I’ll admit that I’m generally fond of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. As a kid I watched all their straight-to-VHS movies about saving the wild west and meeting cute boys in Hawaii, which helps me now when I’m doing those things in real life. But I must say: Their latest clothing line, Olsenboye, is even worse than their acting.
I was more than just disappointed by the affordable collection
(available at JCPenny) — I was confused. These girls know fashion, and they know merchandising. Fame made the Olsens into total moguls before they could even get driver’s licenses. They raked in so much with lifestyle brands that movies probably became an unnecessary annoyance.
As young adults, they’re celebrities who don’t really do anything but get snapped by paparazzi, looking chic and too small for their sunglasses and venti Starbucks cups. They became style icons and single-handedly (er, double-handedly?) ushered in the Great Boho Craze of the year 2000-and-whatever with their penchant for undone hair and oversized everything. They’re always stylish, so it’s a good thing they’ve stayed relevant by designing clothes instead of spewing out needless pop albums or becoming irritating spokes models for diseases no one has forgotten about.
The Row is free of prints and full of cool silhouettes:
Hunting Dress in Black, $550. Check out the artsy website.
Elizabeth and James is a line with similar designer prices, but more personality:
“Cheyenne” Horseshoe Print Silk Shirt, $265 at Bloomingdale’s.
I don’t know how the same ladies would even nod at the sketches of what was to become Olsenboye. The spring/summer collection looks like Victoria’s Secret Pink apparel sewn by blind children. Most items are covered in peace signs and adhere to an obnoxious palette of neon pink and yellow or uselessly see-through white.
They’ve gotten used to producing thousand-dollar schoolboy blazers, but is this really all they could do at the $24-50 price point?
They’ll end up with even less of a return, because it’s not flying off the shelves. All the following prices are sale prices.
Figure-Destroying Plaid Dress, $24.99
You wouldn’t think something as simple as a tablecloth could make your boobs disappear AND add 6 inches to your thigh area.
Burnout Vest, $17.99
I tried this on in the ever-popular burnout fabric and a striped pattern. However, the “shark bite” cut looked awkward. Sizing was strange, and buttons had already fallen off some of them. Once unbuttoned, it looks like a wholly useless scrap of fabric hanging off your body. Pass.
Slouchy Hobo Bag, $19.99
Lame shape, ugly sweatshirt fabric, and a flower tacked on. The “slouchy hobo” (their naming, not mine) is a good description.
Boyfriend shorts, $17.99
In another example of honest advertising, we can clearly see that these shorts would look gross on anyone.
Just when I was about to identify the main problem with Olsenboye as a complete lack of imagination and risk-taking, I saw this:
Jumper Top, $17.99
WTF? I’d rather just wear the stupid fake-vintage sports tee underneath.
So here’s the real problem: they’re marketing to tweens, basically, but tweens are too obsessed with High School Musical or Twilight or whatever to care who the Olsens are. The only girls who’d give a damn are in their 20s and simply admire them for their sense of high fashion.
So, if you’re near a JCPenny, check out Charlotte Ronson’s line instead. It’s called I Heart Ronson and was not designed by a child star.
I Heart Ronson Pocket Tank, $12.99