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Big Little Lies is an extremely delicious show about a bunch of gorgeous, hyperarticulate, abjectly miserable women driving their kids all the fuck over Monterey while plotting one another’s murders. The show isn’t really meant to be lifestyle porn, in that it undercuts the idea of “women having it all” and replaces it with “women having a lot of it, but also one of them is literally murdered.” In fact, one might argue that the show is a subversion of lifestyle porn in that it demonstrates just how thin the veneer is between a fire-pit-studded patio and the boiling chaos of the human psyche.
The thing is, when these ladies aren’t dealing with abusive husbands and barely suppressed rage and probably sociopathic children, they’re standing in front of floor-to-ceiling ocean-view windows sporting Gucci blazers and sipping sparkling rosé. During these scenes, I — the impressionable and relatively penniless viewer — happen to find my mind drifting to questions like, Hm, how can I become rich and hot enough to move to Monterey and throw a daily beachside tantrum? So sue me, Celeste!!!!
If you, too, are a morally vacuous person who watches a show about despondent people physically and mentally harming one another and thinks, Yes, I would like this life, read on to find out how you can approximate it from the lesser comforts of your own non-waterfront non-mansion.
Madeline Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon)
Madeline Mackenzie possesses an aspirational amount of pettiness and print dresses and has a radical appreciation for bawdy puppetry. Her vibe is very “Draper James, minus the sneaking suspicion that the person wearing this Draper James owns a Confederate flag.” Racked, which scooped me by mere hours by writing this piece straight and with actual sources, notes that costume designer Alix Friedberg puts Madeline in a lot of Carolina Herrera and Tory Burch. Translation for us not-millionaires: You win, Reese. Draper James it is.
Alienate your second husband at sunset in this extremely cheerful $165 sweater. In lieu of flowers, this sweater “features a fresh watermelon motif — how cute is that, y’all?” Very!!! In lieu of a massive patio, you can find some kind of sprawling parking lot.
Tell your colleague to fuck themselves on the head in these $14 Forever 21 leggings and this $23 bright-pink Under Armour shirt. Yoga is expensive, but running from people is free, and you just told somebody to fuck themselves on the head. This $30 distressed beach wall plaque from Wayfair will go perfectly with your maple syrup (organic if possible, but not required) and children who resent you because they think that you resent them.
Take shots in broad daylight, either on a fancy dock or inside a well-lit bathroom stall, in this $88 Chill With Me Boyfriend blazer from Tobi (unclear if, sartorially, you are asking your boyfriend to chill with you, or casually asking someone else to chill with your boyfriend). Temper your roiling existential crisis with this lovely Tulip Embellishment Collection dress, which is $350 from Draper James, a place I am increasingly realizing is not at all inexpensive.
Alienate your second husband at sunset in this $169 blue cashmere sweater from Barney’s … Warehouse.
Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman)
Celeste Wright is a retired lawyer who looks like Nicole Kidman with bangs and has regularly passionate sex with her hot young husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), who looks like Alexander Skarsgård if he were a traveling billionaire salesman. The only problem with Celeste’s life is that Perry is wildly abusive and tends to choke her mid-conversation, which then leads to a round of said passionate sex. Anyhoo! Her clothes.
Friedberg explains that while she focuses on cozy fabrics and soft palettes for Celeste, Nicole Kidman “really does look good in absolutely everything.” This is not the case for people who are not Nicole Kidman. With this hard truth in mind, please note that this $178 camel turtleneck sweater from Revolve will make you look OK, depending on your skin tone; camel is kind of a tough one, but you know what’s best and I trust you.
Find your zen when your charmingly narcissistic friends rest their limbs on you without asking in this $58 tan trench coat from Old Navy. Neither Celeste nor Nicole Kidman would be caught dead in Old Navy, but if they were, their corpses would look incredible in it.
Run screaming from your own nightmarish but glam life or, if this does not apply, go upstairs and post a cute Facebook photo of your twins (Facebook = free) in this $50 gray open-front cardigan from Gap, which, again, would disintegrate if Nicole Kidman looked at it.
This $22.50 black kimono from Forever 21 would commit suicide if it knew that Nicole Kidman existed, but you should wear it the next time you have Skype sex with your psychotic spouse. Skype is the great equalizer; international calls are free on Skype.
Bonnie Carlson (Zoë Kravitz)
Like the actress who plays her, Bonnie Carlson is so effortlessly, coolly beautiful that it haunts me. An extremely chill yoga teacher who knows where Planned Parenthood is and grinds with herself at children’s birthday parties, Bonnie is the kind of woman who would pick up a gasoline-soaked rag on the side of the highway, wear it to Coachella, and induce a nationwide gasoline-rag shortage. In lieu of wearing a gasoline rag, because they are now extinct, here are some other outfits you can try to wear, but honestly, you will never be Bonnie, no offense!!!!!
Make people feel stupid at their own children’s birthday parties with this $10 paisley sundress from Boohoo. I can’t promise this will work if you are not Zoë Kravitz.
Make uncomfortable social situations cute again in this $25 cowlneck tunic boho fringe western-style sweater from Poshmark. Pair it with these $20 polka-dot pants and nobody will notice if you just stare at an unspecified point on the horizon while other people debase themselves.
Wear this strappy sports bra by Carrie Underwood (?) and these $22 tie-dyed yoga pants from Etsy to yoga class with your husband’s ex, or to get ready to do yoga to a YouTube video, but then decide you’re too tired, and just watch an episode of Big Little Lies instead.
Throw this $75 Free People duster cardigan over your sports bra to do other exciting things that you definitely do every day, like drop your kids off at school in a gigantic sports utility vehicle, nod agreeably when your husband’s ex-wife confronts you, and watch Big Little Lies (your apartment is poorly heated).
Renata Klein (Laura Dern)
Renata Klein is like if Sheryl Sandberg was eaten by a shark but didn’t die, and instead just sort of operated the shark from inside of it. Renata Klein named her daughter Amabella, not Annabella, because fuck you. Friedberg notes that she dresses Renata in a lot of black and in extremely expensive designers, like Alaia and Roland Mouret. Dying to dress like a power bottom with the budget of Gaddafi, but you’re on the actual budget of Garfield? Let’s try together.
Threaten to kill your peer for diverting attention away from your child’s birthday party (or, if this does not apply, your spontaneous bar crawl) in these $158 J Brand jeans (on sale from $200, so you can spend more money on the bouncy-house insurance). This $83 Ice B Iceberg blazer just screams, “I am going to fuck you up, but first let me finish my Sancerre.”
Realize that you, like Renata, have become tragically un-fun and will eventually die in this flirty $14 scoop-neck purple skater dress from Boohoo. Fuck your partner of choice in an office bathroom to shake off thoughts of your mortality, but please keep your $50 crochet lace maternity blazer from A Pea in the Pod on while you do so (sex leads to pregnancy).
Join the board of PayPal and/or get a PayPal account, then lord it over your frenemies in this $60 houndstooth trench from Amtify. Melt and bend an errant silver pipe into a DIY necklace that can double as a weapon.
“Women: you all want to be the envy of your friends, but god forbid you garner too much of it.” The next time A Man says this to you, be sure to be wearing this $89 Vince Camuto blouse, with giant bell sleeves perfect for hiding his body in after you destroy him.
Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley)
Jane Chapman, the only person on this show who does not own a portion of the ocean, dresses like we do already. We did it!Share