Even with cast fluctuations from season to season there are a few things you can always count on at a Real Housewives of New York City reunion special: The drama, the fashion, and Ramona Singer. (Seriously, others may come and go, but we've got a feeling Ramona will always be on that couch. We're certain she's the Vicki Gunvalson of this series.) While Ramona has more or less stayed the same since the show's humble beginnings eight seasons ago, the drama and the fashion have only amped up each year. Long gone are the days when someone would dare wear a sleeveless t-shirt with their name printed on it. (Looking at you, Jill Zarin.)
While we impatiently await the first part of the season eight reunion special to see just how stratospheric the drama gets this season, we thought we'd take a look back at the style evolution of our favorite Big Apple Bravolebrities. Brace yourselves—it's going to be a bumpy ride.
The Real Housewives of New York City have come a long way from the early days, when a reunion was simply an hour long and under the guise of a Watch What Happens special. From the basement of the Russian Tea Room, NYC's OGs Jill, Ramona, Alex McCord, Luann de Lesseps and Bethenny Frankel gathered to rehash their first season—and somehow Jill thought it was a great idea to wear a Team Jill shirt. Never would the fashion be this simple again.
The OGs, along with new Housewife Kelly Killoren Bensimon, reunited at Cipriani for a then-record seven-hour shouting session. This would be the first reunion longer than one hour across the entire franchise (Real Housewives of Atlanta would soon follow suit later that year, with RHOC finally being juicy enough for a two-parter in 2010, after season five), but you wouldn't know it by the fashion. Between Bethenny's green lace Forever 21-esque mini-dress and Ramona's electric blue monstrosity, the clothes here was a doozy. At least Jill leveled up from tees, though.
Ah, the season that introduced us to Sonja Morgan, destroyed Jill and Bethenny's friendship, and brought us to Scary Island. (And, no, we're not referring to that island of fabric on B's left shoulder in this photo.) Filmed at the Prince George Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, the fashions at the season three reunion were, well—what's that old saying? If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. We'll let Bethenny's peplum disaster and Kelly's babydoll sheet dress speak for themselves.
The only season of RHONY that could be considered an unequivocal disaster. Filmed at Capitale in SoHo, the reunion, much like the clothing worn to it and the season preceding it, was dull enough to be downgraded to two hours after three the season prior. Shockingly, Cindy Barshop (Bravo's failed attempt at replacing the irreplaceable Bethenny) and her purple dress were the least offensive here. Not that it was hard with Kelly's gold sequined debacle and Luann's floral fiasco in the mix.
RHONY performed a hard reset in its fifth year, giving Kelly, Jill, Alex, and Cindy the boot. In came newbies Aviva Drescher, Carole Radziwill, and Heather Thomson, who apparently forced the surviving Ramona, Sonja, and Luann to up their fashion game. Gathering at the Museum of American Finance (sounds like a thrilling locale), this might've been the first season the women showed up in fashion with a capital F. Yes, Ramona's blue leather thing is a bit beastly, but we're still living for Sonja's shinning silver look.
Filmed in the Grand Ballroom of the Hammerstein Theater in midtown Manhattan (complete with a giant light-up NYC, in case you forgot which installment of the Real Housewives you were watching), the year of the leg throw failed to deliver, fashion-wise. The less said about Sonja's dismal Pepto-Bismol dress, the better. Even newbie, and noted fashion plate, Kristen Taekman was a disappointment. Thank Andy Cohen God for Cool Carole and sequined snake print livening things up.
Ah, the year that introduced us to Dorinda Medley and saw the return of our Queen B. Sure, there were some sincerely questionable dress decisions made during the reunion, filmed at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan—we're just going to pretend that we never laid eyes on Luann's turquoise tragedy—but at least Heather went out on high note. Girl was looking good. Holla! As for Sonja's giraffe print, we're still, a year later, torn. Do we love it? Hate it? We may never decide.
The drama in season eight may have been fierce, but the looks these ladies are serving at the reunion are even fiercer. We are LIVING for whatever the hell that is Carole is wearing. That is some haute couture if we've ever seen it. Honorable mention goes to Luann and that plush pantsuit, as well to as Bethenny and Ramona for making the sexiest black-and-white cookie NYC has ever seen. Better luck next time, everyone else!
The Real Housewives of New York City's three-part reunion special premieres Wednesday, August 31 at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)