Few moments on reality TV are as iconic as Lauren Conrad’s delivery of “Homeboy Wore Fighting Boots to the Beach.” The line comes in response to The hills’ bad boy Justin Bobby leaving Audrina Patridge at a bonfire without even a goodbye. To comfort his friend, Conrad turns to the insult of the man who wronged him in the language she knows best: fashion.
When The hills Created 15 years ago, the style of the cast was firmly rooted in the cultural contradictions of the mid-2000s. The excess of celebrity creators like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian was celebrated, but with the help of the popular teen show CO, laid back beach culture was all the rage. American celebrity culture was also undergoing a seismic shift, thanks to the growing popularity of the tabloids, which captured them strutting around town in Juicy Couture tracksuits and Uggs rather than the usual red carpet ready looks. “It was a mix of ups and downs,” says Robin Lewis West, costume designer and 2000s expert who worked on shows like CO and Gilmore Girls.
The hills’ the camera captured the cast’s high and low fashion moments in equal measure, from their huge designer handbags and bug-eyed sunglasses to their low-rise jeans and velor hoodies. As Wealthy beach town girls with plenty of time and money on their hands, the resulting fashion from the cast is an interesting mix of Chanel and $ 15 flip flops, branded denim with cheap white camisoles on top – but never any combat boots on the beach (they knew better). As we celebrate the anniversary of The hills Amid a 2000s style resurgence, West is breaking down some of the show’s most iconic fashion trends.
Accessories on Accessories
The accessory philosophy of the 2000s was more is more. The necklaces were stacked, the charm bracelets were chunky, and the headbands were an almost constant addition (hello, Blair Waldorf). LC was a huge headband head, using fun designs and serious prints depending on the occasion. But for the evening hours, everyone on The hills was adorned with layered necklaces, dangling earrings and voluminous accessories. “It was all about the long layered necklaces,” West says. No outfit could be dull with one.
Low waist jeans
“It was embroidered and dazzling pockets, True Religion, 7’s, Hudsons, lots of wide, low waist belts, tunics over jeans,” West explains. “Jeans were an ever-changing thing, a little flare, a little thinner, but they were really low – no one was wearing anything high waisted.” West, for his part, doesn’t look back angrily: “I like low waist pants, I think it’s a lot sexier, I think they look really good.” Audrina from 2007 would agree.
The exit top can be defined as an extravagant but reasonable shirt that is worn – probably with jeans – to stand out. They are best worn for 2000s activities, like going to a trendy sushi restaurant or meeting your RP friends at their event. Lauren, Heidi, Lo and Audrina all wear their fair share of tops for their nights out on the town. “There were a lot of halters, babydolls, a lot of metal, ruffles, western-style tops,” West explains. “I never see tops like that again, but they were really fun.”
The coolest handbag you could have in 2006 was something huge, with lots of pockets, zippers, and little string hanging from it. “The big brands were Chanel, Dior and Tylie from Malibu,” West explains. Everyone on The hills loved to carry those big, soft handbags over their shoulder in dramatic moments – but what were they wearing in those glamorous bags?
Tracksuits & Hoodies
As much as the 2000s were a time of excess, they were also a time of comfort. Audrina, Heidi and Lauren all wore their fair share of Juicy Couture hoodies and velor tracksuits at various races and hanging out in their extravagant apartments. “It was really influenced by the beach style, pairing tiny skirts with a hoodie and Uggs,” West notes. Just because something is laid back doesn’t mean it can’t make a statement – call it The hills style in a nutshell.