So Nostalgic

22 Years Ago, Britney Spears Rocked A Whale Tail At An *NSYNC Party

Fashion history in the making, TBH.

Britney Spears wears a corset, low-rise pants, a whale tail, and a belly button ring.
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

With Julia Fox, Kim Kardashian, and Dua Lipa as ambassadors, the whale tail’s controversial comeback is showing no signs of slowing down. And there’s one person to thank for catapulting the trend into existence in the first place: Britney Spears.

Back in the early aughts, few stars were bold enough to rock the whale tail; even fewer dared to wear it repeatedly. The “Toxic” singer, however, was a trailblazer who donned the look several times. (Oops!...She did it again.)

Spears made the risqué, undies-flaunting style her signature look in the 2000s, sporting it on stage, at events, and at one of her then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake’s parties.

Britney’s Glam/Grunge Look

In 2001, when Spears and the former boy band member were still a couple, she attended the launch party of Celebrity, *NSYNC’s fourth studio album. At the West Hollywood event, Spears outfitted herself in her signature saucy outfit combo: a tiny top and dangerously low jeans.

On top, the pop princess wore a deconstructed corset crafted from bits of silver and gray fabric. The front featured exaggerated criss-crotch stitching that added to the intentionally haphazard effect.

Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Spears donned purplish-gray leggings that hung extremely low on her hips. Like silhouettes of yore, the fitted low-risers flared out at the bottom. On brand with the undone look, her pants were equipped with ruffles and exposed seams.

A Red Carpet Whale Tail

It wasn’t until the Crossroads actress turned around that the star of her ensemble was revealed: her champagne-colored thong. The slinky undies peered out of her pants in infamous Y2K whale tail fashion.

Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Britney’s Bedazzled Belly Button Ring

Spears’ crop-top-and-low-rise combo left her waist utterly bare. The “Toxic” singer utilized the real estate by accessorizing spicily, as she is wont to do.

She wore a bedazzled belly button ring with a diamond-encrusted star that dangled past her navel. The nostalgic piercing was another detail that captured the essence of the ’00s. (And much like the whale tail, it’s also making a comeback.)

Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Elsewhere, she accessorized with equally glitzy pieces, including a pair of skinny earrings, a crystal-encrusted choker, and a bracelet-slash-ring combo.