In 2016, Jennifer Lopez is a judge on the last season of American Idol as well as a cast member in a new NBC show, Shades Of Blue. But if you're anything like me, you've likely been a fan since Jennifer Lopez's 2000s outfits hit your radar, and really haven't stopped following that aesthetic ever since.
Like many 20somethings, I first fell for J.Lo when she was a fly girl on In Living Color, and I still can't watch Selena to this day without bawling. Her career has had so much longevity that if she wasn't making movies, she was making music or acting on TV in some capacity. Personally, I have relied on her to be a fashion inspiration for the majority of my life.
Through all of her public break-ups, my J.Lo love never wavered, mostly because her style was most important to me. I didn't really care who was on her arm as long as she was bearing her belly, wearing a cool hat, or stomping around in fierce boots. Yep, I am there for J.Lo.
For 15 years, I've gotten my inspo from Lopez's best looks, and especially those from the earlier 2000s. I begged my mom for several of these outfits as a teenager, and I wish I still had all of them in my closet now.
1. That Iconic Versace Dress
Who could ever forget when Jennifer Lopez wore this Versace dress to the 2000 Grammys? I was obsessed with the pattern and the plunging neckline. Even though I was still in middle school, I saw my entrance into high school and homecoming dances as my personal red carpet. This dress was top of my inspo list. Unsurprisingly, my mom put the veto on that real quick.
2. Rhinestone Bandanas
I am particularly fond of the Jennifer Lopez-Puff Daddy partnership because it brought us looks like this one from the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. And before the VH1 show Rock Of Love really killed bandanas for me forever, I definitely asked my mom for a Bedazzler in the early '00s to make rhinestone-encrusted one just like J.Lo's.
3. Floppy Hats
My older sister was also super inspired by J.Lo, and I remember sneaking into her room to borrow her black floppy hat in 2001 just to complete my J.Lo look. Fifteen years later, I finally have one of my own.
4. Light Lens Shades
J.Lo was the first person I ever saw make light lens shades look super chic. I remember having a pair of light blue Aviator glasses with rhinestones around the top of the lenses. But my sister definitely had an oversized yellowish tan pair just like one Lopez sports in the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" 2001 music video.
5. Camel Colored Coat
In 2001, Jennifer Lopez taught me to fear walking on city streets while wearing a pair of heels thanks to The Wedding Planner. The movie was one of the only 2000s Lopez flicks I really remember watching and her style was more classic than what I had come to expect from the actor. Nonetheless, I longed for a camel-colored trench with a tie waist.
6. A Velour Tracksuit
I distinctly remember unwrapping a mint green velour tracksuit for Christmas in 2002. Mine wasn't Juicy Couture, but I didn't really care because it still made me feel as cool as J.Lo. I have no doubt that J.Lo's "I'm Real" look is to thank. Now, I just want to know where I can get one in 2016 in size fat.
7. Basically Everything From The "All I Have" Video
First of all, these boots are currently sitting in my closet. I wanted them badly in the '00s, but my mom wasn't having it. What I really wanted was this baby pink coat with fur collar and sleeves from the "All I Have" video, but I never quite found anything like it. The fuzzy hat she wears was on the list too, obviously. I remember settling for a brown and crown-striped version because it was all I could find. And don't get me started on how perfect her nude lip gloss is.
8. Oversized Cargo Pants
One of my clearest middle school bullying memories is when I was wearing military green cargo pants and a sleeveless sweater in the sixth grade. I learned that a friend of mine had fat shamed me for wearing the pants. I am sure that J.Lo's "Jenny From The Block" video was of some influence to my look. And ultimately, I was super proud of that outfit and remember vowing from then on to dress for me no matter what anyone else had to say.
9. One-Shoulder Gowns
By 2003, I was finally in high school and I definitely picked out a one-shoulder dress á la J.Lo's Grecian gown from the 2003 Oscars to wear to homecoming. Now, mine definitely wasn't Valentino, but it made me feel super confident — something I didn't feel too often at the time.
10. Crochet Hat
This is probably the one look from the '00s that I am happy to leave behind. But at the time, I really did love sporting a side ponytail with a slouchy crochet hat, just like J.Lo circa the 2004 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Thanks to my mom, I had the perfect solution on days when I didn't feel like doing my hair.
11. Knee-High Boots With Jeans
Lopez was a TRL staple in the '00s and I could always count on her appearances for some sartorial inspiration. She's one of the first folks I remember always wearing knee-high boots tucked into jeans. And though I don't wear jeans anymore, I definitely tried to copy this look in the '00s.
12. Belly Shirts
My mom bought me my first belly shirt in 2003. I had just lost a bunch of weight and fit in straight size clothing for the first time in years. I remember wearing my off-the-shoulder peasant style belly shirt only around the house and very sheepishly. How things have changed since then! I would happily sport this white J.Lo turtleneck crop top now in all of my plus size glory.
13. Hoop Earrings
If there's one thing I could almost always count on J.Lo for, it was a pretty rocking pair of hoop earrings. And while my hoops have grown bigger and bigger over the years, I know I got my first simple pair of gold ones back in the '00s thanks to her.
I associate J.Lo's '00s outfits with my own fashion journey. I tried new trends and stood up to bullies that said I couldn't. And in a way, I have Lopez to thank for the unapologetic fat fashion dresser I am today.
Images: JenniferLopez/VEVO; Columbia Pictures (1)