MTV's hit reality show put the spotlight on the style of a group of 20-something Italian-Americans, self-professed "guidos" and "guidettes," as they partied and fist-pumped their way through a Seaside Heights, N.J., summer. And now their style-- heavy on gravity-defying hair and deeply revealing tops -- is catching on among a non-"guido" audience that has tuned in not just for the drama, but to study the cast's particular, and sometimes peculiar, fashion choices.
"They're fist-pumping. They're doing their hair like us now, dressing like us," Pauly Delvecchio, who goes by Pauly D on the show, told NBC's "Today" show on Monday. "We obviously did something right."
Pauly D's blowout hairdo helps define the style, along with Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's white hair-clipped pouf, which has several fan pages on Facebook. Jenni "JWOWW" Farley has announced her own clothing line and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino walked the red carpet at the Grammys displaying his famous abs.
Zach Vujic, 15, has learned lately just what kind of dedication it takes to get Pauly D's hair. The 10th grader from Stoney Creek, Ontario, got his own version of the cut, with short hair on bottom, topped by hair a couple inches long sticking straight up in spikes seemingly shellacked into place.
Pauly D, a DJ from Johnston, R.I., has called the cut windproof, waterproof, soccer-proof and motorcycle-proof. Zach, whose ethnic background is Serbian, says he's watched every episode of the show four times and got the Pauly D cut in late January. Since then, he's been getting up 25 minutes early for school, at 6:25 a.m., so he has time to perfect the style.
It's worth it, Zach said.
"I've noticed now when I go places with the haircut, people just stop and look at me. No one else has it," he said.
Another plus, according to Zach: girls like it.
Other hallmarks of the "Jersey Shore" look are Jenni "JWOWW" Farley's blonde extensions and boob-revealing tops, T-shirts and trucker hats bearing classic Ed Hardy tattoo designs, and designer sunglasses and bags sometimes knockoffs.
Most striking perhaps is that the men of "Jersey Shore" appear to be more dedicated to their looks than the women. Pauly D says he spends 25 minutes on his hair every day and gets it cut weekly. He and Sorrentino, dedicate themselves to a daily "GTL" routine: "Gym. Tan. Laundry." so they look their best when they go out.
Lauren Lewis, 19, a nursing student at Laguardia College in Queens, N.Y., who is Jamaican, Italian and Irish, with a little Lithuanian and British thrown in, says she doesn't consider herself a guidette but looks to Snooki and JWOWW for tips when she goes out clubbing.
"I want to be Snooki or JWOWW. Outgoing. I'm not really that outgoing," she said. "I look at them for inspiration."
Lewis has tried several times to reproduce Snooki's hairstyle, which is achieved through teasing, hairspray and a big white hair clip that pushes up the hair into a pouf. But Lewis has curly hair and has only been able to do it once, with a lot of help from her friends.
"I would probably do it every day if I had straight hair," she said.
Lewis said she doesn't think she could pull off many of JWOWW's style choices, although few could. Take JWOWW's signature fashion statement the infamous draping yellow shirt she wore in one episode that revealed everything between her breasts.
Still, JWOWW sold the shirts on her own Web site for a time and last month announced those sales were suspended because she's coming out with her own clothing line in late spring or early summer.
JWOWW tweeted this week that her blonde extensions worn under dark hair will not be making a comeback in the show's second season. Alicia Carmody, a hairstylist who works in Providence, said several clients have asked about those extensions, although no one has told her they want to look like JWOWW yet.
She said several other clients, mostly college students, have gotten the Pauly D cut.
The "Pauly D" has become so popular that even little kids want the look. Anthony Gianfrancesco, the North Providence barber who's cut Pauly's hair for a decade, says he's been inundated with appointments from people as far away as New Bedford, Mass., a 40-minute drive, to get the $12 cut.
He says it attracts people "going for that guido look" but from all backgrounds.
"It's not necessarily Italians who are getting it, but Portuguese and Irish," he said. "You go to the mall, you see tons of people with the hairdo now. You go to the club, there's a million Pauly Ds in the crowd."
By Michelle R. Smith