While ransacking the high designer clearance racks at Century 21, the NYC discount department store, my mom approached me, “Look Mara, they have tons of them, ARE you SURE they are back in style?”. It’s June of 2017, and I not only bought a Juicy Couture tracksuit, but I convinced my mom to do so as well. I figure if I’m wrong about my trend predictions, my mother can be mocked with me in a show of solidarity.
In 2014, many people laughed at my declaration that Fanny Packs were "in.” Who's laughing now?
A couple of years ago, I was cleaning out my closet when I came across lots of velour, all by Juicy; hoodies, track pants, short shorts. I’d see the occasional yogi throw on an old Juicy hoody after class. She wasn’t making a fashion statement; she just hadn’t donated her sweatshirt to The Salvation Army. I’d made fun of my sister-in-law for the navy blue Juicy sweats she wore around the house. But when I re-discovered all this bright colored velour in my closet, I just knew those sweat suits could become “hipster” cool, meaning they'd be uncool enough for hipsters to wear them just to prove they can make anything hip.
I called my friend Susana. "So do you think there is any chance that Juicy track suits can be seen as kind of cool, maybe in an ironic way? I want to claim them before hipsters start wearing them." "No way Mara,” she said. “They sold the company to Macy’s! Not to sound like a snob, but they can't crawl out of that uncool hole.” Snobby, yes, but she had a point. Macy's isn't known for its cutting edge style.
Susana wasn’t buying it, but I was determined to look in fashion history for concrete evidence that Juicy was about to experience not only a re-birth, but a come back.
Here’s the short Juicy primer. People loved their stuff. It was comfortable, sexy and "hip.” And the best thing? Most people could afford to scrape together the $160.00 or so to look like their favorite celebrity. Super stars like Jessica Simpson, Beyonce, Brittany Spears and Jennifer Lopez were all rocking bright colored velour track suits.
Even at the height of their popularity in the early 2000's, the true style originals mocked the trend, not unlike East Village moms laughing at Park Avenue moms in their Burberry rain coats and monogrammed Goyard bags. But the Juicy tracksuit still managed to penetrate the world of avant garde elitist fashion insiders. Karl Lagerfeld was spotted in Juicy tracksuits, in PUBLIC.
When Juicy first gained popularity, I admit, I was on board. This was odd behavior for me - being influenced by celebrities, into buying an obviously unfashionable garment. But Jessica Simpson, who seemed to have a body I could relate to, looked pretty damn good in her track suit, so I figured I had a real fighting chance.
My friend Rachel and I decided to purchase our track suits together, she also decided to get Nicole Richie thin that summer. We arrived at Burdine's in Miami, back then the equivalent to Bloomingdale’s. Juicy was so hot that they had a separate section in the store filled with racks and racks of Juicy Couture, mostly of the coveted terry or velour tracksuits in a rainbow of colors and sizes from XS to XL. Rachel and I both grabbed the extra small hoody and the extra small pants. Her waif body fit right into the suit. Horrified, I stared at my reflection in the very mean mirror. I moved up to a small. My boobs were squeezed into a uni boob. For the first time in my life I noticed what seemed to be back fat from my bra strap. After this confidence building exercise, I immediately gave myself a pep talk and realized if THE perfect Jennifer Lopez could fit her amazing behind in Juicy velour shorts, Mara Menachem sure as hell could also fit her large boobs in a hoody, even if I had to buy a larger size.
Several Juicy suits later, I determined that the short shorts and matching hoody worked best on my body. Going back to my 90’s Hip-Hop influences, I mixed my track suit up by adding gold hoops and Timberlands. I felt like a superstar in my Juicy short shorts and hoody combo, so much so, I wore it paired with Dolce & Gabbana kitten heels to a very trendy South Beach club. Waiting in line to use the bathroom, a woman in a see through blouse approached me “I love your track suit, but Terry is a day fabric.” Shocked by her unsolicited advice, I thought to myself “are exposed nipples also only for the day time?”. She did have a point - I was wearing fabric used to make bath robes.
Unsurprisingly, the trend eventually died.
Now we’re in 2017 and word on the style street is the Juicy Track Suit is BACK. Personally, I'm excited to be a fashion victim in velour once again. Sure there's the dreaded uniboob. (Why have two boobs when, with one zip of a tiny hoody, your boobs will magically smash together to become one large breast?) And of course, the PTSD I have from the fact that a Juicy hoody is unforgiving enough to give even an Olsen twin fat back. But that’s all going to change, here’s why;
THE stylin’ Jamie Mizrahi has been appointed Creative Director of Juicy. And I know as true sisterhood prevails, Jamie will design a track suit that make our booties look just as good, even better then a pair of dated Lululemon yoga pants. Our boobs will NOT be molded into the dreaded uni-boob and their will be no evidence of fat back.
Jamie, we believe in you, we will support you, we will rock Juicy like stylin’ queens, AS LONG AS YOU MAKE OUR TUSHIES LOOK PERFECT!