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Checkered Vans and Ray-Bans: When movies influence fashion

The black-and-white checkered Vans Sean Penn wore in
The black-and-white checkered Vans Sean Penn wore inEverett Collection

James Van Doren, the man who designed the classic Vans shoes that Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli wore in 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," died Oct. 12, and the news started us thinking about how movie fashions often seep off the screen and into our closets.

As the Hollywood Reporter notes in Van Doren's obit, Vans were already popular when "Fast Times" came out. Skateboarders loved them because they helped them get a good grip on the board. But the shoes, especially the black-and-white checked ones Penn wears in the movie, blew up after the rest of the world saw them. Recently we've even seen toddler versions.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers had their own publicity surge after Tom Cruise wore them in 1983's "Risky Business," and knockoffs are still sold as "Risky Business" shades today. 1977's "Annie Hall" inspired women to layer blazers over vests, skirts and boots. (The costumer on "Annie Hall" didn't agree, reportedly telling Woody Allen he had to make Diane Keaton dress differently.)

1999's "The Matrix" also was a fashion inspiration, from Neo's swirling black coat to Morpheus' sunglasses that lacked earpieces, though not every moviegoer could pull off Trinity's skintight catsuit.

Not all memorable movie fashions are those you want to imitate, of course. Even if you admired Molly Ringwald's Andie in "Pretty in Pink" for her sense of thrift-store DIY style, we've yet to meet anyone who wanted to wear the prom dress she whipped up.

Are you a fan of Vans? What about Ray-Ban Wayfarers? What other movie fashions do you remember leaping off the big screen and into America's closets?

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