From Our Readers

How Lizzie McGuire Ruined My Adolescent Self-Esteem

It takes a special kind of person to pull off a zebra print skirt, bedazzled platform sandals and a pink tie-dyed blouse. Unfortunately, I am not that person. But did that stop fifth-grade me? Heck. No.

I believe, most young girls born between the years of 1989 to 1997 would agree with my statement that Lizzie McGuire was not just a TV show, but a religion. And Friday nights on Disney Channel were the Sabbath.

The show tackled taxing issues that many a young girl had to deal with, such as first kisses and what bathing suit was socially acceptable to wear at a boy-girl pool party (Surprise! It’s a tankini. Who knew, right?). Despite all the good advice that the show provided me with, it also left me with a nagging inferiority complex. This insecurity was rooted in the unfortunate reality that Lizzie’s style was nearly impossible to translate into everyday wear. Have you ever tried to get a barista at Starbucks to take you seriously when you are wearing pale blue cowboy boots and a crocheted purple poncho? Let me tell you, it’s hard.

Lizzie was the only girl I knew that could rock a silk kimono with faded jeans. I mean, it was uncanny how she could pair red velvet pants with an American flag halter top, and still manage to be accepted by her peers.

Not to mention the hair. Oh, the hair. Every episode it was like a new arts and crafts project was perched on top of Ms. Duff’s golden tresses. Subsequently, every Monday morning before school I would be busy in my bathroom with pipe cleaners, pom-pom balls and a hot glue gun trying (with little success) to replicate Lizzie’s golden standard of style. The amount of crimping that occurred in that bathroom between the years of 2002 and 2004 can only be defined as obscene.

My favorite personal McGuire-style mishap occurred after a particularly compelling episode about Gordo’s Bar Mitzvah (Disney’s well-intentioned attempt at Judeo-integration) where Lizzie was featured with a bun held together by chopsticks. Due to a hereditary problem with indigestion, my family did not regularly consume Asian food, and thus had no use for chopsticks. But me, being a resourceful and culturally aware fifth-grader, understood that forks were just the chopsticks of America. So I went to school with several forks sticking precariously out of my head. Ten minutes into class I was sent to the principal’s office for ‘attempt to conceal a weapon on school grounds.’ It was obviously a dark time in my life.

Lizzie McGuire set an unattainable precedent for style and sophistication amongst the adolescent girls of America. No matter how hard I tried, I could not compete. But since the strange days of the early 2000s, I have grown into a style that is uniquely my own. Now I am a mature, young adult who gets my fashion advice from the Good Housekeeping magazines that I read while waiting in the doctor’s office.

Written by Mia Galuppo.

Feature image via.

  • Fiorella Loexplicatodo

    For me it was Clarissa Explains it all. But I know the feeling, sis.

  • Cara McMahon

    i think the amount of butterfly clips i owned in middle school is a direct result of this show!

  • Louby Lou Skelding

    For me it was Sabrina the Teenage Witch but I totally get what you mean. Love this post! Made me smile :)

  • Zoe Taylor-Lynch

    Totally agreed! “…Friday nights on Disney Channel were the Sabbath.”

  • Natalie Cavey

    haha I know exactly what you mean. I think the Olsen twins were similar in Two of a Kind, no one else could pull that hairstyle and those clothes off!! Great story about the forks :)

    • Rebecca Prucha

      YES! And then they had their own line of clothing!
      Let me tell you….capris, covered in the most obnoxious black and white swirly pattern, a frilly shirt in the same pattern, and a head full of butterfly clips….definitely not my best decision.

  • Cia Maria Martinsen

    For me it was Blossom. I’m old!

  • Gina DeBacker

    It was because of Lizzie McGuire that I sported too many butterfly clips in my hair and a top bun held up with chopsticks–all accessories purchased at Claires or After Thoughts. (Duh, girl. You buy sparkly chopsticks! ;))

  • Devon Metiva

    All I ever wanted were a cool pair a bedazzled jeans like the ones Lizzie got from her mother after ruining the expensive pair. The woes of middle school.

  • Emily Hatfield

    Y’all, I had a bowl cut and still used the sparkly butterfly clips to pin back my greasy Devon Sawa bangs. The early 2000s were a dark time for all of us.

  • Kate Dickenson

    i completely agree and am ashamed to say that i still rock the chopsticks in the bun look regularly – luckily none of my friends know that is it styled after our dear lizzie!

  • Lisa Elizabeth Wieczorek

    Sometimes, I still feel like my style gets me many weird looks. Maybe it’s cause I still watch the Lizzie McGuire movie occasionally to this day :)

  • Giavonna Hillman

    I loved and still love Lizzie McGuire (or anything Hilary Duff related, really)! It was the best show when I was younger.

  • Randi Sanders

    Reading your post makes me realize how much Lizzie impacted me wardrobe in jr. high… It all makes sense now.

  • Kristen O’Connor

    I replaced the chopsticks with pencils. Worked pretty well but looked kind of ridiculous. To this day if there is Lizzie McGuire on TV I record it and watch it later. I was always super jealous of stuff like the the Montecarlo night, the Spanish game show, and the Murder Mystery party… Why can’t my life be that exciting?

  • Victoria Griffiths

    From I still can’t help but think of her little cartoon alter-ego that would pop up with some witty comment

  • Ciara Gore

    The fork part cracked me up! 😀

  • Lauren Bartlett

    butterfly clips were amazing back in the day. haha, i remember asking everyone to buy me them for my birthday. also remember lizzie wearing one of those headband badana things. (anyone else know what i’m talking about?) i had so many of those!!

  • Lauren Bartlett


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