Why can’t I stop staring at these pictures of Aly & AJ Michalka?

As of late, the resurgence of trends from the 80s and 2000s have inarguably frequented the runway and retail scope. Granted, it’s only natural that these two eras coexist – the 80’s serve as the grandmother of the 2000’s – both consumed with glamour and extravagance. Except, I always found the 2000’s to be the shameful, ‘unplanned pregnancy’ of a grandchild: slightly raunchy, hard to look at, but hard to look away.

Enter Alyson & Amanda (AJ) Mickalka. A few days ago I was engaging in some casual fashion research. My searches consisted of the likes of the Olsen twins and Hilary Duff  (Lizzie McGuire era). During my search, the image below found it’s way to the related images and ever since I have not been able to erase it from my mind.

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If you’re an early-to-mid nineties baby, you may remember growing up with Aly & AJ and their short-lived musical career as a duo. Or you may possibly only remember Aly, who starred as Keely Teslow in Phil of the Future. Whether or not you even know who they are, does this picture make you feel weird? I’ve spent a significant amount of my time looking at images from various decades for references, but this one made me question everything. How did we, as fashion people, get to this point? Unicorn poncho? Jeans scrunched on top of boots? The braids, the belt…

This prompted further research.

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I really just don’t think I understand what is going on. Aly’s (left) outfit looks like she had five separate people pick out each item in some sort of “Friends Pick Out My Clothes” Youtube Challenge. This definitely makes me feel better about what I was wearing in 2005 (is it possible that I was actually trendy back then?).

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Fashion research is usually an exhilarating and stimulating experience. And, yes, my interest is piqued by the 2000s, but these iterations are met with a tinge of repugnance. At least Lizzie McGuire had a cohesive aesthetic – the Michalka sisters just seem confused. My hope is that we have enough awareness to learn from past mistakes and never wear legwarmers with peep toe pumps again.

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