There was a time when we, too, resisted the lure of MTV's painfully staged "reality" show, The City. But, as we're sure you're probably well aware, to watch one episode of The Hills spinoff is to launch a love-hate relationship that will continue through many an episode of backstabbing, tearjerking, and label-mongering. And, as we've discovered, The City has also proven to be an invaluable style guide, or moreso, a veritable what-not-to-wear manual chock-full of cautionary fashion tales. We've rounded up our top five list of Fashion Don'ts gleaned from the episodes so far. Read on for tips against wearing trees as headbands, matching with your frenemy, and making plaid your signature.
1. Wearing the same outfit as the roommate you're feuding with on the most loaded holiday of the year: In Episode 9, Adam decides to kick his "best mate" Jay out of his apartment so he can continue his failing courtship with Allie. If we were Jay, we would suck it up like the cool downtown man he's supposed to be and start looking for holes in Bushwick to crawl into. But instead, Jay shows up at a New Year's Eve party in Midtown wearing almost the exact same outfit as his frene-mate, except he lets Adam outdo him a notch! Because whereas Jay's black tophat and vest make him look somewhere between a ringmaster and Willy Wonka, at least Adam understands the ridiculousness of such a proposition by making his vest and tophat have shiny silver sequins on it. Starting off 2009 by being the homeless Scrooge McDuck in the corner? Not exactly a happy new year.
2. Headgear as a walking target versus fashionable accessory: Now we love a good head-piece as much as the next gal. Veils, bows, barrettes—bring them on. But Erin is a living lesson of what happens when headgear can go oh-so wrong. Take, for example, that wreath she wears to the holiday party at this mysterious guy Smooth's loft in Episode 9. "I thought it was mistletoe but apparently it's holly!" a bedecked Erin explains to both boyfriend present and boyfriend past, ring of leaves around her head. To this, boyfriend-past JR says, in what is probably the only smart remark we've ever heard him make, "Well it couldn't be mistletoe because then you'd be the only person under it." Ouch.
3. Wearing a "timeless" outfit to a rock concert you're not on time for:Olivia is more Bergdorf's than Beatrice, so we're willing to cut her a little slack on the fact that she does not know how to accessorize appropriately for a down-and-dirty rock concert at The Cutting Room. But she's definitely smart enough to know a white DvF blazer would not do the trick, and thus had only planned on doing multiple outfit changes to purposefully make Whitney late to her boyfriend's gig. So because we live in the real world, one in which the ability to make friends is considered a virtue and drycleaning bills make more of a dent in our wallets than they would in Olivia's shiny Chanel clutch, please: Do not be that girl who stands out from the rest of the beer-swilling crowd in a pressed-and-pristine ensemble, which is kind of the sartorial equivalent of having a giant "I Don't Belong Here" sign plastered on your forehead.
4. Making plaid the symbol of your "downtown" persona: Woe to Jay, his band, and everyone else who's somehow made plaid synonymous with American Apparel hipsters and dive bar dirtbags. If The City had a wardrobe department, which we wouldn't put past them, then we can imagine the stylist telling Jay and Co. that plaid somehow symbolizes their innate "downtownness," sort of like how Olivia's Birkin is supposed to symbolize wealth. But really, Jay, when you're talking about how hungover you are for the millionth time in that raggedy plaid button-down, you're just spoiling it for the rest of us who actually wear our checks without a side of douchebaggery.
5. Loading up on eye make-up when you know you're about to lose all your marbles: It's not that we don't appreciate a sexy smokey eye, but more that we wouldn't want it running all over our face. And yet, that seems to be exactly what our oft-wronged girl Allie seems to be fond of, because how else could you explain her penchant for wearing the darkest possible eye make-up to all her meetings with Adam, which, as we all know, inevitably ends in tears? Whether it's in Episode 6, where Allie wears raccoon eyes to MercBar, or in Episode 10, when she tells Adam she's getting her own place, Allie unfailingly lets her mascara smear all over her brokenhearted cheeks. On the upside, perhaps she's trying to convey to passerby that Adam has punched her and given her a black eye or something of the like, thereby bringing more pity to her cause.
There you have it, folks. Think you have more style wisdom to impart upon our hopelessly lost members of The City? Please, leave them here!