So Chic, Very Chic: Your Bundles Are Showing

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

The passage of time haunts the best of us, on our good and bad days, seasons and eras and relationships and jobs starting and ending and beginning all over again, stacked on top of one another like leaves under the great big tree of life. A tree that, against all wishes, Bravo slowly chops down.

We’ve been in the longest drought of Real Housewives on air to date, a stillness temporarily broken by the premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey earlier in May. I’ve grappled with this already, and lost, my attention pulled elsewhere as the network that has come to define a decade of my career slowly loosened the hands welded firmly around my professional neck. The millennial cohort of shows was fun to play with, if for a time, but their cast don’t care very much about the finer things in life, like floral appliqués on chic black dresses, or an Hermes scarf tied like a bandeau beneath a leather trench coat and panties with Mary J. Blige x Giuseppe Zanotti boots for a dinner date in the East Village. That hasn’t happened yet on The Real Housewives of New York, but it could. It always could.

So, after a brief break to collect my thoughts, I’ve returned to the column as a form of protest. Against injustice, against the lack of knockoff designer purses, against the overwhelming number of shots on Summer House of the cast in pajamas lying in bed for eight hours a day. This week, and for all weeks after it, we’re talking about the Real Housewives. Until the millennials get stylists, or at the very least, get up out of their beds when the sun is out, we will only talk about the Real Housewives.

Let’s begin.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Marge Josephs

Mrs. Marge had a sad week. To process her feelings, she wore the funerary attire of an ancient galactic people that traded in pearls dredged up from supergiant deep sea jellyfish-clams, whom they also harvested skin from to make the gauzy white clothing their civilization became known for in the empire. There’s a lot to love, and a lot to hate, about this outfit. The two feelings are locked in the sort of duel that inspires ancient Greek writers to come up with mathematical theorems about the forces of the world around them powerful enough to one day lead to a vest covered in pearl earrings.

As a palette cleanser, Marge took a ride on her husband’s pretty little motorcycle. They could never make me hate this woman, because her tackiness has levels. One minute she’s in the Galactic Senate from the Star Wars prequels minutes before it’s nuked from orbit, and the next she’s in bottlecap sunglasses and a cutaway tank top drinking Diet Coke with a headscarf in the parking lot of a burger joint.

Danielle Cabral

Danielle has evolved this season, and for good reason. The money from associating with Teresa Giudice finally hit her bank account, and she’s shown up not in outlet mall fashions … but whatever this is! The color, for the record, is beautiful on her. The drop earrings are romantic, and the color seems made just for her. That said, since she’s allied with Teresa, I need her to get the number of the architect that works on Tre’s updos, since this one seems a bit deflated. I’m sure in person it’s 10-feet tall, but the camera makes everything look much smaller. Not her personality, though. That’s one thing Bravo could never diminish even if they tried.

Rachel Fuda

I love to do a gay gasp when watching the Real Housewives. This outfit necessitated not just one gay gasp, but the gay gasps of just about everyone I had in my phone. Then, I made them send it to everyone they had in their phones and send me the reactions, so we could start a chain of gay gasps that might heal the sickness in this country. It didn’t work, but for a moment, I believed in a world where a woman with 80-inches in her hair and a giant floral appliqué across her breasts might change the way we live. Not today it seems, but I won’t stop fighting for it.

Jackie Goldschneider

Jackie’s backie! Teresa’s former nemesis has turned state’s witness this season and allied herself with the woman who once tried to instigate a divorce. Jackie’s demotion the season prior certainly has nothing to do with it, or all that stuff she told Page Six about Marge’s alleged Ozempic usage. (Or Dolores, who straight up admitted it on Watch What Happens Live!) No answers yet on whether her association with Tre has affected her personal style like Danielle, but we can’t really rule out the possibility.

Mostly, I’m troubled by the lack of clarity I have about this dress: lime green with gold faux chains as the straps. I’m assuming chains is plural, since her side part has the other strap covered, but not that keyhole between the breasts! My god, don’t the Real Housewives just love a keyhole?

Dolores Catania

I love to sit on my couch and watch my favorite programs every week, which include The Real Housewives of Jean Paul Gaultier and Mugler Rules. At some point, I’ll grow bored of pointing out the fact that just about everything we see on television now is one or the other, but today is not that day. This blue dinosaur skin print dress is all well and good, and in fact, I suggest she keep wearing the skins of fictional creatures, instead of the real thing. My primary concern here is the amount of hair she has in her head. I’ll always support big hair, always, but when is enough, enough? And when will these women’s stylists finally learn to blend the colors in a way that isn’t immediately obvious on television? It’s not all bad, of course. Those extensions are closer to the color she should stick with anyway — more sandy than umber, really, and without those distracting, coppery highlights.

Gia Giudice

Gia is fully an adult these days and also a recurring character on this television program I love so much. With that, she’s now fair game to criticize. Lucky for her, however, I’ve got nothing to pick apart in this confessional, except for the fact that she needs a few less rings and better spray tan application around the hands so they don’t read as her natural pink on the wrist and tops when in the confessional booth. There’s probably some jewelry needed, like a small pendant or thin chain, but the dress itself is just right for an easy, breezy 20-something. This is also the fourth side part we’ve seen today, which is good news for any millennials suffering from early-onset joint pain, still nursing wounds from when people Gia’s age criticized their skinny jeans.

Melissa Gorga

She’s a cold-hearted snake! Look into her eyes! Uh oh! She’s been telling lies! She’s a loverboy at play! She don’t play by rules! Uh oh! Girl, don’t play the fool, no! You’re the one giving up the love, anytime she needs it. But you turn your back, and then she’s off and running with the crowd. You’re the one to sacrifice, anything to please her, do you really think she thinks about you when she’s out?

Photos courtesy of Bravo/ NBCUniversal Media, LLC

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