Like many other actresses who have grown up to look like respectable, normal, attractive human beings, Kaley Cuoco had to wear some painfully awkward outfits in the beginning of her career. Her stint on 8 Simple Rules from 2002 to 2005 fell right in the middle of an awful decade for fashion, and some of the things they dressed her in are even worse than Jessica Biel‘s 7th Heaven fashion— and even Jennifer Lawrence‘s Bill Engvall Show wardrobe. And, as you know… that’s saying something. Join me in taking a trip down memory lane, and we’ll regretfully remember all the ways we used to wear camo and cargo pants!
1. The cutout shoulder top.
As much as we loved our long, flared sleeves, we loved our cutout shoulders just a little bit more. As school dress codes have always taught us, nothing screams SEX quite like shoulder blades. And low ponytails.
2. The midriff turtleneck.
This is one trend from my teenager years that I still can’t make any sense of. When are you cold enough to need a turtleneck… but warm enough to leave your belly uncovered? When is that a thing? When does that happen?
3. The cut-and-tied tank top.
How much fabric even went into this top? I sincerely hope she didn’t pay anything for it. And now I sound exactly like my mother inside a Hollister in 2004.
4. The velour blazer.
This little beauty of a top comes to us from an incredibly uncomfortable moment in the show’s history, when Bridget proclaims that “AT LEAST I’M STILL A VIRGIN,” thus outing her little sister as a ~bad girl~ and making their mother gasp for life. I don’t know what’s worse: the plot or the fuzzy blazer. It’s a close call.
5. The gold lamé belly blouse.
I’m glad they put in that extra effort and tied up this shirt to show us her belly button. Without that added touch, this shiny metallic lamé top would be way too subtle.
6. The hot pink cargo pants.
I’m suddenly having uncomfortable flashbacks to all the pairs of cargo pants I used to have in my high school closet. I even remember explaining to my dad that the baggy pants made tight tops look better. In reality, they just made everyone who wasn’t Kaley Cuoco look like a muffin top factory. And why did they have to be hot pink? WHY?
7. The sexy cat tank top.
Seeing this photo just makes me want to get down on my knees and thank the universe for getting away from the “sexy baby” style of the early 2000s. Looking young still gets you kudos in 2014, but at least we’re not all fighting to look as much like middle schoolers as possible. I’m shuddering.
8. The low-rise camo pants.
Ah yes, the ultimate key to sexiness: camouflage. Glittery pink tank tops, visible belly buttons, and camo pants. Add some lowlights and some thin eyebrows, and you’ve got yourself a great look.
9. The midriff blouse.
This outfit is perfect for those days when you want to look conservative on the top, sexy on the bottom, and way too wide in the sleeves. The next time you feel like that, you’ll know exactly what to wear.
10. The infamous bejeweled thong.
If you search for anything at all related to 8 Simple Rules, you have to sift through a lot of screencaps of this outfit to get to the rest of it. Bridget comes downstairs wearing dangerously low jeans, a cropped corset top, and a hot pink thong riding high on her hips. Her dad likens it to floss. The rest of her family discusses her underwear drawer. It’s a bizarre portrait of American life, and it’s reeeeal weird that Kaley was an actual teenager at the time. Add a dangly choker on top of it all, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an infamous moment in bad sitcom history.
Featured photo via Getty Images