A retrospective of Mary-Kate Olsen's best style moments
You wish you were her
If you want to test someone on their love for noughties fashion — insert eye roll for every time you've heard someone go "my style is sooo Y2K" — here's a trick question to ask: Who is your favourite Olsen?
If your answer is Elizabeth, then I would politely invite you to click right out, go to ebay and buy up every single tabloid from 2004 - 2010 (Star Magazine and Us Weekly are my faves) because the only correct answer is Mary-Kate. (Yes, we don't care how much you loved The Avengers or Ingrid Goes West.) Or go through Perez Hilton's entire archive, we don't care. Either way, you need to school yourself on this Very. Important. Moment(s). In. Fashion.
Like most #fashiongirls my age, I first encountered Mary-Kate Olsen on the web; namely, on Tumblr. You know, the long-forgotten blogging site which was a digital extension of your personality.
Angsty with a slightly developing homicidal slant (forgive the hyperbole, but you know it's true), You reblogged macabre but hauntingly beautiful images and Underoath lyrics; A Manic Pixie Dream Girl with blunt bangs and a video of you playing the ukulele that's floating in the depths of YouTube; Owls + generic picnic shots + lyrics from Passion Pit. These are just the few things that made up the early teenage internet experience.
But for those of us who worshipped at the temple of Fashion, we hunted for every image of Mary Kate Olsen; the OG paragon of detached cool. Bear in mind too that this was also a time where celebrities were fighting on the television (MTV! MTV! MTV!) or just being so mentally unhinged that they volunteered to star on bizarre reality shows (R.I.P Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's Newlyweds).
While Mary-Kate Olsen might be battling a nasty divorce right now, but we're not here to talk about that. On this glorious day, we're here to chronicle her style journey because what better way to distract us from the reality that is now than to reminisce about the glorious past?
From her "gypsy lady who cons you of tarot card reading money" look to the myriads of huge bags that could literally consume her, let us discuss the style of the woman who had the audacity to attempt to sell you a USD$55,000 backpack.
The stringy pearl necklaces and lacey Sunday School dress are still relevant today; perfect for wearing to your best friend's wedding to cry in a pew because you have a long unrequited crush on him.
Come to think of it, if you swap MKO's (as we will now affectionately refer her to as) head with the It celebrities of the time — Lindsay, Sienna or Hillary — this outfit actually makes sense. Pay attention to the bag because like the emotional trauma you developed in your teens, it's only gonna get bigger with time.
The hobo — a popular bag of the early noughties — was MKO's choice of baggage, and her bag lady style was so iconic of the time that the press even gave it a name: Boho Bourgeoisie, or bobo for short. Let's not forget about the Alexander McQueen skull scarf. If you've ever bought a knock off from Far East Plaza, put your victimised hands up. No shame because we did it too.
The category is... gypsy lady who swathes herself in layers and only gives you the bad news regarding your future...but...make it fashion! We owe MKO the full credits for popularising some of the year's biggest trends; voluminous black Wiccan dresses, chunky cocktail rings and giant wide belts aka everything that was sold in Topshop during that time frame.
Coincidentally, 2008 was the year that MKO started keeping things casual. It was also the year that she stopped displaying all emotions on her face. While the look has been adopted by models running around at fashion week, it's still pretty relevant for us mere mortals. You know, the girls who wish we were the cast members of Sex And the City while watching Sex And the City.
Everybody! The year where leopard fur coats rose in sales! Also the year where a good many of us gasped at the beaten up Kelly bag that MKO was constantly toting around. It's imperative to note here too that 80% of the photos taken of MKO during this year had her wearing just black.
She's smiling!!! If you've noticed by now, MKO is really starting to take fashion seriously — like with a capital F serious. We'd like to draw attention to the Balenciaga boots she is wearing, though sans harness. Now we'd like to remind you of how we bought the knockoff version that Sam Edelman produced and how we nearly broke our ankles wearing them.
The year that MKO transformed into a bag lady was also humorously, the year Very Mary Kate was released on YouTube. While the series poked fun at the bizarre things MKO wore, none of us were strong enough to stop ourselves from purchasing giant "dump bags". Hell, I even bought one to carry in the crook of my arm. I still suffer from mild spinal misalignment thanks to it.
Strangely, it took MKO six years since her sister and her launched The Row to really embody the brand's branding. While this entire look can be shopped from the high street, you just know deep in your jealous heart that the total cost of whatever MKO is wearing might be the total household earnings of a middle class family.
The year a third Olsen popped up was also the year MKO went back to her boho roots. While it didn't really fit the theme of Punk at the Met Gala, we don't really care. IT'S MARY KATE OLSEN!!!!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, behold, a croc print tote from The Row that will set you back a humble US$80,000. This was also the year that her sister and her won Accessories Design of the Year so there has to be people out buying their stuff... right?
You see these espadrilles? Well, they're Céline. How do I know? Well, I fought with someone over a pair at a Céline sale. Did I win? No. Was I emotionally, physically and mentally wounded? Yes. We don't have much to say about this outfit really. It's just MKO being eternally-chic MKO. Who knows what she's doing. She could be robbing a bodega for all we care.
Does MKO use her giant coat as a blanket in the plane? Does she not fear getting sauce or beverage spills on it? How does she stand wearing covered shoes on a plane? We have so many questions. Also, if someone is able to identify the sunglasses she is constantly wearing, please speak up.
The unexpected styling trick of the year goes to none other than MKO — wearing a cardigan as a top and layering another cardigan over. The audacity! The genius! The way we were so frickin' mind blown!!!
Everybody, this was the year we felt that MKO fully went full MKO mode. And oh yeah, her sister did too. I wonder when is it Elizabeth Olsen's turn.