There's no denying the aughts were an... *interesting* decade fashion-wise. Something we're being reminded of all too well thanks to the surprising Y2K trend resurgence we've been witnessing this season. But when it comes to trying to summarise an entire era's collective style, it's best defined by two iconic dresses. The first being Paris Hilton's 21st birthday party silver chainmail dress. And the second, Britney Spears' AMAs denim dress.
You know the one. Since arriving on the red carpet at the 2001 American Music Awards in the strapless, A-line full-length gown constructed completely from denim with a coordinating denim bag and matching perfectly to her then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake's denim suit, Britney's look has been recreated countless times by the likes of Katy Perry, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Dua Lipa, Maya Jama, Khloe Kardashian and Ashley Graham. Hence it's iconic status.
But, in her newly released memoir, The Woman in Me, where she discusses everything from her partying and drinking to the abortion she had while dating Justin Timberlake and why she shaved her head in 2007, Britney has referred to the look as "tacky". Cue collective gasp from fashion fans everywhere. Yep, in the church of Coco Chanel, this is basically fashion blasphemy.
Red carpet events see fashion stylists planning a celebrity's look for weeks, if not months. in advance – and it was just the same two decades ago. After learning Justin was planning on wearing denim to the event, Britney says she suggested the idea of matching and doing "denim-on-denim".
"At first, honestly, I thought it was a joke," she writes. "I didn't think my stylist was going to do it, and I never thought Justin was going to do it with me. But they both went all in." "When he put it on, I thought, 'Whoa! I guess we're really doing this!'" she continues. "With the matching denim, we blew it up."
Justin got flak for the look at the time, something Britney also addresses. "On one podcast where they were teasing him about it, he said, 'You do a lot of things when you're young and in love,'" she added. "And that's exactly right. We were giddy, and those outfits reflected that."
"I get that it was tacky — but it was also pretty great in its own way, and I'm also happy to see it parodied as a Halloween costume" she concludes.
We couldn't agree more. Tacky or not, it is iconic for good reason and shall remain in the hallowed halls of fashion history forever.