Ever since the term “basic” was introduced into the lexicon a few years ago, the landscape of what exactly falls into this lowly, confusing category is sometimes a mystery. After all, basicness has already laid claim to so many things we once enjoyed without a flicker of shame: Sex and The City, Uggs, Instagrams at brunch, avocado toast, pumpkin spice lattes, the list goes on and on. How can we know for sure something we currently love doesn’t suffer the same fate?
Here at Over The Moon, we editors often turn to each other for advice when we can’t for the life of us decipher whether or not something is, in fact, basic. And in the spirit of sharing this oh-so valuable, sometimes hilarious information, we’ve decided to start cataloguing these conversations for those who might find them useful.
For our inaugural “Is This Basic?” post, we’re tackling metallic Mylar balloons.
If you’ve been to a party recently, chances are you’ve seen these oversize helium-filled metallic balloons in the shapes of letters or numbers as some form of background decoration. They first arrived on the scene a few years back—one of our editors attributed their rise to the Kardashians’s predilection for them—and since then, they’ve become an inescapable form of festive event decor. So, we couldn’t help but wonder ( 😉 ), has their mass popularity taken them into basic territory? Here, we weigh in.
Alexandra Macon: After seeing these balloons turn up everywhere, from kids’ birthday parties to fancy engagement dinners, I started to question whether they’d gone too mainstream. They just showed up in Paris Hilton’s engagement announcement on Instagram, so our conversation is especially timely!
Patricia Garcia: Do you think Paris Hilton made them basic?
Alex: No, Paris did not make them basic. Although I distinctly remember her wearing Uggs with short skirts on The Simple Life, so maybe there is some correlation.
Anna Mack: They are definitely overused, but I still love them! People say, “If you didn’t Instagram it, did it happen?” You could take that a step further and say, “If you didn’t have these balloons, was it even a party?” The truth is they are great for photo ops. At my 25th birthday dinner, we used them to help cover up an ugly vent behind our table at the restaurant, and everyone ended up posing in front of them for all of their Instagrams.
Alex: I used them at my daughter’s birthday party, we spelled out her nickname. They definitely added something.
Patricia: But are they too done? Has their popularity taken them into mason jar basicness territory?
Alex: I think if you use them in a somewhat ironic kitschy way, they are a cool, fun way to set the mood for a party. For example: Would I spell out a bride’s name at a bridesmaid’s lunch? No. But would I do a funny wedding hashtag at a casual engagement party? Perhaps.
Anna: I’m not a fan of people using them in engagement photos, where one person holds the “I” and the other holds “Do.” Yikes.
Patricia: I have a theory that they only work if you’re spelling out your initials or your age, so a cap of two, maybe three Mylar balloons—more than that is one Mylar balloon too much. They’re like martinis: One might be too few, but three is too many.
VERDICT: It depends on how you use them. To avoid falling into the basic trap, stick with the lowest balloon count possible, and if you do use them, be in on the joke—nobody wants to see an earnest declaration of love floating through the air at a party.