Britney Spears: Portrait of a Young Pop Star on the Verge of Success, 1999 Ph. David LaChapelle
Britney photographed by Kate Turning for the ‘Circus’ Album, 2008
Britney in Munich Germany, February, 1999, Photographed by Fryderyk Gabowicz
First time Britney was seen smoking (April 19, 2002)
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline’s first public date, April 23, 2004
If you want to see a visual that represents the early-to-mid 2000s, please look no further than Britney’s iconic outfit in these photos from 2004.
Trucker hat, check. Feather earrings (we all had them, why???), check. The jam band fan hippie choker, check. Bellybutton piercing, check. Jean short-shorts with the pockets hanging out, check. Last night’s smudged eyeliner, check.
I know perfectly drawn winged eyeliner is the rage with teens now but man, in the 2000s the gold standard of eyeliner was the smudged perfection of whatever you had on when you were partying the night before. It was a simpler time for sure.
Don’t get me wrong, I love when Ms. Spears aka Godney (aMEN) could clean up nicely in the early 2000s (although it being the early 2000s, there were a lot of style disasters, like her ionic #jeandress) but I absolutely love the era when Britney stopped giving a fuck and just did HER. It was a a delightful hodgepodge of country bumpkin rolling around on the floor of a pile of accessories at Wet Seal while hungover from too many tequila shots at the Cadillac Ranch.
Britney’s ability to not give a fuck was not calculated, not like the planned “not give a fuck” aesthetic adopted by so many of today’s pop girls (Miley Cyrus is a good example of this). By that point in her career, Britney truly did not care what people thought about her and just wanted to live her life and make the type of music she wanted. Neither of these things ended up happening for her, unfortunately.
We didn’t know it at the time, but this day lives in infamy as a true turning point in her life. The top shot of the paparazzi filming their every move is very unnerving, and obviously would only intensify the next few years of her life as her dream marriage to Kevin ended in a publicly traumatizing way. And we wonder why she had a breakdown?
It’s so interesting in today’s Instagrammed world with perfect filters and perfect angles and planned outfits and events (ie: the aesthetic of the Kardashians where the lens into their lives is always flawless and to be envied) to see something like this contrasted, this type of aesthetic of just doing you, un-showered and eating Cheetos just like the everyone else.