So Chic, Very Chic: Summer Should Be Fun

So Chic, Very Chic: Summer Should Be Fun

BYJoan SummersMar 07, 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.

I never had Barbies as a kid, but I’m not about to turn this into one of those tearjerkers you see on TikTok about healing my inner child, or whatever. But I am thinking about dolls and their houses today.

Since I didn’t have any dolls of my own, the little army figurines I’d steal from my older brother would be the gay best friends to my sister’s Polly Pocket toys. They’d go shopping with Polly Pocket and sit at the kitchen table and listen to her complain about how kindergarten was scary and weird. Disturbing, isn’t it? Little green army men and their AK-47s, open carrying in the dollhouse while shampooing their best friend’s hair.

One time, we married her favorite Polly Pocket to the army commander. He was the most buff of my brother’s figurines and carried a bazooka, or some other monstrosity of war. Our joint stuffed animal collection attended the ceremony, as did our cat Oreo, and so did my brother, who was only there to make sure his army commander didn’t kiss Polly Pocket and get “ruined.” When it was done, we stuffed the two of them into my sister’s little dollhouse to live out the rest of their day until the next one.

But something changed after the wedding. My brother got more jealous with the commander, so he was away on frequent army business. Polly spent most of her play sessions sad or lonely, and when he would come around, the two would fight until me and my sister got bored of acting out our parent’s arguments. A therapist would have a field day with the memory, sure, but those dolls are on my mind for other reasons. Bravo’s Summer House, my personal favorite show on the network, is back for season eight. Watching the cast fuck and fight and party and get together and break up and marry and divorce makes me feel like I’m seven again, witnessing the world unfold in that teeny little pink dollhouse.

There’s even a man with a mullet, just like the army commander.

With no Real Housewives to talk about and the Vanderpump Rules cast on a brief intermission lakeside, let’s use the column space to catch up Bravo’s best show. Shall we?

Summer House

West Wilson

There are three types of guys on Summer House. Tall ones with crazy bodies that the women of the estate spend most of their time playing around with, and saying things like, “I want to take a shot out of his pecs.” Then there’s the sexually confused guys, who generally don’t last long, considering sex is sort of the requirement on this show.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the goofy guys. Kyle Cooke has held that title for longer than I’ve been alive, and he has the mullet to prove it. (More on that later.) West is a new addition to the canon, as evidenced by his rhinestone cowboy hat and teeny little mustache. He’s hot, but I’m wary of his goofy charm and overwrought fashion sense.

I clocked his accessories from the curb but didn’t quite lay my eyes on them completely until his first confessional. There’s quite a bit of bling on those fingers, West! It’s a new look for the house, as most men who crawl through its front door are either too drunk to dress themselves, too normal to care, or over forty, with a twenty-something wife who hates them.

Amanda Batula, Kyle Cooke, West Wilson

Speaking of men with bracelets, here’s Kyle and that wife that hates him. There’s something quite ominous about a man of his age in a beaded bracelet, but not so ominous as the mullet he’s insisted is a good look for him. I generally don’t believe in men’s right to be blonde, and I certainly don’t believe in their right to have a mullet. I don’t care if that makes an enemy out of every single person in Philadelphia!

That said, it’s Amanda that drew my eye the most in this car ride. She’s really become quite the Hailey Bieber doppelgänger in recent years, right? From the halter tank top to the white pants to the ultra-wide glasses to the blonde highlights, she could make a serious killing on the TikTok-to -Reno casino celebrity impersonation circuit.

Lindsay Hubbard

I support women’s wrongs. I’m not afraid to admit it! Women should be wrong more often and do wrong more often. That’s what feminism means to me. That said, Lindsay is testing the limits of what it means to look away when said wrong is being committed, what with her meltdowns and accusations that Carl is back on drugs. Still, she’s the main character of reality, and I’m the blogger who bows at her feet!

This dress is nothing special, but I am fascinated by the proliferation of the silhouette in downline fashion retailers. It’s not an easy cut to pull off without a boob job, but pick up any dress in a Nordstrom, and it’s cut exactly the same. Clearly it sells, but to whom? If you’ve bought this dress in recent memory, show yourselves! I just want to talk.

Like most women approaching thirty with DD breasts, I have fallen victim to crinkled and shirred dresses. Thankfully, I’ve been vaccinated by watching my favorite reality show castmates wear them in the confessional booth. It’s not that it’s an ugly dress! Lindsay has never looked better, and I mean that. But it just reads cheap, doesn’t it? Feels like it’s time to pack up anything and everything that looks like tissue paper on camera.

Ciara Miller

You know those Gaultier body heat dresses? The ones that got quickly copied by every dropshipper on Amazon? I don’t think this is one of those dropship knockoffs, but it is always interesting to see the impact of re-issues from the brand on the downline market. Through the cyber-dot reissue and those body heat dresses, this new era of Gaultier forces the downline market to sprint away from what made the brand so popular in the first place. Clothes are made to appear less and less like garments and more like second skins. Patterns, meanwhile, have stepped in to do a poor imitation of what Gaultier's genius tailoring achieved: emphasizing and dramatizing the female form.

The bust of this dress is perplexing, even if Ciara looks stunning. When purchasing such garments, I’d typically shy away from dresses that are overly constructed and also decently priced. Not because I don’t believe in having your tits out! More so, that level of design around the bust requires a more skilled hand than mass-produced clothing could ever hope to achieve. When done wrong, the silhouette commits crimes to the boobs, which to me is unforgivable.

Jesse Solomon and Ciara Miller

I’d like to congratulate Ciara on providing me so much to talk about this episode! Here she is in a tiny little American bikini and a bedazzled cowboy hat and the teensiest little shorts I’ve ever seen in my life, unbuttoned to emphasize just how small they are. As a lifelong communist, you won’t find me saluting any flags, let alone attend some Fourth of July party with patriotic millennials in the Hamptons. But, if given the chance, I’d salute this outfit!

Paige DeSorbo

Leave it to Paige to peddle something you can probably buy from her Amazon Live shopping list. She looks beautiful, as always, but seriously! What is this dress, or this hair? It looks as if it’s reaching for the wet look popularized by people like Miley Cyrus yet grasping empty air instead. The dress, meanwhile, looks like the cocktail napkin of a fancy dinner party that’s been used to wipe up spilled champagne.

That said, I can’t wait to see her wear it all season. Maybe after 15 episodes I’ll have uncovered its mysteries.

Danielle Olivera

This is Danielle’s “hoe summer,” as she told the girls in the car. I like that in her definition of a hoe summer, she’s in a cobalt blue co-ord tunic shirt with side cutouts and flair pants. Genuinely, I love that for her. There’s never been a more millennial woman in our lifetime.

Remember in the “Marry the Night” video, when Gaga says: “But I still had my Bedazzler. So I did what any girl would do — I did it all over again"? She was actually wearing this exact denim corset top, which I heard Danielle got at auction with her seventh season Summer House earnings. That’s totally real information, everyone should go tell their friends it’s real.

Amanda, to Paige, in her low rise jeans, crop top, Sambas, and trucker hat: “I feel like this is the Carnival vibe.” She was correct! That is indeed the carnival vibe, especially for adult women who dress like teens on the internet who dress like Hailey Bieber.

Kyle Cooke, Amanda Batula, "Mon" the Banana

We might as well address the banana-shaped elephant in the room: Kyle and Amanda have opened up their relationship this season to a banana dressed like an offensive caricature of Rastafari culture. Frankly, straight people should keep their weird kinks off TV!

Mostly, I’m including this shot to get another angle on Kyle’s truly mind-boggling mullet. I read once, in a medical journal I’m making up right now, that evil is stored in the mullet. That’s a true fact, pass it on.

I did about 47 double takes when this confessional look steamrolled into my eyeballs. It’s like someone hacked off the bust on Ciara’s dress and passed it off as a new garment to Amanda. Upon realizing her dress had no bust, she layered it with the aforementioned tank top as an emergency measure.

The whole look is troubling and sinister. Most of all the sternum, where whatever boning was used in its construction has burrowed through her chest. Ack! I can’t look at it anymore.

Gabby Prescod

I’m so happy to see Gabby has returned for another season to terrorize men with facts about astrology. This dress sure is something. The theme of Summer House’s confessionals seems to be: “Boobs, but make it kinda weird.” Were I to make an educated guess, I’d like this more if the neckline had been wrapped the same as the bust. As it stands, though, Gabby looks like she’s lost a toilet paper mummy contest at a corporate icebreaker.

Photos courtesy of NBCUniversal/ Bravo