Kristin Cavallari Talks Laguna Beach Fashion: ‘No One Gave a Sh*t What We Were Wearing’

From the moment she first graced the screen on Laguna Beach in 2004, Kristin Cavallari quickly established herself as a reality TV icon. From her mismatched bikinis to her brutal honesty and one-liners, she was a forceful presence set against the picture-perfect backdrop of Orange County. Early on, MTV producers branded her as the series’ villain, focusing on a love triangle between Cavallari, her on-off boyfriend Stephen Colletti, and her alleged rival, Lauren Conrad. She gave us tons of attitude, drama-filled trips to Cabo, and, perhaps most importantly, the word “dunzo.”

Now, 18 years after the show premiered, the mom of three and Uncommon James founder is taking a cue from the show’s theme song and going back…back to the beginning. She’s teamed up with Colletti to relive the highs and lows of high school for their new Laguna Beach rewatch podcast, aptly titled Back to the Beach. In addition to reminiscing about the themed parties and teenage feuds of each episode, the exes reveal the authenticity of every scene. “It’s been really eye-opening and therapeutic to watch the show again and break things down with Steven,” Cavallari tells “I have a much more positive outlook on it than I did back in the day, because I was so emotionally invested in it at the time. I feel like now I can really close the door on it.”

Some might shudder at the thought of watching a past relationship unfold on-camera, not to mention the added layer of recapping it with the ex in question. But Cavallari isn’t fazed; in fact, she gets why some fans still ship them as a couple today. “We were each other’s first loves, and we’ll always have that respect and admiration for one another,” she says. “We obviously still have chemistry, just not in that way. But I do love him, and I’m really happy that we’re able to have such a good friendship now. I think it’s sweet that people are rooting for us, so I hate to break it to everybody, but we’re not gonna get back together—it’s just not gonna happen.”

Still, Cavallari understands the public’s continued interest in her relationships—a love triangle is, of course, what made her famous in the first place. “People always have their opinions about who I should be dating,” she says. “I feel like I’m walking a fine line between being candid and keeping things private.” Two years after her split from ex-husband Jay Cutler, she feels more comfortable opening up about her personal life. “I think the dating stuff is funny and relatable, because it’s what I’m really going through,” she says. “I actually feel like I’m in the best place for dating right now, because I have three kids and I’m successful. I don’t need a man in my life for anything other than to bring me joy; I don’t have a ticking time bomb. It’s a really great position to be in, and my life feels pretty peaceful for the most part.”

She may be drama-free these days, but while revisiting her teen experience for Back to the Beach, Cavallari has grown to appreciate certain aspects of life as it was. “Your high school years are so great because you don’t have that much responsibility yet,” she says. “There’s a lot of freedom, and I’m nostalgic for the simplicity of life. But at 35, I’m just way more comfortable in my skin.” She’s also more confident in her fashion choices. “As a kid, I didn’t really have any style,” says Cavallari. “I look back at photos and laugh—I don’t cringe, because everybody was wearing this stuff. But at 17, I didn’t care about fashion; it wasn’t even on my radar. That’s why it’s so authentic: I have a zit in every other scene, my hair’s a mess. I did not put effort into filming whatsoever, and that was the beauty of it. No one gave a shit what we were wearing.”

Early aughts viewers—who likely rushed to Abercrombie & Fitch en masse after each episode, in the hopes of recreating the cast’s casual-cool looks—may beg to differ. Here, Cavallari revisits 10 of her iconic outfits from Laguna Beach.

Season 2, Episode 27: “I Saw You Kiss Her”

“I lived in jeans in a tank top. That was my uniform. I actually forgot that I used to layer the tank tops—I would usually wear a white one that would hang lower, and then have another color on top of it. Couldn’t tell you why! I guess that’s just what we did at the time. Those bamboo bangles are awful [laughs]. I don’t know where I got them or what I was thinking. And then clearly I loved a statement earring, which is funny, because I rarely will do a statement earring now.”

Season 2, Episode 26: “The End of the Beginning”

“The bamboo bracelets are back! They’re a staple. This is a Rolling Stones T-shirt which, honestly, I would probably still wear today. I’m still a fan of the Rolling Stones. It’s funny because, during filming, we had so many scenes and always had to have a new wardrobe. Over nine months, that’s a lot of clothes that I didn’t have money for. So any T-shirt I could get my hands on, it was like, ‘Here we go! This is what I’m wearing.’”

Season 2, Episode 26: “The End of the Beginning”

“So this actually was not my T-shirt; I want to say that it was Alex’s shirt. Again, it was like, “I need something to wear for this scene that we’re gonna film.” It just so happened to be kind of a funny saying—and for a high school kid, no less. So that’s great. [Laughs.] I don’t even think at the time I realized what it meant, to be honest. I think I just put it on and didn’t even think about it.”

Season 1, Episode 1: “A Black & White Affair”

“I said this on the podcast, but I would definitely wear that white dress today. It was timeless so, you know, good move on my part! It’s funny because that was one of the real things on the show, that I was the only one who wore a white dress to the black and white party. That was not done by MTV—that was all me. [Laughs.] I stand by that dress. I want to say it was BCBG or something, and I’m sure the bag was probably Coach.”

Season 1, Episode 2: “The Bonfire”

“Here’s the uniform again: black choker, tank top, jeans. Boom! I’m also wearing two tank tops there—I think I have a black one under the white one, actually. The black choker was for sure my signature. I literally didn’t take that thing off for months. That was my thing.”

Season 1, Episode 8: “Grin & Bear It”

“We went camping here. We loved our trucker hats back in the day—those might be the one thing that I wouldn’t be mad at if they came back, and I do feel like they are coming back a little bit. I would maybe wear a trucker hat here or there. Not necessarily Von Dutch. [Laughs.] God, Ed Hardy and Von Dutch are all over Laguna Beach. It’s so bad, but it was such a time. I do still love a sweats moment though, and I live in sweats at my house. So that’s me right there: sweatshirt, hat.”

Season 1, Episode 11: “Dunzo”

“I literally lived in jeans. I’m sure they were True Religions, always with a little flare at the bottom, which I would never be caught dead in now. The other thing about jeans back then was that they were super low-cut. Now you could not pay me to wear a low-cut jean—mine are all high-waisted. But this look was a little preppy for me, so I’m surprised I went that route. I would never be caught dead in that shirt today, either. This one is probably my least favorite. I just don’t know what I was thinking.”

Season 2, Episode 4: “More Than Friends”

“This sweater does not seem like me. I honestly feel like it was another thing I could get my hands on. I don’t even know if it was mine. Actually, [if that’s an Abercrombie & Fitch logo,] then it was probably mine [laughs.]”

Season 2, Episode 5: “Winter Formal”

“What I notice even more than the dress is those godawful extensions. This is not my favorite dress, but it could have been worse. A little silk blue moment for winter formal. Not the worst. Not my best. I hate metallic shoes, so it’s funny that I’m wearing them.”

Season 2, Episode 6: “I Hate Valentine’s Day”

“This was Valentine’s Day, so clearly I was wearing red to just really do it. It’s funny because now I would do the opposite—I would never want to do what’s expected. But obviously in high school, I did. So I wore jeans and a red top because it was Valentine’s Day. I don’t think I even own any red anymore.”

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