarly, Guess Jeans and Nautica have recently partnered with popular rappers A$AP Rocky and Lil Yachty (the self-professed “King of the Teens”) respectively on limited, vintage-tinged collections. “I didn’t know what Nautica was until Lil Yachty,” admitted Mr. Hadley, the Liverpool student. Today, he counts it, along with Guess, among his favorite brands.

For the launch of its retro collection, Perry Ellis partnered with Hypebeast, the popular streetwear site, for a series of ads and sponsored posts. The decision to market it with the site was “natural,” said designer Mr. Maccari. “You think about the young kids on my team, these are the places they look. They look to Instagram, they look to Hypebeast.” What’s old is new again, as long as you can find it on your iPhone.

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Write to Jacob Gallagher at Jacob.Gallagher@wsj.com