8 Lessons In Life And Love I Learned From ’27 Dresses’

You remember 27 Dresses, right? It’s hard to get that dress montage out of your memory–Katherine Heigl trying on dress after ugly dress as a monument to her selflessness as a perennial bridesmaid. And then there’s the “Bennie and the Jets” scene after she and James Marsden spend hours in a car in the rain. The movie gives us life, but you know what else it gives us? Life lessons. While the rom-com may be over 15 years old now–old enough to get a driver’s license–it’s still chockfull of useful insights. Read on if you’re looking for a kick-in-the-pants to help make your life better. We’re aiming for Heigl’s Jane at the end of the movie, not the beginning.

If you focus so much on helping others, you’ll lose sight of yourself.

It’s like the airplane advice: Secure your mask before you help others. Jane is so focused on being everything for everyone else–the perfect bridesmaid, the perfect sister, the perfect assistant–that everything she wants goes by the wayside. There is absolutely nothing wrong with focusing on yourself. Do what makes you happy, and all the rest will fall into place.

Don’t let others steal your dream life.

When Jane wasn’t looking, her sister Tess ends up snatching what Jane had thought she always wanted: Her boss. Unfortunately, there will sometimes be people in your life who are more than happy to take something you want. So how do you prevent that? Go for what you want. Don’t give others the space to take it before you even get your chance. It’s also better to surround yourself with good people, and not snakes.

But make sure it’s what you really want.

That being said…imagine if Jane had actually made a move on her boss in the beginning. She might never have met James Marsden’s Kevin. (Travesty!) She would have ended up with a weird guy she doesn’t actually have much chemistry with. She probably would have never learned the valuable lesson about not giving up so much of yourself to others, either. If you go for something, make sure you actually want it.

Don’t fall in love with your boss.

I mean, that’s sometimes easier said than done. But nothing good can come from pining over your boss. Sure, they may seem interesting and sexy, but that unbalanced power dynamic will always loom over you. Nothing good can come from this.

Keep toxic people out of your life.

Okay, this is a little tough for Jane. Her sister is one of the bigger problems of 27 Dresses and you can’t exactly stop being sisters. But you can limit the kind of access and control someone has over your life. Instead, surround yourself with people who lift you up, not tear you down.

Let people know the real you.

A big plot point in 27 Dresses is the titular dresses themselves. Jane loves being a bridesmaid and has accumulated a lot of questionable bridesmaid dresses in the process. Where things get sticky is that she seems to be ashamed about this aspect of her life. When Kevin visits her and sees her overflowing dress closet, she’s embarrassed. And when a newspaper article is printed about her bridesmaidery, she feels like it’s the end of the world. People know her secret! But girl, OWN IT. Who cares that she likes to be a bridesmaid? Whatever your weird quirk is, celebrate it and don’t hide it away in a closet. There are an infinite number of ways to live your life, and yours isn’t something to be ashamed of.

You’ll shine if you just let go a little.

Now for everyone’s favorite scene from the movie: The “Bennie and the Jets” scene. Jane and Kevin get out from the rain and end up at a bar. After having a few drinks, they’ve loosened up enough to sing Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” (badly) while standing on the bar. It’s a great night, they’re the life of the party, and it’s the moment where they officially bond. You can be buttoned up all the time, or you can let yourself go just a little. Imagine what hijinks you could get into.

The people you care about will show up when you need them.

Just like you should ditch the toxic people, you should make sure you keep around the ones who will be there when you need them. In Jane’s case, all of the friends she’d been a bridesmaid for help by being her bridesmaid in return. They even go so far as to wear the trash bridesmaid dresses they’d asked her to wear. It just shows that they appreciated her all along.

About the author

Trisha Bartle

Trisha’s your resident tarot reader, rom-com lover, and horror connoisseur. In addition to using her vast knowledge of all things cinema for Thought Catalog’s TV + Movies entertainment section, she also offers her astrological and tarot expertise to Collective World. Trisha splits her time between making art and being awesome.