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Low-Rise Jeans Were A Celebrity Style Staple In The Early 2000s

Love ‘em or hate ‘em — they’re back again.

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With 2000s trends such as the Balenciaga City Bag and the itty-bitty mini skirts making their comeback in recent years, it was only a matter of time before low-rise jeans inevitably returned on our radar — and just like before, it has a very divided audience yet again.

Originally dubbed “hip-huggers,” the polarizing trend first rose to popularity during the ‘60s to counteract the hippie aesthetic as seen on musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. By the ‘70s, the super-low bottoms hit the mainstream market and quickly became a staple during the disco era.

Once the ‘90s arrived, fashion grew more conservative but by then, designers were finally co-signing the controversial style. In 1996, Alexander McQueen debuted a new style of pants he called “bumsters,” and as the name entails, it was designed to show off a bit of the bum. Soon after, then-Gucci designer Tom Ford also created trousers low enough to show off thong straps and by the end of the decade, low-rise jeans were everywhere.

The denim style had become widely worn in the early 2000s by celebrities like Paris Hilton, Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, and so many others. Low-rise jeans were typically worn right at the hip, coming in styles like flared, bootcut, and even embroidered. It was also common to style them with a bejeweled belt or even some bedazzled stickers on exposed hips, and no look was complete without a belly piercing on display.

The early-aughts trend sparked controversy back then, as well as today, when it comes to body image. But despite their reputation, low-waisted bottoms are gaining popularity again, with recent sightings on some of the biggest style stars right now, including Kendall Jenner Emily Ratajowski, and sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, who have all worn the throwback style with a slew of belly-revealing tops. Some things never truly change, do they?

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, low-rise denim jeans are already back in full swing, so you might be in search of some fashion inspiration. Take a walk down nostalgia lane and see how our favorite celebrities wore the Y2K silhouette, ahead.

Mariah Carey, 2000

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It wouldn’t be a low-rise roundup without Mariah Carey. The Rainbow singer, wearing a silver tank with distressed jeans, kicked off the millennium with a denim look that shook the fashion DIY space. If you didn’t cut off the waistband of your jeans back then, did you truly live through the early 2000s?

Jessica Simpson, 2000

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The low-rise takeover also graced the likes of 2000s pop star Jessica Simpson. At a fan meeting in New York City, she wore dark denim flares with a cropped white tank, platform heels, and a light pink belt at the (low) waist.

Ananda Lewis, 2000

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MTV VJ Ananda Lewis attended the Charlie’s Angels premiere in New York City, rocking a cut-off, low-rise pair with slits at the calf, along with a crop tee and a fur jacket. As expected from the early 2000s, she also wore gradient sunglasses with a large tote bag and gray boots.

Paris Hilton, 2000

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The midriff-baring bottoms have never looked so hot before it was seen on Paris Hilton. While attending the premiere of Animal Factory in L.A., the then-19-year-old wore her low-rise jeans with a sparkly chain belt, as well as a gold tank, platform black sandals, and a black scarf. Look even closer and you’ll notice her bedazzled body stickers — a major Y2K beauty trend.

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Months later, Hilton arrived at Motorola’s party in L.A. wearing the coveted bottoms with a sparkly belt yet again, dressed up with a draped tank top and black sandals.

Kiely Williams of 3LW, 2001

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Years before she made her first Cheetah Girls appearance, 3LW’s Kiely Williams was seen backstage of MTV’s TRL in 2001 wearing a decorated pair of low-rise jeans with a white cropped top, showing off her trendy belly ring. She completed her outfit with a red bandana and black sneakers.

Willa Ford, 2001

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In 2001, “I Wanna Be Bad” singer Willa Ford spent the day with Juicy Couture at the legendary Chateau Marmont wearing flared low-rise jeans with a red graphic muscle tank and black platform shoes.

Carmen Electra, 2001

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Carmen Electra had her low-rise moment, too. In 2001, she attended the premiere of The Others wearing a pair of her belly-reveling jeans with a pink one-shoulder top, platform heels, and tinted shades.

Gwen Stefani, 2001

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Gwen Stefani attended the 2001 Teen Choice Awards wearing her custom low-rise bottoms with a red bikini top paired with a cropped yellow cardigan and yellow platforms.

Tara Reid, 2001

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American Pie star Tara Reid had her own pair of the low-rise jeans back in 2001. She arrived at a Burberry party in Beverly Hills with a see-through mesh top that showed off her bralette, along with Burberry heels and a matching handbag.

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Weeks later, Reid also wore the polarizing silhouette to the launch party of Shakira’s album Laundry Service in New York City. She styled it with a fitted Chrome Hearts sweatshirt, black boots, and a mini bag.

Britney Spears, 2001

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While on set for MTV’s TRL in 2001, Britney Spears was photographed in a pair of the on-trend jeans. She also had on a bubblegum pink top with a cropped jacket, and brown shoes.

Michelle Branch, 2001

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“Everywhere” singer-songwriter Michelle Branch sported a distressed version of low-waist jeans at KIIS’ 2001 Jingle Ball Concert in Los Angeles, paired with a striped tank top and pink Converse sneakers.

Christina Aguilera, 2001

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From mini skirts to low-rise jeans, Christina Aguilera is one of the biggest trend enthusiasts of the early 2000s. The pop star was seen at the 2001 MTV VMAs wearing patchwork denim jeans with a lace-up crop top, a denim hat, and red sandals.


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A year later, Aguilera wore a flared version of low-rise jeans at the premiere of 8 Mile. She styled the pair with a white baby tee, black sandals, studded gloves, a leather clutch, and a striped hat.

Paris Hilton, 2002

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The lace-up low rise was another popular rendition of the controversial style. See Hilton, for example, who wore the jeans to Craig David’s North American Tour celebration in New York City. She paired her hip-huggers with a red long-sleeve top, a matching colored hat, and chunky shoes.

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During New York Fashion Week in 2002, the reality star-turned-pop culture icon wore the low-rise trend once again. This time, with a pink cross-cutout top under her denim jacket.

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Hilton was definitely an avid wearer of the throwback style. At a nightclub opening in Hollywood, she wore low-rise jeans with a pink velour jacket and a scarf tied at the waist, along with black heels and a mini bag.

Melissa Joan Hart, 2002

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Sabrina, The Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart wore the revealing trend on the red carpet at the Crossroads premiere, along with a sheer blouse, platform shoes, and a mini bag in hand.

Eve, 2002

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Rapper Eve attended Essence’s 2002 V-Day Benefit Show in New York City wearing low-rise bottoms with a red-and-black lace bustier top and matching shoes.

Alicia Keys, 2002

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Singer Alicia Keys attended LIFEBeat’s Urban AID 2 Benefit Concert in New York City wearing a pair of dark wash low-rise jeans with a turquoise blouse, a tan suede jacket, and brown boots.

Mila Kunis, 2002

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While attending the 2002 MTV Icon Honors Aerosmith celebration, then-19-year-old actress Mila Kunis arrived on the red carpet in embroidered low-rise jeans and a brown belt at the waist, styled with a baby pink tee and black shoes.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, 2002

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Noughties actress Jennifer Love Hewitt wore her pair of cut-off low-rise jeans with a flared white jacket and tan-colored boots, finished with a beaded belt loosely wrapped around her waist.

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She was also seen at the 2002 Teen Choice Awards wearing the trendy style with a flowy printed blouse and white sandals.

Jessica Alba, 2002

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Jessica Alba was seen at the 2002 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards rocking her low-rise jeans with a white vest paired with a jacket on top and platform wedges.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, 2002

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The low-rise trend certainly took over the red carpet in 2002. Take Sarah Michelle Gellar, for instance, who also wore her trusty pair of jeans at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards with a black one-shoulder top, black strappy sandals, and a mini bag.

Taryn Manning, 2002

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In 2002, actress Taryn Manning attended Maxim’s Hot 100 Party in Hollywood wearing baggy, flared low-rise jeans with a cropped lace camisole, a sporty coat, and a black trucker hat.

Tyra Banks, 2002

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The low-waisted jeans looked especially good on supermodel Tyra Banks. She wore her bootcut denim pants with a graphic tee and red sneakers, accessorized with a bandana, large gold hoops, and sunglasses.

Christina Ricci, 2002

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Christina Ricci attended the 2002 Cannes Film Festival wearing a pair of light-washed low-rise jeans with a frilly black cardigan and tan boots.

Michelle Trachtenberg, 2002

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The then-17-year-old actress Michelle Trachtenberg arrived at the premiere of Austin Powers In Goldmember wearing her low-rise jeans with a periwinkle-colored top, white sandals, and a pink color block handbag.

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She also wore the trendy silhouette to the 2002 Teen Choice Awards, opting to style it with a suede belt, a fringe top, and metallic heels.

Carmen Electra, 2002

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Carmen Electra was once again seen in low-risers at the 2002 Teen Choice Awards. She wore them with a pink peasant top, wedged sandals, and a striped bucket tote.

Christina Milian, 2002

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Christina Milian was also a fan of the polarizing trend back in 2002, showing off her belly ring with a striped polo top and black boots.


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Milian attended the 2003 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards wearing her low-rise jeans with a pink top tied at the front, styled with pink heels and a crystal chain belt at the hip.

Kelly Rowland, 2002

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Kelly Rowland celebrated her debut solo album Simply Deep rocking a pair of distressed low-rise jeans styled with a matching denim jacket and a beige crop top.


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A year later, Rowland attended Teen People’s “25 Hottest Stars Under 25” event in Hollywood wearing low-rise cargo jeans with a baby graphic tee, black sandals, and a handbag.

Paris Hilton, 2002

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Paris Hilton was spotted once again in 2002 wearing a pair of lace-up low risers with an off-the-shoulder peasant top, metallic sandals, and a brown shoulder bag.


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Then in 2003, Hilton was also seen rocking the low-rise style, this time wearing it with a navy tank top, camo-printed jacket, and platform heels.

Ashlee Simpson, 2003

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Ashlee Simpson wore her baggy low-rise denim bottoms at the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, along with a printed green tank and pointed heels.

Vanessa Carlton, 2003

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While attending New York Fashion Week in 2004, singer Vanessa Carlton was seen backstage wearing some super low-rise jeans with a white baby tee, fitted blazer, and red heels.

Ashanti, 2003

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“Rain On Me” singer Ashanti attended New York Fashion Week that year too, opting for an asymmetrical black cropped top, straight-leg low-rise jeans, and black sandals.

Christina Milian, 2004

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Milian went for a sporty night-out look in her low-rise jeans paired with a baseball jersey crop top, a bejeweled belt, and metallic boots to the AOL Music Summer Concert Series in New York City.

Lindsay Lohan, 2004

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It comes as no surprise that Lindsay Lohan, who was perhaps the biggest actress at the time, also happened to be a fan of the hip-hugging bottoms. In 2004, she wore the popular trend at A Teen People event in New York, pairing the style with a black cropped top and a matching jacket, along with pointed boots and a leather handbag.

Tyra Banks, 2004

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Back in 2004, Tyra Banks was spotted wearing a pair of form-fitting, low-rise jeans in Hollywood, which she styled with a slouchy white top, pointed boots, and a fringe handbag.

Rihanna, 2005

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Before she became known as the mother of belly-revealing pregnancy fashion, Rihanna was just getting her start as both a singer and style icon during the early 2000s. She wore her loose-fitted low-rise jeans back in 2005, styled with a purple butterfly halter top and chunky high-top sneakers.

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The then-17-year-old singer was also seen wearing the trendy style that same year. She wore the jeans low enough to show off her underwear’s waistband and opted for a multicolored halter top and high-top sneakers.

See how celebrities wore the micro-mini skirt in the early 2000s.

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