25 Photos That Prove Everyone On The O.C. Had Terrible Style

Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
The O.C. has come to live streaming, and with it, endless proof that the 2000s were the bleakest, darkest, and most upsetting fashion era.

Obviously, this argument has been made consistently since the day — as a people — we closed our doors and hearts to the relics of skinny scarves and super-low-rise, distressed jeans. In fact, Jezebel recently went on record condemning the sartorial aesthetic of the Gilmore Girls in a way that was both inspired and accurate, effectively reminding us that if anyone ever suggests a naughties style resurgence, we should calmly escort them to an island from which they’ll never escape.

That’s because the 2000s (and the clothes we wore in that decade) were the worst. And no TV show epitomizes our terrible taste like The O.C. — a series as rich in melodrama as it is T-shirts worn underneath lace camisoles.

What's worse, we all succumbed to these pieces. Once upon a time, we picked up tops and skirts and shorts based solely on having seen Marissa Cooper or Summer Roberts carry them off, telling ourselves — with our tiny shoulder bags and flip-flops — that we exuded Orange County realness, despite our 60-minute driving distance to, say, the Niagara Falls border. (Not that I’m alluding to where I live.)

With all this in mind, we must commemorate. Here’s why the 2000s and The O.C. created the worst clothes, ever.

1 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper
What: White Dress With An Oversized Flower

Three minutes after this photo was taken, the flower came to life and nearly killed everybody on set.
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2 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper
What: Pleated Denim Mini, Red Tank Top, Multicolored Zip-up

For nights when you want to dress up — but want to coordinate even more.
3 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Summer Roberts & Marissa Cooper
What: Powder-Blue Cargo Capris, Hair Scarf, Orange T-shirt, Cargo Skirt, Blazer, Chanel Purse

“I’m wearing my cargo capris” (and other things we said in 2004).
4 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper
What: Flared Jeans, Silk Wrap Blouse, Yellow Bag

There aren’t enough beaded necklaces in the world to justify pairing a yellow bag (made of breathable leather, thank you) with a silk top meant to be worn on your first day working at an insurance firm.
5 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper
What: Light-Blue Henley, Knee-Length A-line Skirt

The outfit that started it all — most notably, a house fire.
6 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper
What: A Slightly Coordinating Headscarf

For the girl who has everything, but especially inexplicable blue-and-yellow bangles.
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7 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper
What: Polo Shirt; Knee-Length, Floral A-line Skirt

What matters most is that I owned this shirt and put it on almost every day, under the uniform-vest I wore at my then-job at a hardware store. And yes, everyone confused me with Mischa Barton, who I looked exactly like, obviously.
8 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper, Ryan Atwood, Summer Roberts, & Seth Cohen
What: Everything — Everything In This Photo, Absolutely All Of It

The pointy, snakeskin heels. The oversized flares. The lime-green tube top. Ryan’s layers. Seth’s blazer. Summer’s kind-of matching clutch (and her not-at-all-matching T-shirt). Should anyone tell you they miss the 2000s, make copies of this photo and post it all over their home.
9 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Marissa Cooper, Ryan Atwood, Summer Roberts, & Seth Cohen
What: Again, Everything — But Especially Seth Cohen’s Vest

At some point, we’re led to believe that Seth Cohen went to his closet, pulled out a vest, and said to himself, “Absolutely.” Follow-up question: Why is Ryan Atwood dressed like a bank teller?
10 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Seth Cohen & Ryan Atwood
What: Another Vest, A Short-Sleeved Dress Shirt

But not worn together — no, these pieces are more powerful worn apart. In another vest frenzy, Seth paired his with a simple T-shirt, while Ryan Atwood, inspired by Dwight Schrute of The Office, realized he could be promoted to assistant regional manager with only a button-up and a business watch.
11 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Summer Roberts
What: Those Necklaces


We did it. We all did it, and now we must look upon what we did and the consequences it had on everyone around us.
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12 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Taylor Townsend
What: A Matching Polo/Sweater Set

I can just hear myself being told that I’m not dressed up enough for the country club and to please leave the premises without a fuss.
13 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Summer Roberts & Marissa Cooper
What: A Tube Dress & Bell Sleeves

Peak 2004. None of us stood a chance.
14 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Summer Roberts, Seth Cohen, & Ryan Atwood
What: A Bohemian-Inspired Dress (With Woven Belt); A Plaid, Short-Sleeved Button-Up, A Look Of Disgust

And in that moment, I swear we were all Ryan Atwood.
15 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Summer Roberts & Seth Cohen
What: A Simple Graphic T-shirt, A Simpler Scarf

Nothing screamed “fun” like a graphic T-shirt worn ironically and dressed up with a printed bag. However, nothing said, “I’d like to be alt,” like the combination of a knit scarf with printed, short-sleeved button-up, preferably in California temperatures.
16 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Julie Cooper
What: Victorian-Era Influence

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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17 of 25
Who: Summer Roberts
What: Hoop Earrings, A Headscarf, A Purple Halter Top

Step aside, Sienna Miller. Boho has scored a new queen: me, the summer I dressed like this uniformly.
18 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Anna Stern
What: A Fuzzy Pink Hat, A Purple Blazer, A Vest, A Black Polo Shirt


“HATS!” — the 2000s
19 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Anna Stern
What: Another Hat

And underneath this hat? Another hat.
20 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Anna Stern & Summer Roberts
What: A White, Layering Sweater; A Simple Cardigan

And if we can all unite over anything in this world, it’s that — more than likely — we owned no less than 42 of these sweaters each.
21 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Seth Cohen & Anna Stern
What: All Of It (Even The Scenery In The Background, Not Joking)

I hate it and I’m scared, and we deserve to be upset for having allowed this to happen.
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22 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Summer Roberts & Julie Cooper
What: A White Cotillion Dress, A Black Cotillion Dress

Seriously, any time anything upsetting happens, remember this photograph, because these dresses (and those gloves) are somehow responsible.
23 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Alex Kelly
What: A Pleated Denim Miniskirt, A Studded Belt, Fishnets, A Fauxhawk (Help Us All)

At some point, yes, a few of us went down the rabbit hole. Our days of polos briefly came to an end, and we were ready for more. So, enter: Alex and her bevy of dark colors, tall hair, and the promise that if you dressed like her, you would be offered a job at a bar. Or, you would at least get to see Death Cab for Cutie live. Neither worked out for me, which explains the hardware-store vest.
24 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Alex Kelly
What: Graphic T-shirt, Scarf

It was actually via all our discarded scarves of the early 2000s that this one was born.
25 of 25
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Who: Summer Roberts, Seth Cohen, Marissa Cooper, & Ryan Atwood
What: Boho Crop Top, Cargo Pants, Printed Button-Up, Ryan Atwood’s Leather Bracelet

What we see here is painful, yes, but we must stare it right in the face if we’re ever going to understand. At some point, television told us to fall in love with a man-boy named Ryan whose favorite accessory was a leather bracelet he wore when in emotional turmoil. Did it represent his attachment to Chino? His rebellion? A gift he got for free when he bought enough pairs of socks? Alas, we shall never know. But that doesn’t mean we won’t forget.
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