So Chic, Very Chic: Heterosexual Hell

So Chic, Very Chic: Heterosexual Hell

BYJoan SummersApr 18, 2024

This is So Chic, Very Chic, PAPER’s examination of Bravo’s sprawling cohort of fashion obsessives. From haute couture to TJ Maxx, they’ve literally worn it all. Sometimes they stunt, sometimes they turn the look, and sometimes they burn holes in retinas my ophthalmologist says might never heal.

Once upon a time, Tom Sandoval looked Stassi Schroeder in the eyes and shouted, “Three years ago, Ariana and I made out in the swimming pool of the Golden Nugget.” A look of pure disgust crossed Stassi’s face at that moment, and she quite cooly replied, “The Golden Nugget? That’s like an all time low.”

This moment from the early seasons of Vanderpump Rules crossed my mind yesterday, when I mentioned to a friend that I’d be hanging out at a mutual friend’s wedding that weekend in the same hotel in Las Vegas. Wait, haven't I heard that name before somewhere? I quickly googled, and was reminded from a TikTok clip that it was the same den of sin that tore apart the cast of Bravo’s then newest show apart.

I don’t plan on making out with anyone in the pool of the Golden Nugget, nor am I on a reality show. But if there is anyone that would like to make out with me in the pool of the Golden Nugget, I will use the experience at your expense for a cheap joke in next week’s column. Hell, if I don’t get any action, and the cute little Vegas themed wedding fit I have planned goes to utter waste, I’ll probably just make something up. It’s my column, I can do whatever I want.

I’ll report back next week. In the meantime, I have some deeply disturbed heterosexuals in desperate need of wardrobe refreshes to talk about.

Summer House

Kyle Cooke

If you, as a woman, ever find yourself on the beach in the Hamptons crying about motherhood and moving to the suburbs and feeling unloved — while your husband stares at you with a mullet, an ironic hat and shield glasses hiding his eyes as the light in them is slowly extinguished from years of too much partying and sometimes cheating on you — get up and go!

Ciara Miller

This column has essentially become an exploration of Ciara’s personal style, and I’m generally okay with that. Like last week, she’s never looked better. This blood red lip pairs perfectly with the side part, slicked down brows and faux-crocodile bandeau. It gives “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” the redux. (Shoutout Toni Braxton, The Heat is the greatest album of all time.) I have literally no notes for Ciara, except that I wish the producers showed me the entire look, assuming she’s not wearing sweatpants out of frame.

Paige DeSorbo

We all know how I feel about the lingering effects of the Renaissance tour fits on the fast fashion ecosystem in summer 2023, which were mostly bad for both the environment and the resale shops, which are now cluttered with chromed skirts and ugly shoes. It’s hard to imagine that Paige’s silver dresses this season weren’t in conversation with the tour’s broader cultural ripplings. She looks great — it’s just on my mind again.

Lindsay Hubbard

It’s been interesting to watch those Vivienne Westwood-type corsets that gained popularity on fashion Twitter a few years back get refracted through so many fashion world chutes and ladders as to become almost unrecognizable. The simulacrum of the simulacrum, like those Top Shop mesh dresses by way of ASOS mesh dresses by way of Opening Ceremony (RIP) mesh dresses by way of Gaultier runways in the ‘90s.

As an aside, the side part has made a strong showing on millennial’s Bravo suite in recent weeks. Is this a reaction to larger hair trends, or an isolated signifier that they all get their hair done by the same stylist?

Lindsay also tried on wedding dresses for the same wedding Carl calls off later this season. The extras in this scene feel a bit harrowed in context — everyone uncomfortable with their own private realization there won’t be a wedding after all. The fit is generally fine, although I’m most interested in the exposed corset back, which feels particularly of the moment. I’m not an expert in bridal trends by any means, but we can see the same motif across much of the mid-level fashion on this network and elsewhere right now.

The Valley

Brittany Cartwright

Much like Amanda before her, Brittany finds herself in a particular sort of heterosexual hell in which she sits on the couch in her husband’s ironic merch and awkwardly talks around the fact that she definitely doesn’t love him anymore and is, in fact, repulsed by his very existence. The pillows around her appear ready to swallow her whole at any moment, much like the darkness threatening her marriage.

I’ve discussed these both outfits previously, but I did need one last time to get everyone’s eyes on these tracks in her hair. Listen, I have never been against hair extensions, nor will I shame a person for their use, but prior to getting them for your big television debut, double check, then triple check, the photos of the people tagged on your stylist’s Instagram. Not the glitzy day-of photos. You need to lock eyes with the week-after snaps — the highlights in their story from when they’ve grown out just a touch. Then, before handing over your hard earned influencer money, consider if that’s how you want your hair to look on television.

The girls also had a sleepover event this week, and Brittany wore an oversized shirt with her long hair loose and free, like her inhibitions prior to the day Jax Taylor first darkened her doorstep. This lavender is beautiful on camera and perfect for the pretend-nice act she put on this episode around the girls while she extracted gossip from them.

Janet Caperna

I’ve quite liked Janet’s pregnancy style this season. Her wardrobe has even made me a bit envious, like, I want to be pregnant too in a cute little cut-out knit something. The colors work well for her complexion, and generally, it’s nice to see a pregnant person broaden the scope for what people expect of their personal style.

Vanderpump Rules

Scheana Shay

Scheana has committed to the high ponytail in a major way this season, alongside the color gold and glasses that make her look like the second runner-up for a Playstation ad spot in 1997. That said, I’m going to need her makeup artist to re-introduce blush into her vocabulary, as the all-gold ensembles, washed out highlights and spray tan congeal her complexion into one, big Tinseltown blur — like that filter on Instagram we used to deploy whenever we’d snap a photo of some train tracks, or the pancakes we split with friends at a Denny’s around 2 a.m.

Tom Schwartz

I have this recurring nightmare lately that Tom Schwartz is trying to kill me. Usually I wake up in the Best Buy in Pensacola where he was the regional manager of in another life. I’m shopping for discounted Wii games, and he comes up to me with a gun and a knife. I don’t know why he has a gun and a knife, but there he is, in front of the display for the new Mario Kart game, crying and pointing the gun and knife at me. He asks if I need any help, and I back away slowly, knocking into a bunch of Wii remote rubber grips, which they made because people kept throwing them through their TVs by accident.

Tom is still crying, and before I can form a thought about why, he’s telling me his ex-wife left him for Rod, who owns a motorcycle shop. He starts to yell, “My wife doesn’t even ride motorcycles, then one day, there she goes with fucking Rod!” I take another step back, my ankle twisting on one of those fluorescent green grips that litter the floor, and I trip. “Thankfully I’ve taken care of them,” he adds. I’m crawling now, and he gets closer, crying and smiling and crying louder and smiling wider. I crawl and crawl and crawl, but the hallway is endless, until he’s almost upon me. He raises the knife and pulls the trigger and bam. My arms are flailing, and I’m screaming, and my cat is bounding down the hall into the dark of the night. Must be that damn bleach job.

Ariana Madix

Ariana is back in the mesh this week! It looks like she might have raided Katie’s closet for some jewelry and Lala’s closet for the gloves. I like the flip of her bob, and the effect of this all black ensemble, even if it gets a bit muddled in the confessional booth. She’s like if Lara Croft knew about Nowadays.

Katie Maloney

Speaking of Katie Maloney, she looks like that character in Ocean’s Eleven who finances the heist: Reuben Tishkoff, played by Elliot Gould. She might not be a big time Vegas power player, but she is the headmistress of the women in this group. Before any decision can be made, they have to sit down in her booth at the local queer bar and ask for her permission to film with her ex-husband, or show up to a party with a man in tow. I quite like this energy from ol’ Maloney. It’s hot!

Lala Kent

As a woman who will probably have a sperm donor someday, mostly because I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would ever let a man raise my child, I’m somewhat moved by Lala’s journey this season. What I am not moved by, however, is her slow regression into aesthetics that are questionable at best. Thankfully, she never quite pulls it off and falls instead in the realm of “regional production of The Pirates of Penzance at a community theater somewhere in Arizona.”

Ally Lewber

If I were to plan a talk with my boyfriend with a history of deeply troubled relationships (and that is putting it in the least litigious terms possible) about how I’ll probably never want to get married or have children because I’m a chic Gen Z astrologer and aspiring country singer, I’d also wear something like this little co-ord set with the white trim and poor stitching.

Photos courtesy of Bravo/ NBCUniversal Media, LLC