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The Chanel
Created back in the 1950s, Coco Chanel’s quilted 2.55 bag was iconic long before Marissa Cooper slung one over her tanned arm. But it was Coop’s seal of approval that introduced the famous carryall—and dozens of other double-C-stamped syles—to an entirely new generation of fashion-forward girls. The character even used the label's oversized tote as a bookbag—oh, and she wore Chanel Couture to prom. Top that.
The Flats
At 5’9, Marissa certainly didn’t need any help in the height department—but what made her character so groundbreaking is that she voluntarily, consistently chose flats over the stilettos, wedges and platforms so popular at the time. Coop's footwear choices also helped bring her down to Ryan's level—I smell a metaphor, people!
The Polo Shirts
There are two women out there—two—who can convincingly rock a Lacoste polo along with a thousand-dollar bag and sensible flats and avoid looking like a country clubber: Marissa Cooper and Margot Tenenbaum. We hope to someday be as cool as either one of them.
The College Sweatshirts
Generally the domain of hungover college coeds and gym rats, the school sweatshirt isn’t exactly the most stylish of garments. That is, unless Marissa's the one wearing it. On her, these humble hoodies looked like veritable designer duds. It didn't hurt, of course, that she often accessorized her scholastic sweatshirt with one of her aforementioned Chanel bags. How's that for high-low?
The Bangs
Long before girls ripped photos of Zooey Deschanel out of magazines to bring to the salon, they idolized Marissa's always-impeccable, remarkably versatile bangs. Whether she let her fringe graze her brows, swept it to one side or twisted and pinned it back, this Orange County beauty never had a hair out of place—literally. They say that growing out one's bangs is an agonizing process, but it sure didn't look like it on The O.C.
The Buns
When I was in middle school, showing up to school with your hair in a slicked-back ballerina bun meant that, well, you were probably off to pointe class after the last bell. But Marissa somehow managed to popularize the style, freeing it of its uptight, schoolmarm-ish connotations and making the sleek chignon look downright cool.
The Braids
The last of the "three Bs" in Marissa's admirable hairstyling arsenal, the character's pretty plaits added instant polish to her enviable looks. Over the course of the show's run, Coop wore more French, over-the-shoulder and twisted-up braids than we can count—all framed by those amazing bangs, of course.
The Layered Necklaces
Long before the arm party, there was the neck party. And Coop was totally on it. Full disclosure: somewhere, hidden in the depths of my own jewelry box, I have a little gold wishbone necklace I purchased purely because Marissa wore a similare one.
The Party Dresses
Whether it was a Marc by Marc Jacobs sundress for a casual block party, a multicolored Missoni for a yacht shindig or a Dior by John Galliano cocktail number for a school dance, Marissa was a pro at overdressing (beautifully) for every occasion. ‘Fess up: you didn’t even feel the urge to own a Marc Jacobs anything until you spotted Marissa in the label, right? Thanks for making us all feel inadequate, Coop!
The Bizarre Belts
It's true that Marissa embraced some pretty daring trends during the series' second and third seasons—bow-bedecked newsboy cap, anyone?!—but in my humble opinion, it was her array of odd belts that really took the cake. Remember those fringed macramé hippie cinchers everyone wore in the early 2000s? Marissa's were just like those, except preppier and infinitely pricier.