''The Hills'' are alive with the sound of merchandising - and we love it! We love it primarily because we love shopping, but also, to a lesser degree, because we love to emulate screwed-up young women with dubious pasts and questionable futures. And since there seems to be a whole lot of that going around, let's take a closer look at Lauren Conrad of ``The Hills,'' airing Mondays on MTV.
First and foremost, though this may be obvious, girls from ``The Hills'' are not your typical young women - they're like normal girls but with all of their features and foibles so exaggerated they can be seen from space. Which brings us to the merchandising. MTV, which many of you older folks may remember actually aired things called music videos, has created such an enormous Web site dedicated to the styles of ``The Hills'' that you wonder if the network will ever think about music again.
Seriously, the site dedicated to the series, www.seenonmtv.com, has sections for apparel, jewelry, handbags, shoes and even electronics that have been featured on the show. It's one-stop shopping for the girl who wants everything but the kitchen sink. And we're sure that if you visit the ``Cribs`` Web site, you'd probably find that as well.
So exactly what does it take to get the ``Lauren'' look? We'd start with a T-Bags one-piece black jumper. Sleeveless, it ties at the neck with braided cord and is gathered at the bust for SoCal girls who haven't picked a plastic surgeon just yet. For the ``va-voom`` factor, move on to a Volante dress from Diane von Furstenberg. Blood red with ruffles along the plunging neckline, this long-sleeved wrap dress doesn't fool around. The same, of course, can't necessarily be said of the wearer.
When Lauren needs something a bit more understated, she makes a perfect choice with a black jersey ring halter dress from Romeo & Juliet Couture. The deep V-neck halter ties at the neck and features black plastic ring detail on the halter. The empire waist is elastic banded in case you have too many shrimp while at the country club.
More relaxed still is the black cotton banded halter tunic by Rebecca Beeson. Cute and feminine, the shirt has a rounded neck, a racer back and a long rib-knit banded hem at the waist to avoid those embarrassing flashes when the wind picks up. Below that Lauren mixes a pair of Joe's Jeans Muse high-waisted denim jeans. They feature a 9-inch rise (pant waists are headed back north, folks) and a 20-inch opening at the leg for a subtle flared effect.
And we'd be remiss if we didn't recognize that the whole reason to live in ``The Hills`` is to lie on the beach or by the pool. Lauren dazzles in a solid green ruched-front bandeau bikini from J. Crew. Made of nylon and Lycra, it's quick-drying and fade-resistant and features adjustable ruching at the center in case you have, in fact, decided on a plastic surgeon.