Great Outfits in Fashion History (Beauty Edition): Reese Witherspoon's Peak 1996 Hair and Makeup

It features everything a paradigmatic late-'90s beauty look could hope to have.
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There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

When I think about impactful beauty looks of days past, I find myself inevitably turning to the late '90s and early 2000s. It's not difficult to put my finger on why: In times of uncertainty and anxiety, retreating to the era of my childhood — and the sometimes kooky, heavy-handed, overly-glossed-and-flatironed aesthetic that dominated it — offers the perfect dreamy escape. I've already spent some time waxing poetic on the Olsens' flippy hairstyles and Missy Elliott's iconic brown lipstick. This week, I'm highlighting another look from the time: the peak 1996 hair and makeup Reese Witherspoon wore to a party that very year.

Donned for an event at The Bowery Bar in New York City, the look in question predates "Cruel Intentions" (arguably Witherspoon's most memorable work from the '90s). It features everything a paradigmatic late-'90s beauty look could hope to have — coordinated burgundy lips and nails (with a frosted, shimmery finish), a deep side part, an elaborate updo, haphazard flatironed tendrils pointing every which way and, of course, ultra-thin eyebrows. 

I just finished bingeing "Little Fires Everywhere" on Hulu (the book is way better, don't get me started), which happens to star Witherspoon playing a (very differently outfitted) 1997 suburban mom, and seeing adult Reese dolled up in French acrylic tips and structured, '90s-professional-lady suits made me crave a throwback to the actual young Reese of the '90s. She would have been about 20 when she sported this look, and she nailed just about every major beauty trend of the time. 

Should you want to dabble in these major '90s beauty trends yourself, we rounded up several nail- and lip-color options to help you start your journey. Click through the gallery below to see (and shop) them all.

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