Lauren Conrad Has One Denim Regret From The Hills and Laguna Beach
While the news of The Hills reboot is beyond exciting (Audrina! Justin Bobby! Speidi!), we have to admit — the show will never be the same without Lauren Conrad.
MTV’s OG reality star currently has no plans to return to the small screen, but don’t shed a single, black teardrop for her. Conrad is doing just fine. Instead of plotting her comeback to reality TV, she's been building a family (her son Liam is already 1) and a fashion empire that includes her uber-successful line, LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s.
The LC brand, which has been around for nine years, is inspired by Conrad’s easy, SoCal style that fans have come to know, love, and most importantly, copy. Conrad recently completely redesigned the line’s denim offerings to include new styles and washes, updated fabrication with flattering four-way stretch, and more on-trend detailing like raw hems and distressing.
If anyone knows their jeans, it’s Conrad, who became somewhat of a denim icon in her Laguna Beach days, inspiring an entire generation of MTV kids to run to the nearest Hollister to pick up a pair of light blue low-rise bootcut jeans (puka shell necklace not included). When Conrad graduated to The Hills, she turned us all onto the slimming power of a dark skinny jean, usually paired with platform YSL Tribute heels and whatever going-out top would fit in at Les Deux. And since she left the show in 2009? Conrad has continued to evolve her jean look, designing and sporting everything from flares to cuffed jeans to cropped styles, all with her signature California-girl twist.
But that doesn’t mean she lives without some fashion regrets. When InStyle caught up with Conrad at a press preview for her new denim collection in N.Y.C., we asked her to take a walk down denim lane. “Well, the super low-rise jeans were really a bummer and so were the jean capris that I used to wear,” she said, laughing. “But we all did it, so that makes me feel better about it!”
Looking back on the low-rise styles that plagued the early 2000’s, a.k.a. the Laguna Beach heyday, Conrad says she has some fashion advice to offer her younger self. “I’d just go back and say: ‘Don't do that!’” she says, referencing her hip huggers. “It was a time when jeans were just too low cut. Everybody's butts were hanging out and we accepted it. It was bad for everyone. And we all need back coverage. You don't want to offend people when you bend over in the market, right?”
In honor of Conrad’s new denim launch (available now in Kohl’s stores nationwide and at Kohls.com), the star sat down with us to review some of her most memorable denim looks over the years. Keep scrolling to hear her present-day takes.
At a Laguna Beach photo call in July 2004
“Oh, there it is,” Conrade said, laughing when she saw this shot of her from a Laguna Beach photoshoot. “And this is why I wear a heel with boot cut and flares now.”
At MTV’s Total Request Live in September 2005
“The capri jean really was a bummer, wasn’t it?” said Conrad of her TRL style.
Filming an episode of The Hills in August 2008
“That was a little too ripped for me,” she said of this Hills look worn while she was filming a lunch date with castmate Whitney Port in Beverly Hills. “I tried to distress those jeans myself and I think I went a little too far.”
At a Kohl’s Clean Up Day in Santa Monica in September 2009
“I’ve always liked a cuffed jean because I think it looks a little more polished than when the hem puddles,” Conrad said. “But do you see the length of that zipper? Wow. So low. We all wore it, I guess!”
At a LC Lauren Conrad shoot in August 2015
“This is one of my designs. In the last 5 years, I've been very consistent with wearing a skinny jean,” Conrad said. “It’s my go-to. I think my hem lengths have always varied — before I liked it longer, then it went very cropped, and now it's in-between. But it's been a very similar fit.”
At an event in L.A. in September 2015
“I think it’s very difficult to find a substantial white jean because a lot of the time they're too sheer,” Conrad said. “I haven't worn white denim in a minute. I have to feel very comfortable in my body to put on white jeans. They can be very unforgiving. You have to find a thick one with stretch.”
At a LC Lauren Conrad shoot in January 2016
“I still like a high-waisted flare,” she said. “For day-to-day, they're difficult, but for a dressed-up event where denim is appropriate, I like them. I always wear a heel with a flare, though.”
At a LC Lauren Conrad shoot in August 2018
“Right now, I love a jean cropped at the ankle,” Conrad said. “When I was designing this collection, I would wear the jean samples to dinner with my friends and ask them, ‘What do you think of the length of my pants?’ and then we would tweak them until they were perfect. You never really know how you’ll like a jean until you've lived in them and washed them a few times. I had this style slightly shortened, so it’s easier for people to wear. We wanted to find that sweet spot.”