Inappropriate Outfits Real Housewives Have Been Caught Wearing

As the great American songbird Luann de Lesseps once warbled, "Money can't buy you class." But anyone who's watched a "Real Housewives" franchise can tell you one thing money can buy: inappropriate, cringeworthy clothes. While the ladies of Orange County, Atlanta, and beyond would prefer to be known for their amazing fashions, they make headlines for the wrong sartorial reasons pretty frequently, too.

Sometimes, the 'wives dress for the wrong weather. Other times, unfortunately, they engage in cultural appropriation or try to depict a different race. The people of the internet might get up in arms if an outfit is bad enough — and that's when the infamous "Watch What Happens Live" post-show apology has to happen. And if a star doesn't get the "WWHL" invite, there's always Instagram Live.

Whether it's Halloween or a 5K run, when the women of "The Real Housewives" fail at fashion, they fail spectacularly. Here are the most inappropriate outfits stars of the "Real Housewives" have been caught wearing.

Kim Zolciak-Biermann's nip slip

Kim Zolciak-Biermann left "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" during its fifth season to try her luck at solo stardom with the spin-off show "Don't Be Tardy." And although that show was canceled, she's still known in Bravo fan circles for her voluminous wigs, plumped-up lips, and flair for drama. But in October 2020, another body part took center stage as the blonde bombshell had "multiple nip slips" on Instagram Live, per the Daily Mail.

Zolciak-Biermann was wearing a bathrobe. Appropriate for post-bathtime? Of course. But the ideal garment to sport while broadcasting to your millions of Instagram followers? Maybe not. While Zolciak-Biermann was explaining how to use a beauty product, the wardrobe malfunction(s) occurred.

But thankfully, she was far from ashamed. Zolciak-Biermann laughed it off during an appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" talk show. "My nipples are so good that I didn't even care so, oops," she said, per Fair enough.

Luann de Lesseps as Diana Ross

All of the "Real Housewives" franchises love a Halloween party. The 'wives always go all out with their costumes, making the drama even more irresistible. After all, what's funnier than a grown, rich woman slinging insults while dressed like Medusa?

But once in a while, the ladies miss the mark costume-wise. And this was certainly the case back in 2017 when Luann de Lesseps dressed up as music icon Diana Ross — complete with an enormous Afro wig and a surplus of bronzer which made her skin appear darker. Castmates Bethenny Frankel and Sonja Morgan praised the look, and the only person to express dismay on air was Carole Radziwill, per Refinery29.

When the episode aired, fans were shocked at de Lesseps' outfit and the lack of response to it. She appeared on "Watch What Happens Live" and said she "wouldn't dream of doing a blackface." She also apologized "if [she] offended anyone," insisting that she was wearing her normal amount of bronzer. Host Andy Cohen pressed her a bit on the Afro — Ross rarely wore one — but then changed the subject. She maintained her spot on the show but faced racism allegations once again in Season 13. So while de Lesseps has infamously said she "could be the female Barry White," she might want to avoid dressing like him for Halloween.

Kenya Moore's cultural appropriation

No list of inappropriate outfits would be complete without a stereotypical Native American Halloween costume, which happens to be a celeb favorite. Ellie Goulding, Cher, Gwen Stefani, Karlie Kloss, and more have been called out for reportedly treating the culture like a costume. And "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kenya Moore joined their infamous ranks in March 2021.

Moore wore a feathered headdress and buckskin-esque dress, calling herself a "Warrior Princes," per People. But it didn't take long for Moore's co-stars to point out that this costume had missed the mark and was clearly rooted in Native American stereotypes. Castmate Porsha Williams said Moore was "head-to-toe cultural appropriation," and fellow "Housewife" Drew Sidora agreed, calling it "super problematic."

Moore quickly apologized in a statement to Page Six. "I now realize that this was both disrespectful and insensitive and would never have done it if I had that knowledge and understanding beforehand," she said. "I regret it. When you know better, you do better. I am genuinely sorry." Plus, Reality Tea reports that Bravo edited the costume out of the show for future airings. Luann de Lesseps' caricature of a Diana Ross costume, though, was apparently allowed to stay.

Kelly Dodd and 'Drunk Wives Matter'

In summer 2020, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor sparked protests against police brutality worldwide. Even some celebrities participated in protests, including Porsha Williams of "Real Housewives of Atlanta." She earned fans' respect when she was arrested while protesting in Louisville, Kentucky. She even made her newfound interest in social justice into a storyline on the show, carrying on the legacy of her activist grandfather, Hosea Williams.

But as the summer went on, it became clear that the entire Bravo universe was not united in anti-racism. Bravo itself came under fire for failing to cast a Black woman on "Real Housewives of New York City" for the show's first 12 years. And Nene Leakes even accused Andy Cohen, the de facto face of Bravo, of racism after she left "Real Housewives of Atlanta."

Kelly Dodd, formerly of "Real Housewives of Orange County," added to the negative headlines when she decided to sport a trucker hat with the slogan "DRUNK WIVES MATTER." She wore it to a baby shower, of all places. The hat was described by Page Six as "a play on Black Lives Matter" that fans did not appreciate. This came on the heels of Dodd saying COVID-19 was "God's way of thinning the herd," among other controversies. She wasn't asked to return to "RHOC" the next season. She and her husband claimed this was because of woke-ness gone wild, according to People. But hey, now she can wear whatever hat she wants.

Jen Shah's snow-bound stilettos

Not all of the Housewives' wardrobe snafus are racist in nature, thank goodness. Jen Shah of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" might be in legal hot water, but her inappropriate wardrobe choices are considerably more lighthearted than those of her peers.

Although Shah lives in snowy Salt Lake City, she's become infamous for stepping out in strappy stilettos that are far from fully insulated. Bravo's cinematographers love to shoot close-ups of her frosty feet emerging from SUVs while snow falls around her. She even tweeted one of the clips, saying, "It's not an episode of #RHOSLC without ...," adding a glimpse of her strappy stiletto-clad feet emerging from a vehicle. Fans agree, with one tweeting that her snow-heels have become "a staple" and another saying her high-altitude fashion sense is "so fabulous."

Shah's only competition for outlandish clothing is her Season 1 nemesis, Mary Cosby. Cosby's co-stars bashed her outré fashion sense since Episode 1, when they compared her tulle Valentino dress to a "Christmas tree" and a "loofah," per Page Six. Considering the drama between Shah and Cosby and their dueling fashion moments, maybe a Zoolander-style walk-off could solve things?

Kelly Bensimon's wardrobe malfunction

Kelly Killoren Bensimon once told Out magazine (via Jezebel) that Bravo cast her on "The Real Housewives of New York City" because "​​they wanted a real socialite," she said. "They wanted a real New Yorker, if you will, on the show."

A "real New Yorker" and a "real socialite" are two different things. But Bensimon seamlessly merged the two when she got caught picking up dog poop from the sidewalk — real New Yorker — while inadvertently exposing some underboob thanks to the backless romper she wore while walking her dog — real socialite. The former "Real Housewife" of New York City flashed some serious skin in a backless outfit in July 2016, per Page Six.

Is a skimpy romper the most appropriate ensemble for picking up dog doo? No. But we're talking about the author of "The Bikini Book" here — a woman who posed for Playboy at 41. Of course she's going to prioritize fashion over comfort, even when walking the dog. That's what a "real socialite" would do!

Carole Radziwill hikes in nightgown

When "The Real Housewives of New York City" traveled to Montana in Season 6, Carole Radziwill lived up to her Season 1 tagline. "I may be a princess," she'd said in the opening credits, "but I'm definitely not a drama queen." And who else but a princess could casually wear a fuchsia nightgown on a hike in the woods?

Some fans were perplexed, with one tweeting, "Why the hell is Carole wearing a floor length dress on a hike?" Another Twitter user thought she looked like an "idiot."

But others applauded Radziwill, with one blogger comparing her fashion sense to Carrie Bradshaw. The former ABC News correspondent revealed on Twitter that the dress was vintage, after a fan commented that the "hiking dress" was "EVERYTHING!" So while Radziwill's style choices were often divisive, she also had plenty of fashion fans. She even started her own Poshmark account to sell her clothes, per Town & Country.

Melissa Gorga's 5K fur

When it comes to looking good, most "Real Housewives" cast members seem to rely more on cosmetic surgery than exercise. Maybe that's why when Jacqueline Laurita of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" invited her co-stars to join her for a 5K charity run, some of them showed up in workout clothes that were far from traditional.

Husband-and-wife duo Joe and Melissa Gorga made some seriously Jersey fashion statements when they turned up to the race. He dressed up like The Situation, and she had on a furry hat and leopard-print gloves — with a full face of makeup, naturally. Comedian and Bravo blogger Jay Mohr quipped, "Joey Gorga is dressed for his Jersey Shore audition, and Melissa looks like one of the Wonder Pets."

But the Gorgas were happy to dress up for the event. Melissa wrote in her blog, "We all had such a great time and fabulous outfits!" and admitted that for her, it was more of a charity walk than a run. Leopard print and fur for exercise? Only in New Jersey.

Kathy Hilton wears a tablecloth

Kathy Hilton became a "friend of," or supporting cast member, on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" in 2021. She quickly became a fan favorite by living up to the ditzy blonde stereotype that her daughter, Paris Hilton, parlayed into reality TV fame on "The Simple Life" in the 2000s. Does anyone know if Kathy's figured out who hunky-dory is yet?

Kathy also showed that, like Paris, she can make headlines with a wardrobe malfunction when she left a soirée wearing a tablecloth as a toga. The paparazzi caught Hilton entering an L.A. restaurant wearing a "chic pink tweed dress," per Page Six, but leaving in a white tablecloth that she'd draped around her neck and somehow tied shut. She later went Live on her Instagram account to explain the choice.

She had been hosting a charity event with her daughters, Paris and Nicky, earlier in the day when her tweed dress became too warm. "It was so hot," she said, "and I was on stage actually participating for two hours in the auction. I was roasting and roasting and roasting." She added that the tweed dress was "literally sticking to" her, and then her friend Vera Serrano helped her turn the tablecloth into a dress. It didn't look bad, either — so maybe the heavy tweed dress was the inappropriate garment.

Leah McSweeney and the sweats

Leah McSweeney represented a younger, downtown breath of fresh air when she joined "The Real Housewives of New York City" in 2020. With McSweeney thrown into this group of Upper East Side ladies who lunch, the older ladies gave her grief about everything from her tattoos to her quaint apartment. There were bound to be some clashes over fashion, too.

It came to a head when Sonja Morgan invited McSweeney to her clothing line's fashion show and sent her a Morgan-designed gray sweatsuit and pink fedora to wear. Morgan had sent items from her line to all of the cast members, but the other women were offered chic cocktail ensembles. McSweeney was the only one who received loungewear. She surmised that Morgan was being "passive aggressive," per, and opted instead to wear a skintight dress emblazoned with rapper Lil Kim's mugshot to Morgan's show.

Morgan defended herself on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen." When asked why she gave McSweeney sweats, she said, "Uh, because I love that suit — it's amazing. I was doing a '70s look for her with the faux fur — it was Jackie Brown, you know, the faux fur jacket, the sparkle glasses. And she wears that kind of look I thought. So, I misread her." Considering that McSweeney called it a "jail outfit" on Instagram, it seems like there was some sort of miscommunication.

Sonja Morgan has a penchant for flashing

In addition to misreading castmate Leah McSweeney's fashion preferences, Sonja Morgan also seems to overestimate public interest in exposure to her nether regions. Her track record for flashing might have gotten her jail time by now if her last name wasn't Morgan.

Viewers can't forget the metallic gold thong she showed off when dressed like Marie Antoinette — never mind the fact that the famous French queen would've had bloomers on. She made Luann de Lesseps' "Countess and Friends" cabaret show even more memorable when she let her red dress come off, per Us Weekly, showing off black underwear for all to see. And she keeps it up when she's not filming "The Real Housewives of New York City," too: she gave photographers a peek at her lingerie set at a Tribeca TF Festival event, per Express Digest.

But at least she's usually wearing undies when she flashes. She also has a thing for foregoing lingerie altogether. She penned a list of commando commandments for, and she even incorporated this tendency into her Season 6 tagline: "Sometimes Sonja has to go commando. What can I say?" Okay!

Was Elizabeth Vargas' Chanel fake?

When a new "Housewife" joins a cast, she needs to make a big splash. And there are two main ways to do that: by starting a fight with a cast member who has more seniority, or by showing off an especially flashy lifestyle. After Elizabeth Vargas joined "The Real Housewives of Orange County," she wore a white button-down shirt that purported to be from Chanel. So far, so normal for a California "Housewife." But then, Dorit Kemsley of the show's "Beverly Hills" franchises wore the same shirt — only hers was real.

The Instagram account @TheRealBadFashions pointed out that Vargas and Kemsley's shirts didn't exactly match. Kemsley is known for spending thousands on real-deal expensive fashions, so people figured Vargas was the faker. "​​Apparently this new housewife was married to a billionaire and has an amazing house, yet multiple people DM'd me about this particular top," the Instagram user wrote. "Pretty much everything [is wrong with the top]. The lettering, the style, the length, the buttons, etc."

Vargas responded with an Instagram Stories post, saying, per Reality Blurb, "Who knows if the shirt is real or not it was given to me from a close friend but ... who cares!!!! I'm in a photo with Dorit!!" Vargas was let go from the show after filming for her first season wrapped, according to the Daily Mail. Maybe the fake Chanel was bad luck.

Fake dreadlocks on RHOC

Popular opinion: Rich Americans visiting the Caribbean are the worst. And Vicki Gunvalson of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" kept this stereotype alive and well when the cast visited the region in a 2018 episode of the show.

When Gunvalson and company landed in Jamaica, they wore novelty rasta hats with fake dreadlocks attached. Gunvalson did ask their Jamaican cab driver if it was okay beforehand, per All About the Tea, and he said yes. But he might not have been in the mood to explain cultural appropriation to her in that moment. One Twitter user equated it to "Vicki asking for permission to be racist in Jamaica."

Gunvalson has since been sacked from the franchise, but she was set to appear on "The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip" in November 2021. A Page Six report claims that Gunvalson got into "heated arguments" about vaccine safety while cameras rolled, so clearly Gunvalson still has a penchant for controversy.

Alex McCord's burlap corset

There's an old saying about super stylish women: "She'd look good in a burlap sack." Well, high-fashion-loving ex-"Housewife" Alex McCord decided to put this axiom to the test when she wore a corset that was fashioned from an actual burlap sack.

McCord wore a canvas corset with "FEED" written on it. reports her husband, Simon van Kempen, won it at an auction. Lauren Bush Lauren, the granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush, founded the FEED project as a way to feed children with food insecurity all over the world, according to Coveteur.

But Bush Lauren didn't seem too crazy about McCord sporting her wares. "That burlap corset — it was an interesting interpretation of our product," she told The Cut. "It's so funny how many people watch that show and now think of FEED more for the corset than for the actual bags and what we do." Bush Lauren might not be a "Real Housewife," but that sounds like some grade-A shade.