Fug or Fab: The Olsen Twins


I’m having one of those moments where I’m just… dry. I’m tapped like a keg at a fraternity party. My glass is empty and we’re out of juice and the car has four flat tires and a dead battery.

Coherent, engaging words are not putting themselves in order for me here. I wish Ashley’s dress were shorter; I wish Mary-Kate’s looked less like she were an elderly whippet at a funeral. I would like her shoes, in a different context. The purse might be great, and that emerald ring is my soulmate. So, you know… is it fab? I don’t personally think all the good pieces add up to a surplus in the sartorial ledger, but it’s also not as gnarly as we’ve seen. Oh, but of course, there is one more bone to pick with Ashley:

I only like that if tugging it brings Mr. Carson to my drawing room with a brandy and some chocolate biscuits, or Wadsworth to the study in an attempt to interest me in fruit, or dessert. They can buttle for me anytime they like.

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[Photos: WENN and Getty]


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Comments (74):

  1. Chasmosaur

    Actually, I look at Ashley’s dress, and now all I see are the costumes for Ros and Shae for Season 2 of Game of Thrones.

    • Orange Clouds

      All I see is a dead rabbit.

      • jjdaddyo

        Whenever I see the Olsens, all I keep hearing in my head is: Grey Gardens, Grey Gardens, Grey Gardens…

  2. Bottle Ginger

    Not fab. Their mutual need to wear things that are baggy and too old is damn near pathological, as if it were an expression of some terrible body dysmorphia.

    • Gina

      Not to mention that boob-to-boob pose they always automatically assume. I just don’t understand these girls at all!

    • Isabel

      I read Rookie’s awesome piece about street harassment (something the whole world should read) and one of the commenters mentioned that Mary Kate and Ashley have had to deal, from a very young age, with entire websites dedicated to fantasies about when they would turn legal in terms of age. If my body would have been under such close scrutiny by perverts from my toddler years, I would dress in potatoe sacks as well.

      I completely understand.

  3. laura

    If I squint my eyes, then I can see why some people consider them such fashion “icons”…

  4. Jules

    They have stylists, right? Or at least assistants, or underlings of some sort? I wish I were wealthy to the point where I could dress like I’d stumbled into my closet, drunk, in the dark, and have underlings praise me for how great I look.

  5. Ms.A

    I’m gonna go with FUG on this one.

  6. pantsonfire

    Not crazy about M-K here (though the jewels are fabulous) and Ashley’s dress does have . . . issues, but, in my book, the tassel ain’t one of them. I love me a tassel. What can I say? I would like her dress a lot if it was just a bit more nipped in at the waist and didn’t have that weird snaking feathery ruffly business bespoiling it. And I like her overall styling, too.

    • vandalfan

      Team Tassel. The white dress is a bit long and loose, but they both look great. Can we hire them a hairstylist however? Roots, and doorknobs.

  7. Faye

    For them, it’s not bad. And I covet that ring.

    I just can’t get over that one of them (can’t remember which one) is dating Sarkozy’s brother, who is 20-plus years older. That’s so . . . random. Yet so weirdly appropriate, somehow, for an Olsen twin.

  8. Alli

    I really like the twins for some reason, and I always really WANT to like what they wear, but it is always a step or three too far into old lady, old bum on a Salvation Army shopping spree, or old lunatic escaped from an attic territory for me to fully embrace it.

  9. Kara

    I totally can’t tell them apart, so thanks for supplying the names, Heather! That said, I had a (much cheaper, I’m sure) version of Ashley’s shoes that I wore until they fell apart beyond repair (and I tried – I’d already had them re-heeled seventy-leven times), so I’m biased in their favor. The dress isn’t terrible, but it does need to be shorter.

    I just don’t understand why their clothes are always so baggy and shapeless. One of my brother’s friends saw the one that stayed at NYU in a bathroom on campus and told me she thought “How nice that this homeless woman was able to come in and wash up,” and it was only a few minutes later after she’d left the bathroom that she realized it was an Olsen and the “rags” she was wearing probably cost thousands.

    • Sonya

      I started being able to tell them apart when I realized Ashley’s eyes are much bigger and her eyebrows are usually more groomed.

  10. Megan

    I think I like everything by itself, but when you add it up it turns in crazy algebra and makes no sense.

  11. Jasmine

    I can’t see past the perma-duckface MK has on. Is she looking… older? Compared to Ashley, I mean. It’s probably just the makeup, but it’s not doing her any favours. Nor is the belted sack she’s wearing.

    • Kris M

      M-K is apparently/possibly dating Olivier Sarkozy, who is 42, so maybe she’s meaning to look like an old lady.

      • Eli

        Thank you…I was wondering how THAT particular tidbit had gone unmentioned in this thread.

  12. McLisa

    They look like mother and daughter.

  13. The Fugger

    Goddammit, Mary Kate, my joke about Serbia’s violinists going full Olsen at Eurovision was a joke. Not reality

    That said, oh my god we actually saw some skin on an Olsen twin. Ashley’s dress looks like she vomited fur on the biggest wine bag she could find. Mary Kate’s is…Mary Kate. The shoes are hot, though, so they win on those ends. But they both need to stop trying to make Derelicte happen.

  14. Billie

    At least, for once, you can see the shape of their figures. That’s a huge improvement compared to the yards and yards of fabric they are usually swaddled in.

  15. Kris M

    While the twins are weird and their clothes generally terrible, can we all pause to think of what could have been? You know, compared with many child stars in that era? (LOHAN).

  16. Judy Garland

    I’ve noticed the boob-to-boob pose too, maybe it’s a protective thing?

    • vandalfan

      I figure they have some kind of agreement or contract to always be photographed together, so they can share royalties.

  17. What what

    I am liking both pairs of shoes. I hope that orangey-brown (I’m sure that color has a fashionable name, but it’s Friday and I’m fried) becomes the next nude shoe.

    • LibraryChick

      I nominate terracotta or burnt sienna as a name for that color until someone else generates a better one. For many people I think it is more flattering than the biege/nude color.

  18. BrownEyedBetty

    I don’t get the Olsen Twins…never have. Nothing says ‘fun’ like old lady clothes. Their story is gonna make a great made for TV movie someday. No doubt a “Grey Gardens” for the next generation given their penchant for eccentric dressing if nothing else.

  19. Tassie

    They certainly wear interesting things. & are very ‘fashion forward’ However I feel the clothes, more times then not (read-almost always), wear them. So often they are completely overwhelmed by whatever they have on. Aren’t they tiny? 5′ or so? Fashion Icons don’t look like they’re being eaten by their clothes. It’s so strange they get so much praise for their style when doesn’t suit them-body type type/sizewise (not commenting on personality etc)-at all.

  20. Candy

    I give up with their clothes. I’m just happy one is smiling! The other needs to quit the duck face.

  21. Mare

    How do you guys tell the difference between the two?

    • jerkygirl

      They’re not actually identical twins, and if you look closely, there are slight differences in facial features. Also, MK seems to have darker hair than Ashley a lot of the time.

      • kiki

        I actually love the second photo for the very reason that their poses/expressions make it really easy to see the differences. Ashley has a more square shape to her face and has rounder eyes (yes they are opened extra wide in this pic but in general they are quite different from MK’s)…..it’s sad that I am proud of my ability to tell who’s who 99% of the time.

  22. jerkygirl

    Their clothes would only make sense if the Harry Potter universe were real and they were 2 dotty old retired spinsters from an pureblood family with a lot of money. Don’t really see them as Death Eaters though (at least, not in this picture).

  23. Amanda

    i absolutely love your ‘Clue’ reference! its one of my all time favorite movies! you guys rock!

  24. Karen

    I’m not sure I understand the matchy-matchy shoes. And their clothes make me sad. But it’s nice that Ashley’s showing some skin for a change!

    I saw these photos of MK walking her dog, and I thought immediately, “Look how nicely she’d dressed! Why can’t she dress that nicely when she goes out??”

    Nice shirt, well-fitting skirt, cute sandals, awesome bag…that shouldn’t be so hard on a regular basis, should it?

  25. Leah

    I have to admit, I rather like their old money, editorial look most of the time. I grew up watching DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle, and I’m glad the Olsens avoided eating disorders and The Pants-Off Dance-Off.

  26. CJ

    I love love love all of the accessories and it is so refreshing to see an Olsen smile.

    Per Isabel, I’m with ya. I get why these girls like to be covered up, and I don’t blame them. I just don’t get why their clothes don’t fit. Everything is soooo big on them, always. I understand they are very small framed, but these guys MAKE CLOTHES for a living. You would think they could have anything they want made for them… and if they wanted something that someone else made, they can certainly afford not only the item, but the tailoring to hem, take in, and generally cut down the item so they don’t look like a kid swimming in mama’s clothes at dress-up time. Heck, these girls can afford a live-in seamstress! I don’t know, maybe to people who wear an outfit once and are always moving on to something newer, the idea of taking the time to tailor clothes seems a waste of time. Or maybe they just like gigantic clothing.

    These are certainly not their worst outfits, but I have to fug the lemon face. At least it’s just one of them. I guess a smile and a lemon face cancel each other out???

  27. Libby

    They don’t look homeless or like Stevie Nicks wannabes, so…that’s a plus.

  28. babs

    Elderly whippet at a funeral! Clearly, you are not tapped out. Because that was perfect.

  29. Sandra

    Well, they both look clean, their hair is out of their faces and they aren’t scowling. So definitely “they look….better”. The actual clothes are weird.

  30. mary lou bethune

    I’m still trying to recover from Joe! And, by the way, that was as funnily written as anything in Wodehouse. And, a whippet at a funeral….
    You may be tired but you are aces..

    The Olsens will always be trying to prove they are poppets anymore…. It could be worse… they could look like trollopes….

    • anny

      Oh, I don’t know, mary lou, since you mention it, M-K up there could definitely be sporting a whiff of dead English novelist …

  31. Evalyn

    It’s a totally mystery to me which one of these women is which, but I don’t think it really matters much. One has a nice smile, the other looks like she has a toothache. I do admire thier ability to be themselves, whether I like it or not. At least there is not visible underwear.

  32. Judy Garland

    @ Karen that’s Ashley walking her dog.

  33. Judy Garland

    I tell them apart because Ashley’s face tends to look more natural, MK more bizarrely contoured. Ashley has bigger eyes and lately hasn’t been doing duckface. She will sometimes wear a figure-flaunting dress, MK almost never. Plus MK often buries herself in shitloads of jewelry, while Ashley is simpler.

  34. Stubenville

    They nearly always dress like sister wives and adopt a “terrified of the camera” look in posed shots. Does this mean they’ll be running around half naked at age seventy, looking like washed-up elderly Colombian hookers? *shudder*

  35. Po

    I too am so tired of these two wasting all that potential … sometimes they’re just sooo close to so close. Why?!?! Why resist all your blessings by consistently turning the dial to fugly?! It is exhausting to see potential fabness so stubbornly, almost spitefully, thwarted. Why do you hate us so much, Olsens?

  36. sallyb

    They look like mother and daughter to me, with the one in black being the mum. At least Ashley isn’t looking 30 years older than her age!

  37. Sajorina

    LOVE Ashley’s look… The whole thing, head-to-toe LOVE!!! The dress is awesome, the shoes are awesome, the jewelry is awesome, and she looks young & fresh! FAB! ABSOLUTE WIN! Now, Mary Kate looks like Ashley’s mom, which isn’t good, and, even though I love her shoes, purse & emerald ring, I have to FUG that dress & that topknot!

  38. kickassmomnyc

    I do believe Brooke Astor was seen in Mary Kate’s dress shortly before she died. Or maybe it was after . . .
    What is with those duck lips?
    Ashley looks better than usual; nice to see her smile.

  39. molly

    They are loaded and therefore can afford tailors. Why don’t they do this??

  40. Aunt Linda

    They are FASHION.

  41. Shiitake

    They don’t look as sepulchral, as is their habit.
    The shoes and other accessories are beautiful. Unfortunate frocks.

  42. cynic

    I see that in spite of their bucketloads of money they still can’t afford a hairbrush, never mind a hairstylist.

    I’m totally on board with not showing off/flaunting your body – but that doesn’t equate to dressing in very expensive potato sacks.

    They could wear something nicely tailored that skims the body and gives them an elegant outline, instead of wearing a silk sack that looks like the cat horked up a massive slimy hairball on it just before she walked out the door, or the sort of robe you wear while putting your makeup on so you don’t get any on your clothes. And for the love of fashion, brush your freaking hair, girls! It takes 30 seconds and would improve the look 100%.

    The only good bit – the bracelet on the one in white/cream (sorry, I can’t be bothered to work out which is which since they’re always photographed together).

    The tassel on the back is a slight improvement over a huge-arse manky bow – but that’s faint praise.

  43. G

    While it’s nice to see ONE of them wearing something that’s not completely sack-like, is that chenille on the beige dress? CHENILLE?!?!?!

  44. Helen

    I think both of these looks would be just fine (albeit still not great) if they only fit properly. It’s definitely an improvement over what I normally expect to see either or both of them wearing.

    And yes they do need a hairstylist. They’ve clearly done these themselves, and not well.

  45. crystal

    Ugh, these two. I used to be into them, but I think I’m over it? There’s nothing fun about looking tired and greasy and old all the time. The sacks for clothes and the disgusting hair and the dirty looking makeup. So depressing. :(

  46. Lily1214

    From what I’ve seen them wearing in past photos, in this photo they look pretty nice.

  47. Emma

    Ashley wins because she smiles. Why does Mary-Kate always do that freakish pursed-lips thing? It makes her look about 90.

  48. gryt

    I like that they always look a tad ‘off’. (“I wish X’s dress was a tad shorter” bla bla. NO.)That’s what makes it good! I like that their look isn’t identical to 99.9% of other starlets/celebs. It’s so much more interesting to look at.

  49. Bambi Anne Dear

    If it hadn’t been for the back of the cream dress and the side boob aspect, and the black sack effect this is almost a win.

  50. L

    Goodness, tough crowd!

    I think they both look gorgeous, and their clothes are beyond fabulous. The twins’ style is sophisticated and international — a far cry from the loudly expensive, sleazily tight, over-sleek/overdone/over-tanned/over-siliconed/over-blown-out/over-sprayed Hollywood look we’re all far too used to seeing on TV and in cheesy mags. (You might not find those coifs in US Magazine, but you will see them in Paris. (-: )

  51. Janice Marie

    I can never which is which, no matter how hard I try. I give up.

  52. Ivy

    why do they make those faces, too long in the industry has made them cartoons of themselves, stop pursing your lips and just smile!