In Promising Young Woman, Cassie’s T-Shirt Has A Clever Hidden Meaning – And You Can Shop It Now

The T-shirt is a collaboration between designer Coco Fennell (sister of the film’s director, Emerald) and artist Ceal Warnants.

carey mulligan promising young woman t-shirt coco fennell

by Olivia Jordan Cornelius |
Updated on

A T-shirt can tell us a lot about the person wearing it. In film it can paint an immediate, colourful backstory, ground a character in our reality (or a different one), help us to like or dislike them. We can find an allegiance with a character because they listen to the same bands as us, or support the same sports team. It’s a handy visual shorthand. In A Star is Bornpre-fame Ally (Lady Gaga) looks like she shopped for her graphic tees at Urban Outfitters - so relatable. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was an instant indie heartthrob with his rotation of Joy Division classics in 500 Days Of Summer - I get that. Regina George’s ‘A little bit dramatic’ emblazoned tee in Mean Girls - we know immediately who she is.

Done well, a movie T-shirt can become iconic. We only see a flash of Ariel’s ‘Dance Your Ass Off’ tee in Footloose, but those few seconds have spawned thousands of replicas. Remember when the ‘Vote for Pedro’ T-shirts from Napoleon Dynamite were a big thing? They’ve got their own entry on, and they made a resurgence in protest against Trump.

I’ve fallen head over heels for a deer and rainbow print baseball tee worn by Cassie (Carey Mulligan) in the brilliant Promising Young Woman - so much so, I spent two months tracking it down (which, in fandom terms, is nothing really; I once flew across the world to attend a Buffy the Vampire Slayer convention). On her mission to avenge the fate of her friend Nina, like Buffy, Cassie’s daytime wardrobe of bubblegum pinks, florals and pop prints hide her after-dark bite.


BUY: The Promising Young Woman T-Shirt

Coco Fennell x Ceal Warnants, Baseball T-Shirt, £651 of 1

Coco Fennell x Ceal Warnants, Baseball T-Shirt, £65

The T-shirt is a collaboration between designer Coco Fennell(sister of the film’s director, Emerald) and artist Ceal Warnants. As Coco says, “At first glance the illustration looks like it’s from a 1950’s children’s book - then you look closer and the child has a gun on their back and the deer is bleeding. I think it echoes Cassie’s character - sweet and harmless but when you look closer she has a darker side.” There in a T-shirt, the mastery of Cassie is summed up. Be aware, look closer, never underestimate a woman - certainly not because she has a sweet wardrobe. We are complicated, nuanced and we never are, nor have to be, just one thing.

Considering the ease of a T-shirt, it’s no surprise that they transition easily from on-screen to off in a way that other parts of a costume can’t (nobody wants to look like they’re in fancy dress). For a film fan, wearing a character’s tee is like being part of a secret society. I’ve certainly nodded at a few Sunnydale High Buffy tees I’ve passed in the street. With the success of Promising Young Woman fizzing, I expect our 2021 closets will become a touch more Cassie. The deer tee is already taking centre stage in mine, I’ll look out for you wearing yours.


SEE: The Best Movie T-Shirts Of All Time

Napoleon Dynamite - Vote for Pedro1 of 7

Napoleon Dynamite - Vote for Pedro

Move over Comic Sans, Cooper Black was the only font to be seen wearing in the early 2000's. An iconic movie T-shirt, that still makes an appearance every election cycle.

A Star Is Born - Eagle and arrow2 of 7

A Star Is Born - Eagle and arrow

In a pivotal moment in A Star is Born, Ally wears this tee when she joins Jackson on stage to perform 'Shallow'. Knotted to a crop, perfectly rock and roll.

Adventureland - Rides3 of 7

Adventureland - Rides

The work may be low grade but the employee T-shirts at Adventureland amusement park score high. Arguably the cooler sibling to the famous Games t-shirt, worn by those who work in the rollercoaster part of the complex.

Ghost World - Raptor4 of 7

Ghost World - Raptor

A T-shirt to match Enid's deadpan spirit - a very extinct dinosaur. Teamed with grunge green plaid and angsty blue hair in the film's poster.

Sex and the City 2 - Ju2019Adore Dior5 of 7

Sex and the City 2 - J’Adore Dior

One expensive ripped neckline. Distinctively John Galliano Dior, paired with a ball gown skirt for an 'it can only be Carrie Bradshaw' look.

Footloose - Dance your ass off6 of 7

Footloose - Dance your ass off

In a city hall meeting to discuss the decency of dancing, Ariel flashes this tee at Ren (a young Kevin Bacon). Three seconds created an iconic slogan, that's still setting Etsy ablaze over 30 years later.

Mean Girls - A little bit dramatic7 of 7

Mean Girls - A little bit dramatic

Regina George, the ultimate teen queen known for her sharp one-liners - though in this case it's her T-shirt doing the talking. Says it all really.

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