How To Be Boughetto

A close friend recently informed me that my fashion sense could best be described as “boughetto,” also known as a complex hybrid of bourgeoisie and ghetto-ass style. Note: allow me to take a moment to clarify that “ghetto” does not in any way refer to any particular racial group. We all know trash is colorblind, and so am I. Let’s move on. When I first moved to Long Beach, CA my style was pretty classic with a few hipster trends thrown in the mix. I favored clean, tailored lines and a high hemline. But after five years in the hood, I’m definitely starting to pick up a few tips from the other side. My love of anything sequined, skintight, sluttish, and cheap as hell/from Forever 21 as well as an unhealthy obsession with MTV Jams has only fueled my desire for longer nails, faker hair, higher heels, and a bigger booty. Here are a few tips for creating the perfect blend of boughetto.

1. Cheap, Cheap, Cheap. Buy most of your clothes in a payday-induced frenzy at Forever 21, the Divided section at H&M, or any discount fashion warehouse. These places are usually found along prominent boulevards in bad areas of your city, and are designated by names like “Fashion 4 U,” “Fashion 4 Less,” or “Ropa Para Toda La Familia.”

2. Girl, Your Nails Look Real Cute. Always have your nails done. I have to stay away from acrylic talons because I have a hard enough time texting on my iPhone as it is, but I’ve always been jealous of the cashier at Big Lots who somehow manages to man her register with two inch pieces of PVC pipe glued to her fingertips (usually painted in zebra stripes or the iconic Big Lots black n’ orange). Take a leaf out of her book and have your nails painted to match whatever it is you’re doing. Khloe Kardashian gets it – just check out her mani before a Laker game.

3. Mix it Up. To avoid crossing the ghetto threshold altogether, you have to make sure to wear your faux leather leggings with something classy and appropriate. Since the Kardashians are pretty much boughetto pros, I’ll continue to use them as an example. I’ve noticed that Khloe’s $650,000 wedding ring usually offsets whatever animal-print monstrosity she’s sporting that day. Nothing says “true class” like a giant piece of bling. Of course, we lowly non-famous plebeians usually have to find our bling at the bottom of the 50% Off Accessories bin at Charlotte Russe, so instead of combining a variety of cheap flashy shit (see 3rd floor of the Long Beach Courthouse for an example), I would recommend dressing normally (let’s start with some nice jeans and a cardigan) and adding some “flair” for effect – appropriate additions include but are not limited to: six inch Lucite heels, hoop earrings you can put your fist through, and/or temporary (or not) paw print tattoos over each breast a la Eve (the stripper-turned-rapper, not the alleged first woman on Earth). You can further improve the balance by shopping at farmer’s markets, wearing shawls, going to college, or having some hidden talent like knowing sign language or being a classical pianist.

4. Watch Your Language. Pepper your otherwise-impeccable speech with slang phrases straight from the trap houses of Atlanta, GA. Throwing in a “shawty” and the occasional grammatical error (i.e. “I just barely got here!” or “Who that be?”) never hurt anyone, and adds a little street spice to your normal speaking style. You can also type LiKe DiS in some text messages for ironic effect, but make sure you’re texting with someone who knows you’re being ironic, and not just an idiot.

5. Shake That Ass (But Watch Yourself). A true master of boughetto style has a healthy and varied taste in music. You named your iPod “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” because among underground indie EPs and rare jazz B-sides you scoured the Internet to find are a heaping handful of hip-hop and pop atrocities. Yes, we like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, but we LOVE Gucci Mane, Pitbull, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Beyonce. Oh, is your ringtone a Justin Beiber Mexicali techno mastermix? Dat’s real cute! Better make your ringback song an obnoxiously sexual 90s R&B slowjam.

6. Drugs. The – let’s say, chemically adventurous – boughetto princess keeps a special box under her bed for all occasions. Weed, just to get through the day. Adderall so she can keep the cushy job she’s unqualified for but got through her parents connections. Other assorted pharmaceuticals obtained through friends and the medicine cabinets of their parents. Ecstasy for going dancing at hip overpriced lounges with names like “Sip,” “Ultra Suede,” or “Cobras and Matadors.” General brokeassness prevents her from doing coke unless it’s free. When she’s at 4100 Bar in Silverlake (that’s Los Angeles to those not in the know/from California) she drinks vodka and seltzer or Pabst Blue Ribbon in a paper sack if she’s feeling grunge/wearing a leather jacket. When she’s at Heat Ultra Lounge in Anaheim, CA, she drinks Hennessey, Bud Light Lime, and Adios Motherfuckers, and ends the night puking out of the passenger car window while simultaneously smoking a cigarette.

I encourage everyone cultivating their own boughetto look to experiment as much as possible and not be afraid to fail. So feather boas and hiking boots won’t be catching on any time soon- confidence is half the battle! Just remember the mantra, “A little bit classy, a little bit sassy” and you should be fine. TC mark

image – Wikipedia


More From Thought Catalog

  • Karl McDonald


    • Tera Kristen

      You missed the boughetto part! “Young Kreayshawn GRIMY, but I feel so elegant”

  • mopey P

    I can't believe this post does not involve Crime Mob somehow.

    • Tessah

      Holy shit. You're right. (forehead smack).

  • Rushel Miller

    The Hilarity

  • ty

    the disclaimer doesn't mask the racist undertones.

    • SisterRay

      Yeah…I know people like this. This style is like a hipster offshoot that instead of being mindbogglingly twee and typically “white” is embracing lower-income Latino/black styles, but in an “ironic” way which is pretty offensive…it's like, “I'm allowed to dress 'trashy'/lower class because I still have all this money! LOLZ!” Plus if you talk “ghetto” when you're just another white kid from the suburbs you will still sound like an idiot.

      • Kaitlyn_Flynn

        Yeah, but I don't think rich white hipster kids who want to emulate that culture/speech shop at Forever 21… they shop at like, Supreme.

      • Megan

        you're the one associating trashy with minorities, not the writer.

      • Katgeorge

        HEAR HEAR!

      • Tessah

        i'm not a white kid from the suburbs, SISTERRAY. i'm broke, biracial, and stylie as fuck.

    • Ugh

      I totally agree. If being ghetto is “colorblind”–which, let's face it, we all know it isn't–than why did the author associate ghettoness with “a bigger booty?” That's a racial characteristic more likely in women of color, not something one decides to have because they are “trashy.”  (Or because they want to be adopt lower-class fashion for the sake of adding pizzazz to their beige hipster lifestyle.)

      • Katgeorge

        Excuse me I'm a Greek girl, which makes me white. Big booty is associated with my culture too, it's racist to leave me out just cuz I'm not a woman of colour. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE STAND UP FOR THE GREEKZ?

      • Tessah

        hey girl- i'm not leaving anyone out because i'm not putting anyone “in.” maybe a re-read is in order here?

      • Katgeorge

        I think “Guest” and I were being sarcastic and standing up for you.

      • Tessah

        Thank you! <3

      • Bema

        I am not a woman of color, and I don't have a big booty.

        This thread is discriminatory against my kind.

  • Kaitlyn_Flynn

    I don't really get where the bourgeois part comes in–I'm not trying to belittle–maybe it's an LA/NY thing? Because I live in NY and to me it just sounds like gh-ghetto. Am I totally off base?! Again, not trying to bash, trying to get it.

    • NYUstudent

      Am I ghetto cuz I dress like that? :(

  • Jessica

    So buying cheaper clothes at Forever 21 or H&M because you might not have enough money to shop at pricier stores makes you trashy? I don't think so. That just sounds snobby. Those stores might be really cheap and the clothes might not be made very well but they do have some cute clothes sometimes.

    • guest

      you sooo did not get the point of this article…

  • Jason Ham

    Oh Tessah honey I am basically the gaysian version of this, except I was always this “ghetto” and got transformed into an almost-hipster by 3 years of art school. So it's like your white-people-parodying-“urban”-culture but in reverse.

    Also, BIG UPS to the ST. LUNATICS reference. LOL.

  • concerned citizen

    This article is so annoying. How come whenever Thought Catalog even slightly brings up race it makes me want to gouge my eyes out?

    • greg

      Because TC writers suck ass  at talking about race, it's just the nature of all their writers…mostly young, self-absorbed, white, upper-class, pretentious….you get the drift

      • Tessah

        Except I'm not white, I'm not upper class, and I'm NOT being ironic. I'm just being me, y'all.

      • greg

        Please respond Tessah:

        Ok after reading the other comments I clearly am helping fan an unnecessarily hostile fire. I'm sorry,  I woke up cranky and the first thing I saw was this post…I was pissed and decided to troll you. I've re-read the post and clearly this was actually more introspective and light then I painted it out to be. I could imagine you and I having a this conversation while sharing a blunt and you and not being fazed. 

        With that being said, as much as TC publishes serious and not so serious articles about love and going to Liberal arts schools and the profundity of 80s flicks and 90s TV cartoons; serious posts about race are strangely absent.  TC would be a great place to post seriously about this topic b/c it caters to a great crowd of readers(not the most diverse , but still) and some of the writers here could tackle the issue in a really creative way.

        sorry for trolling

      • Tessah

        Thank you for your response. I really appreciate it when comments are thoughtful and specific and not just “OMG THIS IS SUCH TRASH I TOTALLY HATE IT!!” I would love to discuss it with you over a blunt sometime, but for now the comments section will have to do. You're right. TC is mostly full of upper class white hipster writers. And I am definitely working on a new (serious) piece about what it's like to be biracial and have people make assumptions about how I should or should not act according to the color of my skin. Race is a serious issue, no doubt about it. I also think people are too quick to yell “RACIST!!” sometimes, especially when they are making quickfire judgements over something they read on the internet by someone they don't even know or bother to read the easy-to-find author bio which includes a picture that may clear up some of the issues found in the comments. And honestly, even though this article is meant to be funny, I'm not really joking. I really do dress that way, and I really do think I look good. I don't dress or act a certain way to “stand out in Silverlake” (as one commenter took it). I yam what I yam, and just because I can make fun of myself doesn't mean I'm making a comment on other people. I hope this is somewhat coherent, I'm halfway through a post-work bowl and watching MTV Jams at the same time.

  • :-|

    I never thought I'd be defending the Kardashians, but at least their gaudy style of dress is genuine. When Khloe Kardashian puts on a leopard print pussy bow top she does it because she genuinely believes she looks good, not so she'll stand out in Silverlake.

    • Tessah

      Hey, that's not fair. It's always about looking good for me, and I don't give a fuck what anyone in Silverlake thinks. Oh and btw, I idolize the Kardashians. That's why I included them.

  • Theblackorchard

    ” Note: allow me to take a moment to clarify that “ghetto” does not in
    any way refer to any particular racial group. We all know trash is
    colorblind, and so am I.”

    I stopped reading here. Racist.

    • Greg

      I'm glad that my sense of style when I was young, broke, and being raised in the projects is an ironic joke too you. asshole

      • Tessah

        I am young. I am broke. I do live in the projects. I'm not being ironic.

      • Anonymous

        I’m sorry lady but there are no “projects” in LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA. I lived there for 5 years. Get the fuck out.

    • Tessah

      I'm biracial, maybe you've heard of it?

  • Tessah

    Why does everyone always assume I'm white?

    • April

      Because it's usually white people who are so quick to make the racist generalizations that you have, immediately after referring to yourself as “colorblind.”

      • Bema

        Actually, I beg to differ April. I thought she was black from point 2: “Girl, Your Nails Look Real Cute”. Is it wrong that I assumed this was an African-American verb conjugation?

        Blackicity is hard to interpret in the written word, especially on a site like Thought Catalog where the demographics are reminiscent of 2% milk. She mentioned people popular with brown persons like Khloe Kardashian, Eve, Gucci Mane et al, et. al, et al. Recommendations are made to incorporate the culture of “the hood”, “[the] ghetto”, “Atlanta, GA”. Her first name is spelled corruptly, as well, ¿which is a black-ish attribute?

        I think context is everything in this case. Because this is Thought Catalog, you expect this to be ironic or crafted with meticulous distance from the subject matter. However, the race of the author would have been interpreted differently if the article had been found in the pages of Ebony magazine or Generic Black Monthly.

        In conclusion, I could probably write a whole essay on what race we should assume the author is. And for practical purposes, I have.

      • Tessah

        Is my name spelled “corruptly”? My white mother gave it to me, and I'm pretty sure she can spell it however she wants.

      • Bema

        Sweet Jesus, who cares if you mother was white or black or the color of the rainbow?

        “Corrupted spelling” is merely the term used to describe adopted spelling outside of the usual. It's not an insult or a compliment. It's a neutral word. That's why I chose that phrase instead of say, “wrong spelling”, “weird spelling,” etc. My name is a corrupted spelling, it's not like, shameful. It's simply something that black people are thought to do more often for whatever reason.

        By mentioning the race of your mother, you have thus implied that being white is some sort of validation of living a black stereotype. Just like, “It's okay, I have a black cousin.” It's okay, however, I really do have a black cousin. His name is José.

      • Tessah

        “Her first name is spelled corruptly, as well, ¿which is a black-ish attribute?” Did you write that earlier or was that someone else? I guess I should have put quotations around “black-ish attribute”. My bad.

      • Bema

        I love to argue. We could go on, back-and-forth, till the end of time and space immemorial.

        Instead of putting quotation marks like you did to denote the shaky ground that corrupt spelling has as a black attribute, I one-upped you and put something better: upside-down question marks.

        The source of what is making you so argumentative is unclear, so what exactly are you angry about? I hope you haven't somehow come to the conclusion that I hate black people or enjoy putting them down, because I don't.

      • Bunny

        I think it's funny that you managed to stereotype every black person in the world, be a total racist and competely condescending all the in the space of  4 paragraphs. +100

      • Bema

        I fail to see how I'm being racist when all this information is derived from the article itself.

  • Katgeorge


    Everyone else chill the fuck out. Even if it is targeting a racial group (which I don't think it is) who cares? It's not a negative article, it's showing admiration for a certain culture/style.

  • Tessah

    Honestly I still can't quite figure out what people are so angry about. Nothing in this article singles out any particular group in any way because I'm more or less just writing about my own life. I find it perfectly acceptable to make fun of the way I do things, and if other people happen to do them the same way it's not my problem. Are we really going to get up in arms over an article about how to be boughetto, a word that doesn't even exist? Are we really going to take it this seriously? REALLY?

  • Ttvu00

    Hey girl. I think you are my soul sister. This is my life – so this is true for some! And a lot of what you said I would say too! My friends would not be offended. I'm not offended! People should just chill out! It's just a comedic look at life! Stereotypes have some truth but they don't apply to everyone!

    I'm boughetto and I'm living it up! Oh if it matters, which it shouldn't I'm asian but my friends say I talk like a valley girl. I just laugh it up.

    • Ttvu00

      I'm not broke anymore (coming from a 3rd world country and all), but I used to be, I and think I still pretty much am the same.

  • Silverlaker

    That’s cute she says 4100 bar is hipster.

  • Lalala

    I loved this. Shake them dumbass haters off!

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