Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi Reflects on (and Defends!) Her Jersey Shore Fashions

To celebrate the launch of her wine brand, Messy Mawma, Jersey Shore's Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi raised a glass to her old looks and told E! News why she actually doesn't remember all of them.

By Alli Rosenbloom, Sarah Grossbart Nov 08, 2021 8:00 PMTags

Gym, tan...leopard? Yes, we know that's not the mantra emblazoned in the minds of Jersey Shore fans the world over. And, yet, it's hard not to argue that those were the words Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi lived by during her early years in Seaside Heights. 

Though raised in Marlboro, N.Y., the self-described meatball became known for embodying the trucker hats, hair poofs and general blinged-out, bedazzled excess that is practically synonymous with Jersey in the late '00s, having never met a cheetah or leopard print she wouldn't happily drape over her 4-foot-8 frame. 

"I call it 'my color,'" she told E! News in a recent phone interview of her beloved animal prints. "It's still my go-to. I mean, I don't rock it as much because I usually look homeless and I'm wearing like baggy clothes." 

Now busy parenting Lorenzo, 9, Giovanna, 7, and Angelo, 2, with husband of nearly seven years Jionni LaValle, the 33-year-old is more likely to be kicking it in her mom uniform of cozy leggings and oversized sweatshirts. 

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"I was definitely more fun when it comes to dressing back then," she admitted. "Now being a mom of three like, I live in leggings. I don't do my makeup. I don't brush my hair. I just don't do anything for me unless I'm going out with the girls or I'm doing a nice dinner."

But just because she's not in Christian Audigier or curve-hugging satin doesn't mean she's any less of a good time

These days, however, instead of shots of So Co and coconut rum concoctions, she's pouring herself a glass of red (or white!) from her newly launched Messy Mawma line, a collaboration with Summerland Wine Brands. 

"I've literally been trying to make my own wine brands for three years now," she says of sipping her way through a few vinos before finding her perfect Tantrum Chardonnay and Chaos Cab. "And I'm so excited because I'm a wine connoisseur and as a mom, I just feel like wine is, like, my saving grace especially after a crazy day. Like a glass of wine, I'm, like, 'Yes, thank you.'" 


That feeling of finally uncorking a bottle post-bedtime routine was the inspiration behind the brand. 

"Messy Mawma is just, like, a person that is so messy but still has her s--t together. You know what I mean?" she explained. "Like still gets things done but not in a cookie-cutter type way. And yeah, that's me."

So what better way to celebrate (other than raising a glass, of course), but by toasting to Polizzi's very un-cookie-cutter-like fashions of the past decade? She tells E! News the story behind the missteps (hint: alcohol may have been involved) and what styles still deserve an enthusiastic fist pump. 

January 2010, at the Grammy Awards

"It was the first invite that we got, like, that was huge. Like, 'Oh my God we're going to the Grammys! We're going see like all these pop stars and that's so cool.' So that's a Bebe dress that didn't fit me, it was too tight. And I walked on the carpet with my winter coat and the hood up and my sunglasses and they were like, 'Don't you want to take that off?' And I was like, 'Oh?' Like, I didn't know what was happening. So this is my first real red carpet and I just felt so cool. I was looking for Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, Kanye ['Ye' West]. We were stalking out everybody."

April 2010, in Miami Beach

"So we ended up buying these crazy sunglasses. This was mine, Jenni ['JWoww' Farley] bought one with, like, spikes on it. And it was $300 for those. And I was like, 'Oh my God, $300 for glasses? Whatever, I'll buy it,' not realizing, like, I probably make that myself. But you could definitely see through them, you weren't, like, completely blind. You could see through the stones and I was just obsessed with these. I wore them all the time. I don't know what I did with them. I think they're in my mom's house somewhere because I still lived with my mom at the time."

July 2010, at a Las Vegas bash

"That's me and Jenni trying to, actually we were trying to be classy. We wanted to look nice and pretty and not, like, Jersey. So I feel like we look pretty and classy here. Like, my dress is definitely something that I wouldn't wear back then, so I felt really classy in this look, I remember."

November 2010, at her 23rd birthday party

"This was a Sherri Hill dress. I was so excited because I loved her dresses and she let me wear this. And I just felt like a princess. I mean, I don't know [why I wore a tiara]. I literally don't know but I felt like I wanted to be, like, a queen for the night and I feel like I pulled it off."

February 2011, at the Grammy Awards

"Disgusting. The dress is, I thought it was cute. I don't even remember who it was by. But yeah, I'm not feeling it now. Like, the shoulders. Like, are you 85? Like, no. I think I was trying to like pull off Lady Gaga."

May 2011, visiting Florence, Italy

"So this is an iconic look. A lot of people that dressed up as Snooki for Halloween usually wear this. And, yeah, it was just, like, one of my favorite outfits that I really wanted to wear in Italy. And I'm definitely drunk here, I'm looking for wine. And I probably skipped my shifts at the pizzeria to have meatballs. I probably blacked out here so I don't actually remember this photo, but it brings me back to all the times that we had and it's so crazy."

May 2011, walking around Florence, Italy

"I had a shift at the pizzeria and I didn't want to work. So I took Mike [Sorrentino]'s neck brace and pretended I got hurt and told my boss, 'I broke my neck, I can't work.' And then he let me go and then that's me leaving work and looking for a bar. Me and Deena [Cortese] wore those boots in Italy. We wore them back in Jersey. That was, like, the meatball look, was our fuzzy boots."

August 2011, at a Las Vegas event

"I clearly think I look hot here and I don't. I don't know what that headband is with the poof. I mean, the bathing suit is cute, but, like, that cover up on the bottom? I'm clearly drunk here so I didn't care what it looked like."

February 2012, appearing on Watch What Happens Live

"So I feel like leopard and animal print is just, like, my staple. It was always my go-to. And I have it on the Messy Mawma wine bottles. I would still wear this gorgeous leopard dress and rock it. I probably have it in my closet."

July 2012, at an L.A. event

"I was pregnant with Lorenzo, literally, like, eight months, about to burst. And I really, really loved that sequin blazer. I remember just loving it. So, yeah, Lorenzo in my belly. Now he's 9. Crazy."

April 2013, at the MTV VMAs

"I loved this dress and I definitely wanted big hair. So I feel like I did the big hair and a lot of teasing this time. I always feel like I had big hair and then I kind of went down a little bit. So I wanted to bring the big hair back."

July 2014, filming in NYC

"This was on Snooki and JWoww and I was pregnant with Giovanna. We ended up doing a tea party for the girls and we went to this place and it was all decked out and like a tea party, like Victorian. And of course we wanted to go play the part, so that was our costumes."

August 2016, at the MTV VMAs

"I literally had nothing to wear and this was in my closet that I wore at a wedding. So I just threw it on. Obviously I didn't get my makeup done or my hair and I just showed up. I feel like I worked it."

March 2018, at the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation premiere

"So I had nothing to wear and I don't have, like, a stylist or anything. I probably should. But I literally ordered this on Amazon. It's a nightgown. It's, like, a romper nightie and I wanted something satin so I overnighted it to the hotel and I wore it. So I'm in my pajamas."

August 2018, at the MTV VMAs

"Yeah, so this I was actually styled for! I was filming Just Tattoo of Us that I hosted with Nico [Tortorella] on MTV and I literally had nothing to wear. We had a stylist on set and I was like, 'Girl, you have got to go get me something.' So she went out and got me—I said I want something rainbow and sequins—and she pulled this out and I was like, 'Thank, God.' So this is the only look that I was styled for. And I loved it!"