Jennifer Beals Still Has Her Iconic ‘Flashdance’ Sweatshirt — “It’s in Storage Somewhere”

Elizabeth Randolph - Author
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Apr. 14 2023, Published 5:50 p.m. ET

On April 15, 1983, Flashdance, starring Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, and Cynthia Rhodes, debuted in theatres.

Flashdance stars Jennifer as Alex Owens, making her dreams come true when she reaches her pinnacle of success: an audition with the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance. After she danced for her life to Irene Cara’s Oscar-winning song, “What a Feeling,” playing in the background, Alex was accepted into the conservatory (spoiler!).

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Flashdance’s message wasn’t the only thing contributing to its $201.5 million box-office earnings. Once the movie aired, Jennifer became a fashion icon thanks to her character’s leg warmers and leotards, and who could forget that oversized sweatshirt?

As we celebrate Flashdance’s 40th anniversary, let’s look back at the movie’s iconic fashion and what Jennifer has said about it all these years later.

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Jennifer Beals’s everyday style and fashion inspired ‘Flashdance’s’ looks.

Even if you haven’t seen Flashdance all the way through, one image likely comes to mind: Alex sitting in her living room wearing an oversized gray sweatshirt hanging off her shoulders. The character also has her hair in a messy half-up, half-down hairdo, a hint of red lipstick, and a bright red pair of stiletto pumps.

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The sweatshirt was part of a pivotal scene between Alex and her love interest, Nick (Michael Nouri). Years after the moment aired, Jennifer told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show in October 2022 that she didn’t expect her sweatshirt look in Flashdance to be the movie legend it has now become.

She shared on the show that Alex’s look was a “fashion accident” involving one of her personal sweaters.

“It was based on a fashion accident,” Jennifer said. “I had my favorite sweatshirt in high school, and I put it in the dryer for too long and at really high heat. So the neck part shrunk, and I couldn't get my head through it, so I just cut out the hole.”

“And I wore it to a wardrobe fitting for Flashdance, and Adrian Lyne, the director, really loved it, and Michael Caplan, the costume designer, loved it,” she added. “So he made a much better version for the film.”

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While Jennifer’s statement piece was unintentional, the Book of Bobba Fett star said she still has the sweatshirt today. When Jimmy asked her about the piece, she said she had it, plus Alex’s adorable military jacket, “in storage somewhere.” NBD!

Everyone wanted to look like Jennifer Beals’s Alex Owens after ‘Flashdance’ debuted.

Before Flashdance, Jennifer only had one professional acting role in the 1980s, My Bodyguard. The uncredited role was the South Side Chicago native’s first taste of Hollywood, though she couldn’t have realized how much her life would change just three years later.

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After Flashdance debuted, the movie was the one to watch in 1983. The film helped create the '80s-era fashion many replicate nearly every Halloween.

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However, before it became a popular costume idea, Jennifer said she couldn’t walk down the street during that time without seeing someone mimicking her and Alex’s signature fashion.

“It was like this really weird meta experience when you’re walking down the street and seeing everybody in the cutoff sweatshirt,” Jennifer told Jimmy Fallon, adding, “It was an interesting moment.”

Although she’s played many roles since Flashdance, including the one and only Bette Porter in The L Word, the actor still receives flowers from her time as Alex Owens. Over the last 40 years, many celebs have paid homage to Flashdance.

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