The new millennium began with a bang, bringing forth the death of the dial-up, an obsession with Y2K spaceship-like music videos, and a general identity crisis when it came to personal style. Celebrities weren't excluded, either: Something made obvious when looking at MTV VMA outfits from the early 2000s.
To be fair, this was a whole new century. There was bound to be a grace period when it came to figuring things out. At that point, much of the world expected to be in a Jetsons age, flying around on hover boards and dressing like we just escaped The Matrix. Because of that, it's not so surprising that we largely felt slightly confused when it came to creating the defining look for our decade.
In the end, the task was too much pressure and we completely bobbled the outcome. Early naughties looks were all about the slashed, the clashing, the asymmetrical, and the sexy. From tiny baguette bags paired with casual-wear to barely-there denim minis matched with newspaper boy caps, self-expression was a wild ride in those days. And the red carpets were no exception. Below are 11 of the most 2000s VMA looks of all time. Cringe and enjoy.
1. Christina Aguilera's Bikini Dress
From the peroxide blonde and deep red highlights to the decorative thong strap peeking out from underneath the waistline, everything about Christina Aguilera's outfit screamed "the 2000s."
2. Destiny's Child's Denim & Leather Ensembles
The naughties wouldn't be the naughties without Destiny's Child's coordinating looks. This denim and leather concoction perfectly summarized the zeitgeist of the age: A little bit urban, a little bit daring, and indulgently tacky.
3. Sheryl Crow's Boho Look
Here we have all the major staples of the decade: A WWE-sized belt, a tube top that tied around the neck, touches of suede, and a furry, bohemian vest chucked on top of it all.
4. J. Lo's Bandana
Jenny From The Block showed us how it was done with her bandana headband, bedazzled crop top, and glitter-bombed hoops. You literally couldn't look cooler in 2000 if you tried.
5. Christina Aguilera's Lingerie Accents
There are so many things I want to direct your attention towards here. First, notice that her skirt doesn't have a waist band — because we didn't do waist bands back then. The lower the denim hit, the happier we were.
Second, her lace tank was basically just two tissues held together by strings.
Lastly, an outfit was never complete unless there was a body chain or thong strap accenting the hips.
6. Janet Jackson's Textured Ensemble
From mesh to sequins to leather, Jackson rocked the hell out of all the on-trend looks of those early days. And she brought them all together with the ever-present newspaper boy hat. Because that was somehow a thing.
7. Kate Husdon's Dress With Jeans
Raise your hand if you were guilty of this layering technique at least once. That's what I thought.
8. Paris Hilton's Whole Thing
From the backless halter and watercolor loin cloth to the clear stiletto heels, this was ideal club wear circa 2002.
9. Mary J. Blige's All-Leather Smack Down
This was from that one time Blige asked a lawyer's interior decorator to dress her.
10. Christina Aguilera's Office-Wear
Let us also shake our heads over the fact that we had a moment during which we sexed up office-wear and wore it around like we were about to conduct a meeting in a fedora and a slashed button-down.
11. Hilary Duff's Everything
From the pinstripe pants and belt chains to the baguette bag and striped crop top, Duff was basically singing every teenager's anthem.
While most of these looks might inspire face palms, here's hoping this year's VMAs are just as memorable.