The rumors you’ve heard — or spread, or ignored — are true: Tyra Banks did indeed wear a different jumpsuit/catsuit/misbegotten lady-sheath every single week of this cycle of America’s Next Top Model. And in honor of last night’s big finale, we’re presenting them to you — entirely spoiler-free I promise — in an epic that I like to call “The Twelve Fugsuits of Banksmas.” Note: The photos are sucky quality, per usual, and I’m not actually listing these in order of appearance, because I accidentally did not photograph them in chronological order. Instead, they’re in reverse order of fugliness, with the comparatively least offensive ones first.
On the first day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: A suit only mildly icky.
This one rendered well enough on film that it could pass for tight black pants and a black shirt. Granted, my camera might just be very forgiving, but as jumpsuits go, this one embarrasses no one, except in the larger sense of being part of this conversation at all.
On the second day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: sleeves that are fake-eyelashy.
Seriously, if Cheryl Cole is Staff Sgt. Fancy Bojangles, then this is Brigadier Gen. Gargantua Flapper, code name: “Sass”quatch. Tyra donned this one for the casting episode, so girls who didn’t make it, take heart: Maybe you don’t want modeling advice from a woman who has to put mascara on her rotator cuffs.
On the third day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: crotch wrinkles, business-casually.
I actually think, other than a wisp of a flap at the crotch that evokes the foot of a certain humpbacked animal, the close-up on the left is pretty flattering. It’s only when we get the full view that we realize there are more ripples in this thing than in a puddle during a deluge. Even Nigel appears to be staring at those fabric hills and valleys and thinking, “Is there such thing as Botox for clothes?” Well, that, or, “I would ski those slopes in a hot second,” but let’s go with the former.
On the fourth day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: a prize belt from the WWE.
On the fifth day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: Hester Prynne as a disco genie.
Yeah, okay, that one was a stretch, but I defy you to contemplate this many jumpsuits in a row without a few wires coming loose. This one actually could pass for a moderately okay modest dress, until she steps off her perch to hug the eliminated girl, and then the trousers balloon and you realize you could use them to go around the world in 80 days — or at least make real progress toward China.
On the sixth day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: Clair Huxtable from Show, The Cosby.
Clearly Tyra didn’t love this one, as the only full-length shot I could find in the episode was one where she had the photos in her hand, blocking critical jumpsuit junctures. I don’t blame her — this is not a good cut, nor fabric. But damned if I don’t see that second picture and imagine Clair Huxtable coming home from work in this and throwing her briefcase on the couch and snuggling up and getting a foot-massage from Cliff, only to find out that Denise snuck off to the Village and Theo and Cockroach are reading Cliffs Notes instead of Shakespeare and Vanessa is being SASSY and Rudy invited Peter and Buuuuuuuud over for dinner without asking, and she gets that smooth, sharp smile on her face that tells you shit is about to get real, and to top it all off Sondra’s husband Elvin is about to say something really chauvinistic and DAMN, dude, don’t SAY THAT while Clair has a SERVING KNIFE in her hand, do you not LEARN?
On the seventh day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: a grainy pic of lavender fury.
Love the color, hate the capri length, think her hips deserve better than the bunching, and wish someone had arrested the purveyor of this jumpsuit with the handcuffs TyTy has around her right wrist.
On the eighth day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: snug squiggles scaring Whitney.
“Oh God,” thinks Ms. Port. “Tyra is about to sit down next to me, and judging by the front of that catsuit, she’s got some kind of parasite living under her skin that’s about to rise up and claim us all as lunch. How do I get out of this?” Oh, just give her a sob story about how you braved the wilds of New York City without your parents as a twenty-something with an undefined profession — not as HELLACIOUS as going to Paris to model at seventeen, but then, what is? — and then run off to the bathroom crying, steal a Diet Coke from craft services, and make for the nearest subway station.
On the ninth day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: a suit last seen on Blake Lively.
Here’s the thing, TB: While it’s probably an ego-boost that you and a 22-year old shop in the same jumpsuit emporium — a place I think we can all agree is called Loonitard — Blake has it over you in that she found a way to keep her bust supported in that thing without actually SHOWING it. And while part of me applauds you for understanding that a little bust-hugging was required here — there is no shame in it — I do think this problem could’ve been solved by, say, wearing something else. It’s like New York City: I get that they can’t do the construction without the scaffolding, but that doesn’t mean I’m psyched about having to LOOK at it all the time.
On the tenth day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: an ill-advised waggling booty.
It is hard to judge this objectively, because I know what this jumpsuit did to Miss Tyra. Yes, its slickery blue liquidity and its desperately ’80s puffed sleeves are a problem, but the worst part is how it betrayed Lady Bankable when she busted out the humpty-hump:
Do not wear this jumpsuit, America, if you suspect you might try and get freaky with your desk. You might say, “But Heather, how could Tyra have KNOWN she was going to do the booty dance?” To which I reply, if you were down to your last dollars, and Vegas was giving odds on whether Tyra would shake it on ANTM that night, I’d advise you to bet it all. She LOVES the booty dance and its various incarnations. Knowing that, Tyra really ought to do herself a favor and practice it in her dressing room before they start taping. Polterwang is an insidious beast, and the best prevention comes from preparation.
On the eleventh day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: a monument to smurf geometry.
This was Tyra’s big finale jumpsuit. When I saw the top half, I said, “Oh HELL YES,” and then we saw the whole thing, and yes, it’s bad, but I almost prayed that each leg would flare out to a width matching that enormous bodice. I wanted an atrocious nightmare that would both plague my brain and entice the Blue Man Group to take a concubine. Still, the Violet Beauregard of yore probably wants her slacks back, Tyra.
On the twelfth day of Banksmas, my Tyra gave to me: stabby stabby punchy stabby.
Easily my least favorite of the bunch, this is a cousin to the black Blake Lively bra-baring blight, crossed with the HGH-infused love child of a memory-foam mattress pad and a pair of panty-hose, and then sewn by Lady Gaga’s six-year old niece after accidentally drinking some of dad’s scotch. This should have been, by all rights, the finale outfit. THIS should have been the crowning fuggery in a season of remarkable achievements in the jumpsuit sciences. And in my head, this is, indeed, what Tyra wore as she rode off into the sunset of ANTM Cycle 14, astride J. Alexander.
I will miss this cornball gimmick. We laugh because we love, you know? For next cycle, may I suggest high-waisted pants that creep further and further north until at final judging the button is in the middle of her forehead? Thanks in advance.