13 Going On 30's Costume Designer Didn't Expect Jennifer Garner's 'Thriller' Dress To Be A Phenomenon, But She Explained Why It's Beloved 20 Years Later

 Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30.
Credit: Sony Pictures

It’s hard to believe that one of the best rom-coms of all time, 13 Going on 30, itself turned 20 this year. Not only should we celebrate the beloved cast and crew for all of the work they put into this beloved classic, but let's not forget the iconic costumes that played an outstanding role of their own. Believe it or not, the costume designer of the fantasy rom-com never expected Jennifer Garner’s “Thriller” dress to be a phenomenon, and there’s a reason for why it’s so now after two decades.

When 13-year-old Jenna Rink wakes up seventeen years later as her 30-year-old self, she decides to embrace her adult body wearing a colorful dress at an office party while dancing to “Thriller” there. If you can believe it, 13 Going on 30’s costume designer, Susie DeSanto, revealed to Hello Sunshine that Jennifer Garner’s party dress in the movie wasn’t exactly her favorite costume she’s made:

As far as that dress goes, I don't know what to say. It's not my most favorite costume in the movie. It was the right thing for the scene and it was what got chosen and that's what she wore and then we moved on to the next thing. You know, we were just working on the movie. We didn't realize what was happening.

It’s a funny thing to make a dress so casually without knowing it would be one of the most memorable costumes of a movie. I think the reason why Jenna Rink’s party dress is so unique is because it resembles the blindfold a teenage Jenna wears in her closet before she transforms and it’s similar to the sleeping mask she wears waking up as her adult self. You can interpret this connection as the vibrant design still staying with the adult Jenna just like it’s stuck with us 20 years later.

Susie DeSanto may not have seen it coming that 13 Going on 30’s striped dress would be such a cultural fashion piece. However, she explained her reasoning for how stylish movie costumes become such a rage for years to come.

The fact that people still love it and still want to talk about it, I don't think you can plan for that. I think it happens because culture takes it that way. It's young people in the streets that hook onto fashion and onto trends. Then they start a trend. I'm obsessed when it was on Ariana Grande, because that gives it longevity. It's like the Marilyn dress. They're just classic and they keep on moving through years and decades and decades. And it always is the same, it always has the same impact.

The vintage-printed spaghetti strap dress has indeed become a real fashion trend among young A-list celebrities. Fans loved it when Ariana Grande showed off her 13 Going on 30 look on The Voice. Plus, the younger Jenna actress, Christa B. Allen, wore that same dress when she turned 30 in real life. Jennifer Garner also made sure to send praises to her loyal costume designer in the comments who's worked with the Alias actress since the highly-praised movie:

@susied310 you are the best to ever do the job and I should know because we have now officially worked together twenty years! Should I get you an anniversary gift? Hmmmm.

You can’t blame young girls for wanting to wear Jenna Rick's unforgettable dress so they can feel “thirty, flirty, and thriving too.” Plus, the movie’s great dance sequence shows the dress is very easy to move in and shows off how well you know those “Thriller” moves.

13 Going on 30’s costume designer may not have seen it coming that Jenna Garner’s “Thriller” dress would be a phenomenon. But as Jenna Rink said, everyone can “Wang Chung” tonight wearing the vintage-styled dress knowing it’s from a rom-com that still holds up today. Make sure to watch Garner and the rest of the cast move to “Thriller” in 13 Going on 30 available on your Hulu subscription.