From Jossie Grossie and Harry Styles: The Evolution of Braces in Pop Culture and Real Life

Shot of a girl showing her bracesBraces have somehow become a rite of passage, both in real life and onscreen.

In many coming-of-age movies, there is always this one character who wears braces, and, more often than not, that person plays a geeky or nerdy role. Braces, however, have gone through rash character development. The arrival of reliable orthodontic practices such as Williams Orthodontics made it possible for braces to emerge from a stigma to an essential tool for improving the appearance.

“Hey, Metal Mouth”

In teen movies set in the 1980s and 1990s, braces were reserved only for the “nerdy” characters. Take, for instance, Anthony Michael Hall’s spitty character in The Breakfast Club, or “Josie Grossie,” played by Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed.

This portrayal carried on until a good part of the 2000s. As a matter of fact, from 2006 to 2010, America Ferrera portrayed gawky Betty Suarez in the show Ugly Betty. Apart from braces, Betty also wore glasses and wacky outfits.

A Status Symbol?

The days when braces were “uncool,” however, are long gone. Among the tweens and teenagers of today, braces have gone from stigma to status symbol. In some parts of Asia, braces are too expensive that only the wealthy can afford them, making wearing braces somehow a status symbol.

The young generation, moreover, better understands the significance of braces. Far from a device that hindered their smiles, they now see that braces bring the promise of a more stunning set of pearly whites.

It also helped that celebrities and models are now unafraid to be seen wearing braces. Faith Hill arrived at the Grammy’s in 2013 wearing braces. Charlie James, a braces-sporting 17-year-old model, walked the runway for German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Even One Direction’s Harry Styles wore braces.

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These days, there are also more discreet options for those who wish to straighten their teeth. From invisible braces to orthodontic appliances that take only six months to do their job, there’s absolutely no reason to shy away from teeth straightening devices.