At last! An Instagram account dedicated to 00s style staple, “jeans and a nice top”
It’s fail safe. Fool proof. Positively unimpeachable! For decades we have depended on this outfit recipe; the age old pairing of denim jeans and a going-out-top. And in my humble opinion, never has this formula flourished more than in the noughties. 2003 to be precise. Because I'm nothing if not passionately/weirdly meticulous about random topics that bear little to no consequence.
I know what you’re thinking, “Sarks, why that year?”, “what happened that year that makes it your beacon of reference for this think piece about Levis and camisoles that nobody asked for?”
I’ll tell you why! Two words - no wait - one word, two letters - no wait… Never mind.
Hitting our small screens in 2003, The O.C. was a zeitgeist-y, sudsy teen drama about coastal Californian excess and the beautiful teens that came of age in the thick of it. And quite frankly, I did nothing short of live my little life by it.
So naturally, when I came across an Instagram account sharing my enthusiasm for the sartorial splendour of The O.C., I felt compelled to share it. So drop the needle on some Death Cab for Cutie, open IG and clear your schedules people - I give you @spaghettistrapsoftheOC.
Correction, Emilia Petrarca, fashion news writer for The Cut at New York Magazine gives you @spaghettistrapsofTheOC. An Instagram account dedicated to chronicling the vast array of going-out-tops Marissa, Summer, et al donned in the show. It promises “the best tops from the best show” and I couldn’t be more thrilled it exists. (Petrarca is also the proprietor of an account dedicated to the fashion choices on The Sopranos sooo there goes next weekend!)
In my recent quest to rid my Instagram feed of accounts continually trying to sell me something (in the immortal words of Summer, “ew.”), accounts like this are a use of social media I can really get behind. Pure, hashtag not sponsored, enjoyment with a side of genuine sentimentality. For a while there, my top spot on the ‘gram was @pastagrannies, but - mi dispiace Nonne - Sarksy’s got a brand new feed favourite! @spaghettistrapsoftheOC has giddily sent me all the way down memory lane and I’ll be sure to send you a postcard, because I ain’t coming back!
This feels like a good time to caveat, my interest in actually rewatching the program is slim to none. I’m just here for the memories. I already know that my 2019 eyes would find quite a few things about it problematic - real "sign of the times-y” stuff and I’m thankful television has come along way since then.
But back then, The O.C. was my idée fixe. By comparison, everything else in my life was rendered utterly immaterial. This was inconvenient because, at the time, I was also beginning my final two years of High School. So, while I was declaring 2003 “Year of The O.C.”, my parents were advocating 2003 “Time to Study”. But I guess I couldn’t hear them from all the way over at Boarding School? And I’m sorry Folks, school work doesn’t stand a chance against a hot new TV show and a hundred teenage girls.
I’ll tell you what did stand in our way though, our compulsory nightly study ran half an hour over The O.C. starting time (I know, how very dare they!). Such was my devotion to the show, I single handedly petitioned our Head of Boarding and our School Principal to allow any interested students (so, everyone) to leave the dining hall half an hour early on “O.C. Night”. Despite resulting in a once a week feeding frenzy I’m not proud of starting, it meant we could begin studying early thusly finish in time to get bums on beanbags by those first few piano notes of Phantom Planet’s California.
I’m sure that won’t be the greatest achievement of my entire life, but I’ll be honest, not a lot has topped it so far.
And so began the infatuation. We’d spend the, frankly torturous, week between episodes debating what was going to happen next and whether we were Marissas or Summers (between you and me, while desperately claiming to be “such a Summer”, I knew deep down that I was, in fact, a Seth). But nothing occupied our time more than (poorly) knocking off every single fashion cue we could manage.
So now, thanks to Instagram and @spaghettistrapsoftheOC, I get to relive these sartorial milestones all over again. In the almost 16 years since that show’s reign over my tiny teenage existence, I can't say I've strayed too far from the “jeans and a nice top” M.O. But I swear, on the spirit of Marissa Cooper, I’ve burned all evidence of tiny bolero jackets, pointless belts, long beaded necklaces, skinny scarves, low, low, sooo very low-rise jeans - honestly, I could go all day, 00s fashion was bleak.
For someone as schmaltzy as me, @spaghettistrapsoftheOC is more than an homage to the “jeans and a nice top” tradition and it’s early 2000s apogee. It packs a powerful punch of nostalgia and how palpably that’s felt is largely due to the particular time in my life that it transports me back to. Any prevailing popular culture during the time of our youth will always inform us, at least in part, whenever we think of who we are. So, that those handful of adolescent years that were so incredibly formative to my lasting identity, are the same very ones during which I did nothing but happily/maniacally worship a TV show is a beautiful thing and will be lovingly mused upon every chance I get.
Like that stack of old comic books* I just can’t throw out, @spaghettistrapspftheOC is an express ticket to yesteryear, and I am all aboard.
*Told you I was a Seth.