new york fugging city

Katie Holmes’s Downward Style Spiral

Highway to the denim danger zone.Photo: Splashnews

We’re plenty cranky, but only a few things work us into a really frothy righteous rage — our Xanadu DVD disappearing, the popularity of the Twilight books, and of course the resurrection of leggings. But lately, somewhere between the second and sixth photos of Katie Holmes schlumping around L.A. and New York, we’ve added another thing to the list: Mrs. Cruise’s obsession with saggy pegged jeans.

Roughly a year ago, Katie morphed from Tom Cruise’s sweetly bland child bride — tagging gamely along with Posh, hiding behind a curtain of hair — to a chicly coiffed and poised fashion plate who was as groomed for the grocery store as she was for the red carpet. It was one of the best style makeovers since Fergie stopped wetting her high-waisted shorts. But now, Katie shuffles to All My Sons rehearsals and her Eli Stone shoot wearing raggedy, baggy jeans either rolled up to the ankle or, worse, pegged there like she’s a refugee from one of Tom’s eighties flicks.

The infection has spread to actresses ranging from Amanda Peet to the usually reliable Reese Witherspoon, but for someone with her budget and propensity for casual Prada, Katie’s style backslide feels the most pronounced. Even her once-gorgeous banged bob suffered: She’s shown up with a new cut every few weeks, each one weirder and wispier than the last. We desperately want to understand, but so far we’ve come up with only a few potential explanations.

1. Katie is too depressed to try. She’s not exactly getting the Kidman treatment. Tickets for Katie’s Broadway debut reportedly aren’t selling out, and aside from the Eli Stone stint, Hollywood has greeted her return to acting with a resounding yawn. Plus, having to flee your own home while Oprah talks to your husband, lest he be tempted to couch-surf again, would tax any girl’s spirits. Maybe pegged jeans are the new ratty sweatpants.

2. Katie is desperate. If being Tom Cruise’s wife in 2008 isn’t floating her career boat, maybe being Tom Cruise circa 1988 will. Dark glasses, a boyish haircut, jeans straight from a Brett Favre Wrangler ad … throw in a shirtless beach-volleyball scene and we could be back on the highway to the danger zone with Top Gun 2: Pull Up, Mav.

3. Katie is crabby, Aniston style. Friends star Jennifer spent years wearing the same thing whenever she left the house, allegedly to make paparazzi photos worth less and get them off her back. It didn’t work for Aniston because no one cared about her clothes to begin with, and it won’t work for Katie because it’s such a drastic change, and thus likely to prompt speculation such as … well, this column.

4. Katie is rebelling. Imagine how much pressure Katie is under to look immaculate anytime she wants to get a breath of fresh air. Maybe she’s Over It, engaging in a passive-aggressive war with Team Cruise by using his laundry pile as her arsenal. One wrinkle in this theory: If tall-drink-of-water Katie were just grabbing wee Tom’s pants off the floor of the walk-in, would she really need to roll them up?

5. Katie is bloated. Okay, we’ve been there. However, this is why the fashion gods created maxi-dresses. Which is worse: pregnancy rumors or people speculating that Tom is a pair of tightie-whities away from being married to himself? Somebody please take this girl shopping before she invests in any Jockey shorts. —The Fug Girls

For more of the Fug Girls, check out their complete archive.

Related: Suri’s Just Cruising Around Town: At Two Years Old, She’s Already a Personality [NYM]
Welcome Suri! Did You Bring Mumsy and Dada? [NYM]
Katie Holmes Not Selling Tickets on Broadway [NYM]

Katie Holmes’s Downward Style Spiral