So Chic, Very Chic: Jersey Devils

So Chic, Very Chic: Jersey Devils

BYJoan SummersMay 09, 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.

The gulf between the final episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac and the premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey was nearly a month. Longer, if you forget that the cast of Potomac were ever on TV at all. In that time, I took a cross country road trip with every belonging I’d ever owned, all alone with my thoughts in the middle of Nebraska, outpacing tornado warnings and storms by just under a day. I’d never quite considered Nebraska, save for its connections to gay people’s favorite discographies, from Bruce Springsteen to Lady Gaga. The loneliness I felt on the open road was quite the opposite of "Yoü and I." however. About as lonely as a month about the Real Housewives.

It wasn’t like I was entirely alone. At times, various friends would check in on me with updates about road conditions or musings on the chain of gas stations in Iowa aptly named "Kum & Go." of all things. (One asked if he could steal my picture of the sign for a joke tween about Sniffies.) I appreciated the company, if in the detached way I often slip into when covering Bravo’s millennial output, as it's been aptly named. Summer House, Vanderpump Rules, The Valley and the like. Shows all built around the idea of getting older, adulting. A word we invented as a generational cohort, a word that could very well describe driving across the country alone through spring storms, on the move after a contentious shotgun wedding and eventual divorce. Like the word though, and the idea of divorce or even the break between Real Housewives franchise premieres, I was happy to leave them all behind in the parking lot outside my storage unit in the rural California town I grew up in, which I hadn’t even lived in for 11 years anyway.

The Real Housewives are back this week, with the long anticipated follow-up to the smash hit success of last season, at least in my circles. The millennials all let me down this week, wearing jeans and t-shirts and cotton slips not even worth a second mention. For all the pomp of the finale of Vanderpump Rules, I couldn't even nab one worthy screenshot of Ariana Madix’s Frankenstein-ed Loewe by way of Versace party dress. No matter! These Jersey Devils gave me enough to talk about.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Rachel Fuda

I rarely talk about the title cards on these shows, mostly because they don’t matter. But Rachel’s prom gown is simply too gauche to ignore. It’s like she teleported out of those Instagram prom posts people our age get all riled up about every year, as if the girls like Rachel in high school didn’t have daddies with BMWs that would spend however much money they wanted to at Nordstrom or Betsey Johnson. This shade of purple is, however, quite lovely, even if it interacts with her spray tan and the sepia filter in odd ways. Like a dried lavender, where the petals retain their soft hue while the greenery withers and from green to tan to grey. Also, note the length of her hair. It will only get longer and fuller this season.

Right on cue! From a lavender prom dress to a mall-bought leopard mini dress is just what I’d expect from the freshman class of RHONJ. She’s thankfully less yellow here, even if they probably overfed her hair since shooting the promo and should probably get it back on weight control dry food from the veterinarian. Shiny, though! So, so shiny.

As an aside, my favorite piece of the fit are the pink talons because, of course, they are pink. She’s like what this current wave of “bimbocore” pop stars think they look like, but never will, because they aren’t from New Jersey or on this show.

Melissa Gorga

Melissa always does her makeup like early season Nina Flowers, or Coco Montrese in her “Ru-animal” commercial. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation about makeup trends on this show. That said, she’s really found her niche in fast fashion gowns she paid too much money for to wear on TV and also re-sell in her boutiques (which probably still exist?). I like the detail of the Cartier Love bracelet over the sleeve, in case everyone looking missed the fact she had a Cartier Love bracelet to wear on television.

Tweedle-Dee, AKA Teresa Giudice

Count on Teresa Giudice to come on television with nearly identical glam to her sister-in-law, who she hates, bronzed up like Donatella Versace, breasts squeezed into the most comically small mini dress one can find at the King of Prussia mall. This color is lovely, genuinely! It sparkles nicely on camera and suits her chosen shade of skin, darker than it has been in recent seasons. I’ve grown bored of the LEAK NYC-ification of women’s fashion, specifically on Bravo, and the construction of this dress doesn’t quite do it for me, having seen it already about a dozen times while writing this column. Nice try, though!

Viewers were also treated to Teresa’s wedding photos, in which she is comically photoshopped as to almost look like an alien next to Louie, who already comes off like an alien on the best of days. The dress is divine, but the hair is something else entirely. Nobody does it, or will ever do it, quite like Teresa.

This outfit was, conversely, silly in the best way — the florals, the lip gloss, the bracelets, the rings, the spray tan, the high ponytail, the lashes dwarfing her face. In my mind I look like this most of the time. Like, I go to the store looking like this.

Margaret Josephs

Margaret, for all the hate she gets online, is dependable. Expect her to show up on camera in a poofy little mini dress, some ruffles, a comically large headband and wedge sandals. Throw in an icy-white dye job and a new facelift, and you’ve got the Margaret look! That said, the look works for her, which is why she deploys it so much.

Her confessionals are something else entirely. The dress here is troubling, least of all because it looks like someone bedazzled thrifted lingerie from the ‘90s and sold it full price at Macys with the evening dresses. Not that I’m opposed to clothing that looks like lingerie, but the bedazzled trim reads so badly on camera. Like, it was added after the fact, when Marg and her stylist realized it didn’t quite pop the way they wanted it too. Still, she looks beautiful, and her makeup and hair work for her more than extensions and pigtails ever did in seasons past. I have high hopes for you this season, my queen of kitsch!

Dolores Catania

Tony Soprano never left television — he was just reborn as Dolores here, with huge breasts and even huger hair and a penchant for wise-cracking about her meatball recipe. The dress is wild, that much is certain. I’m not quite sure what it’s supposed to look like ... not exactly. Mostly, it serves as a slip of fabric meant to cover up against accidental nudity. The real event here is her hair, in a large and ostentatious updo that merely brushes up against the heights Teresa’s reached. Kudos all around. I’ll be puzzled over this look for a week.

Danielle Cabral

Speaking of spray tans, Danielle has actually toned hers down this season, believe it or not. I quite like that this dress is less a dress and more the type of gown one would wear on Game of Thrones while receiving the message your minor lord of a husband has died on the battlefield, and you and the entire house now under the proprietorship of the Lannisters. No matter though, of course, because you’re no minor lordling’s wife who has designs of your own to secure a spot for yourself in court and maybe even beyond. (Until a bloody wedding upends those designs, and any future you might have in King’s Landing.)

Jennifer Aydin

Jennifer here can’t be trusted with a secret. She can’t be trusted not to make a scene. Nobody has ever trusted her to tip very well at restaurants, or not yell at them in public, or not have to get carried fireman style out of a party when she gets a bit too tipsy around the new couple next door. But there is one thing everyone who knows her trusts her to do, rain or shine, good or bad: wearing clothes in ridiculous colors with all manners of bows and ruffles and pleats and attachés. She came through for us this premiere episode, even if the dress is Christopher John Rogers for Target, and I’d rather see the main line. (Christopher John Rogers is, to be very clear, one of my favorite designers!)

Photos courtesy of Bravo/ NBCUniversal Media, LLC