Clueless Imagery

Youth culture

The movie is unequivocally geared towards teenagers, and uses many images to situate the viewer at a fast-paced, posh Beverly Hills high school. The setting, a beautiful, well-funded public high school, locates the viewer in a quintessential 90s teen environment. Druggies sit on the grass and skateboard instead of going to class, popular girls primp and wear flamboyant clothing to class, teachers are broadly comic and awkward, and parties in the valley are smoky and sprawling. From the opening montage, which Cher jokingly refers to as a "Noxzema commercial," we are transported into a youthful and energetic world, one which doesn't take itself too seriously, an environment which is protected and fun.

90s Music

The soundtrack is full of classic 90s music, which situate the viewer in the era in which it is set. The opening song is the energetic song "Kids in America," which broadcasts the youthful vibe of the film. Later, during Tai's makeover, the song "Supermodel" plays, which has a distinctly 90s production and singing style. Music is also what differentiates Cher from Josh, as when she hears him listening to "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead, she laments, "Yuck! The maudlin music of the university station? What is it about college and crybaby music?" In criticizing Josh's indie proclivities, Cher establishes herself as popular and mainstream. At the party hosted by friends of Josh, the 90s band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones play, and we see the band play their bright youthful ska. Later, when Cher walks around Rodeo Drive, despondent about her recent failures, a maudlin version of the song "All by Myself" plays, at once emotional and comically over-the-top.

Designer clothes and bold fashion choices

The costumes in the film are consistently eye-catching and reflect Tai and the other Beverly Hills high schoolers' investment in fashion. Dionne's hats are over the top and dramatic, and she wears a nose ring, which Cher comically advises her to take out when she has allergies. Cher's closet is seemingly bottomless, filled with Calvin Kleins and Alaias. Cher's yellow plaid skirt suit is an iconic film costume, often cited as exemplary of 90s California teen fashion. Shopping and new outfits are essential for Cher. The movie's use of truly impressive and distinctive fashion helps make the story all the more vivid.

Allusions to the film Gigi

The film makes two references to the movie musical Gigi. First, when Cher descends the grand staircase in her house in the white Calvin Klein dress, the score from the classic Leslie Caron film plays. This moment alludes to a moment in Gigi in which the titular character also wears a white dress. Later, the shot in which Cher realizes she is in love with Josh, standing in front of the gaudy fountain in her driveway, is a reference to Gigi as well. In Gigi, the character Gaston has a similar realization standing in front of a fountain just as it begins to run with water.