So Chic, Very Chic: Polyester Princesses

So Chic, Very Chic: Polyester Princesses

BYJoan SummersFeb 22, 2024

Do we think, collectively, that denim mini dresses will ever rise above the ashes of Charlotte Russe, confident in their ability to serve in blues and grays and acid washes? Juries out, I say.

I've been thinking quite a bit about the ruins of Charlotte Russe while watching this season of Real Housewives of Potomac. I've heard the store still haunts the emptiest of shopping malls that litter the crumbling infrastructure of suburban America. Doomed to waste away next to an official Jelly Bean store and Dress Barn, they're a perfect place for the employees of both to smoke from apple bongs and eat stale candy. When the aliens come, do you think they'll walk those empty capitalist holy sites and think, “God damn, this species really loved a denim mini dress with studs around the hem and a fake leather boots with the fringe.”

If there is a working Charlotte Russe still left, they've disguised it as a Wet Seal-like that sells dropshipped pleather leggings and, even stranger, sequin prom dresses. It's next door to Ashley Darby’s new house she bought with that Australian ex-husband’s money, and she prepares for each new season of RHOP with a haul she posts on Instagram Reels while doing TikTok dances from three years ago.

Let's leave the heavy philosophical lifting on the changing landscape of American retail for the aliens, yeah? We have some reality star closets to pick through.

Real Housewives of Potomac

Ashley Darby

Oh, brother. Here comes Ashley Darby again in a funky little pussycat cut and a dress that defies modern logic. I actually don’t mind that it’s denim, or that the bustier is lined with an embellished chain. I don’t even mind the upwardly tilted smoky eye! Shoutout to her boobs, they look rather nice here. But it just never seems to come together for Ashley, does it? It must be the personality she affects on camera.

Candiace Dillard Bassett

Two denim mini dresses walk into a bar. They grab a high top and pull up a third chair. A waitress walks by and asks, “Oh, are you waiting for a friend?” The mid-wash denim mini dress says no, and the indigo strapless number curtly replies, “That’s for my Dior. I’ll have an Aperol Spritz please.” There was going to be a joke here but it got away from me.

Silliness aside, this is the best she has looked all season. The auburn hair is radiant on her, and the makeup is plump and fresh and distinct. The red nails are a nice touch, as I always love a crisp red nail, and for once in the history of this column, I don’t mind the faux corseting! Even if, mind you, it looks like the bottom half is cut like those Selkie dresses everyone spent their pandemic relief funds on.

Keiarna Stewart

As a "friend of," this will likely be Keiarna’s first and only appearance in the column this season. What an entrance! As it’s constructed from suiting fabric, my eyes don’t quite know where to land. It’s certainly a fun garment, even if she’s added one too many brooches to make it look more expensive. As I said when Dorit Kemsley did the same: Make a decision! Either the entire thing is covered in brooches, or you pick just one. Overall, however, it’s a strong entrance into the confessional canon, and I hope she sticks around to make that pussy bow just a little bit bigger next season!

Vanderpump Rules

Scheana Shay

Scheana’s gone rogue this season. From colluding with Tom Sandoval (that’s what Ariana Madix and Katie Maloney call filming with a coworker), to beefing with her husband on camera, our little aspiring pop star has sprouted wings and flown as fast as she can towards the sun. It’s just too bad she chose to wear polyester on the journey. It’s prone to melt at high temperatures and the waste from it has put microplastics in the baby food, or whatever that article my sister sent me the other week said.

There’s nothing immediately wrong with this look, though. Clearly it was inspired by the glut of Barbie materials clogging the Los Angeles river last season, and she’s exactly the right person to fish them out of the concrete riverbed and wear them to Villa Rosa.

Speaking of Barbie looks, does this look familiar? The trim here immediately called to mind that denim number Ashley Darby paraded into the confessional booth with. Is bedazzled boob trim the next big thing?

Tom Sandoval

This suit jacket is somehow the least offensive thing Tom Sandoval has done this week, considering he recently compared his life to both the O.J. Simpson trial and the George Floyd protests. For a man who wants to be seen as youthful badly enough to paint his nails with white-out, he sure knows how to pick the most matronly pieces of clothing.

Katie Maloney and Ariana Madix

“Hey! Me and my friend saw you from across the swim-up bar, and we wanted you to know we fucking hate your guts.”

Jokes aside, these two have really figured out their glasses game this season. As I said last week, Katie has never looked hotter in her entire life. Before my eyes settled on it fully, I thought she’d worn a chain in the pool, but soon realized her bikini has a built-in chain. She’s prepared for anything! Also, these shades are the platonic ideal of a wayfarer, no? She looks like the bad boy deuteragonist in a Gregg Araki movie about the end of the world.

Tom Sandoval, Tom Schwartz and some lady named Jo, I think

I’m mostly here to talk about feet, which grosses me out. I actually purchased those Converse in black when they first dropped last spring, but quickly sold them for a premium on Depop when they first appeared on Tom Sandoval’s feet. He really brings a Payless Shoes vibe to everything he touches, right? He reaches for Zumiez and lands squarely in the Maxxinista rewards program.

As for Tom Schwartz, I’d like to commend him on having the good sense to cover up his feet.

Real Housewives of Miami

Guerdy Abraira

Guerdy shaved her head on camera this week in the days leading up to chemo treatment, and it was one of the most poignant and deeply moving scenes I’ve witnessed on these shows. This comes after a season of similar scenes from Guerdy: revealing she had cancer to her family and friends, her final conversation with her husband before going under during surgery and her children’s welcome home party after said surgery. There’s never been another Real Housewife like her!

This look is also fabulous. Simple and elegant, and the Dolce & Gabbana/Christian Lacroix-esque earrings are a nice touch. I wish we’d tailored the top a bit because it bunches around the armpits from being slightly too big. But what excellent glam! Top notch work in a season of standout Guerdy fashions.

Adriana de Moura

This will live with me forever. I literally do mean that. I will be thinking about Adriana standing in this empty white room in this outfit on my deathbed, upon which I’ll turn over and tell my one remaining cat about it before I pass into the afterlife, after which I’ll ask God or the universe or the collective manifestation of humanity’s consciousness if I can wear it for all of eternity. Thanks for the laugh, Adriana! I hope you’re on television for another 50 years.

Photos courtesy of Bravo/NBCUniversal Media, LLC