Hello, world: Lara and Chris here, and like a lot of people with access to MTV in the late '00s, we watched the beautiful mess that was Jersey Shore.
For anyone who doesn't know, Jersey Shore was a show that aired on MTV from 2009 through 2012. It was about a group of Italian-Americans who lived in a house with a bunch of twin beds from Ikea for a couple of months at a time. They would drink excessive amounts of alcohol and get little sleep. It was the recipe for a perfect reality TV show!
Being the twentysomethings that we are, a lot of our college experience was kind of defined by watching Jersey Shore with friends and dressing up like the cast members for themed parties, screaming "CABS ARE HEYAH," even when there were zero taxicabs within a mile of us. Look, we're not proud. Moving on.
It has been five years since the show last aired on MTV, so we decided to dress like our fave cast members for a week and see how it felt. Would we miss this style and hope to bring it back? Would anyone even notice? Would we start wearing more animal prints and hair gel? Would we feel ridiculous? (Yes.) Chris chose Pauly D, and Lara chose Snooki, obviously.
The rules were pretty simple:
1. We would choose five outfits each and re-create them one day at a time.
2. We would make ourselves go out in public at least two to three times during the experiment.
3. We wouldn't tell people what the outfits were for unless we were specifically asked.
4. We would refrain from saying "grenade" at all costs.
Here's how the week went:
The "Shore Store" Outfit
Lara's thoughts on this look: First of all, the Shore Store is somehow still in business. I wonder if Danny sent me this shirt. (I can dream.) This outfit would've been like, doable, had it not been for the sideways hat. For some reason, that was the most offensive part to me. Gigantic rhinestone belt that weighed 10 pounds? Sure. Sideways trucker hat? Please, no. There are a lot of things I loved about the '00s, but the side hat is definitely not one of them and I refuse to ever have a part in something like that again. I got to work 40 MINUTES EARLY while wearing this, just to avoid seeing people. While I respect Snooki and her dedication to rhinestones, count me the fuck out.
The "That's a Lot of Leopard" Outfit
Lara's thoughts on this look: THESE. BOOTS. You know what? I actually liked wearing these boots. I know everyone and their mom had some shit to say about these boots back in the day, but why??? They are so comfy. I felt like an absolute idiot walking around in this. I think the arm bands really sealed the deal for me. I had to stop and get gas on my way to work wearing this and even though literally no one was looking at me, I felt like everyone was. I almost yelled at them, "IT'S FOR A WORK THING, OK????" No one cared. But I did.
The "Bedazzled Glasses and Exposed Shoulder" Outfit
Lara's thoughts on this look: Oh my goddddd, these glasses. I honestly couldn't believe I even found them to purchase. But guess what? You too can wear these glasses for just $5, plus shipping. Fair warning, they have a 2.5-star rating. I WONDER WHY?? I'll tell you why. It's because they suck. You literally can't even see out of them. What is the freaking point???? The rest of this outfit was fine, even though I had trouble finding a bedazzled off-the-shoulder dress. I would most likely wear it again, even the damn hat. But the glasses? WHY, SNOOKI???
The "Personalized Bandana and a Shirt That Says 'Get Naked' for Some Reason" Outfit
Lara's thoughts on this look: You can't see it in this picture, but those shorts I had to wear IN FRONT OF MY COWORKERS have two gigantic skulls on the butt. I just... Where do I even begin with this? I wore a trench coat over this on my way to work before realizing that nothing could hide the bandana-and-glasses combo from the world. To say I felt outside of my comfort zone is a huge understatement. I hated every second of wearing this. Why does the shirt say "Get naked"? What's with the glasses again?? The one upside is that this bandana made it so I didn't have to do anything to my hair. I didn't even wash it. Maybe she is onto something after all.
The "Snooki Bump and Leopard Dress" Outfit
Lara's thoughts on this look: *starts crying remembering what it was like to wear this around people I respect.* The thing about this outfit is, Snooki looks awesome. I mean, it genuinely works for her. The same cannot be said about me, probably because I lack Snooki's confidence. I had to purchase a Bump-It (remember those?!) in order to attempt this on my sad, non-poofed hair. It was...a disaster? Also, I couldn't help but wonder, are these the earrings Snooki had to remove before she fought Angelina? I obviously won't be rocking this look anytime soon...or ever again. But I do think leopard print should come back full force.
The "Yes, That's a Ralph Lauren Polo" Outfit
Christopher's thoughts on this look: This entire outfit looks very much like something you'd find in the boys section at Kohl's. Despite the fact that I felt like I was getting dressed for my first day of third grade, I didn't necessarily hate wearing this stuff. I mean, camo is fine and polos are nice, but my greatest concern was that people wouldn't be able to tell I'd based my outfit off of Pauly D circa 2009 and they'd think this was my own stylistic creation. For Pauly, the look was natural: a bright polo with a giant jockey logo fit his loud, big personality. Me, on the other hand? This was outside the range of things I can pull off, which is why I was pretty defensive while wearing it. Anytime a stranger made even the briefest eye contact, I'd think, WTF ARE YOU STARING AT?
The "Dirty Couture" Outfit
Christopher's thoughts on this look: Despite the large shipments of hate they receive, cargo shorts are magnificent. Yes, they've got hella pockets, but why do people act like that's a bad thing? Have you ever run out of pocket space before? I have, and it's incredibly inconvenient. I used to shop at Anchor Blue back in the mid-2000s, so this outfit brought me back to that era. Of all the reasons I'm thankful for Pauly D, the fact that this experiment gave me an opportunity to wear cargo shorts again is number one. Honestly I feel like I'll wear this outfit again one day, when I've waited too long to do laundry and I spot it hanging in my depleted closet.
The "2007 AF Ed Hardy" Outfit
Christopher's thoughts on this look: The more I see this shirt, the less I hate it. It's got a nice gradient blue thing going on, there's shiny gold text, and there's even a fun lil' tiger projectile-vomiting colorful flames, or something! I was actually more bothered by the accessories I had to wear. I got my ears pierced years ago in high school (it was a phase, OK?) and surprisingly the holes were still open, so I wore some cheap earrings and a clunky watch that weighed down the entire left side of my body. Still, this outfit made me reach my innermost Pauly D, and I honestly just felt like spending the day playing LMFAO and fist-pumping.
The "CARGO SHORTS II: REVENGE OF THE POCKETS" Outfit
Christopher's thoughts on this look: Yep, back for a sequel are the most controversial bottoms in the history of fashion — cargo shorts. Truly, I'm grateful that this experiment reconnected me with cargo shorts because I hadn't worn these in years, then suddenly I got to don 'em twice in a week. This outfit is peak early-seasons Pauly D; it was his uniform when he worked at the Shore Store. And honestly, that's exactly what I looked like: a beachfront retail sales associate who has all of the Jersey-themed souvenirs one could possibly want. What undoubtedly stood out as the worst part of this getup was the backwards but also sideways, not-fully-placed-on-the-head trucker hat, which is just an unfortunate look.
The "Comfortable AF Gym" Outfit
Christopher's thoughts on this look: I'm pretty sure Pauly D wore this during GTL, but I recommend rocking a tank top and sweatpants regardless of what activities you've got planned. Initially I was worried about looking extra unprofessional or something, but honestly the clothes are so comfortable that it's impossible to care about the aesthetic aspect. No belts required, nothing tight or restrictive, everything can breath and hang loose; if being naked isn't an option, this is the next best thing. Sure, it's probably the least Jersey Shore-y outfit of 'em all, but kudos to Paul DelVecchio for prioritizing comfort over conspicuousness for his chill attire.