Images via Getty. Logo by Bobby Finger.

Today we remember the legacy and impact of Glitter, the legendary Mariah Carey film, originally released in September 2001 and the subject of both unfair derision and cult glorification for a decade and a half since.

Styles from the year 2001 are popping up in fashion collections and on certain cool youth, if only because the culture cycle is inextricable from the thrift-store-donation cycle, and finally rich people are parting ways with their low-low-low-rise jeans.

It can all feel very too soon, particularly among those of us who still remember that era very well and are just not all that ready to go back to dressing like a roller-rink pirate, no matter how deeply we felt it back then. And yet in 2001, Mariah Carey was one of the most down-to-earth and classic of the pop stars in that era, with surprisingly casual and unfussy looks we could get down with in (almost) any year. Here are a few of the ensembles she wore during that time.

Early in the Glitter promotion cycle, Carey took a trip to London to publicize the film and album. Each look was a little piece of the film, from her double-glitter pum pum shorts to that excellent nameplate belt buckle beneath a bandana-print bandeau bralette. Bootleg jeans are rolling up on the assembly line of nostalgia more quickly than I’d hoped, but at least when they do the Lambs can crib some style notes from Mimi in a bold double-denim statement suit. And in case you’ve forgotten, the mid-’70s were an inspiration for that era, too, so Carey’s “Delicious” tank and feathered waves fit right in.


Glitter was released on September 11, 2001, and so at later stops in her promo tour Mariah wore her patriotism on her chest, as so many Americans did—thankfully she avoided the These Colors Don’t Run threatening double entendre that festooned so many t-shirts and went straight for shimmering Swarovski (glitter all the way). These other two looks could be straight from today, a Glitter tank and denim mini with a baby pink boombox blasting her album, obviously; and, at a thing that actually happened entitled the VH1 and Vogue Fashion Awards, a smart blazer-as-dress that I would wear right now. (If you know where I can get a double-breasted one, holler.)


At the “United We Stand Benefit Concert” in DC, she went elegant but revealing in a frock that would be on the carpet right this second were it not for—is that a chocolate brown? Hmm.

For the holiday season—Mariah’s favorite, if you didn’t know, and if you didn’t how can you call yourself a Lamb—she went extra festive! and broke out the eleganza. At 98.7 KISS R&B Jam, her leather tube sheath is complimented by matching knee boots and an American flag-reminiscent Isaac Hayes in full satin. (What did they TALK about!) For Top of the Pops, she kept her slip dress sequined and subdued, while the Z100 Jingle Ball called for her best Christmastime spirit, a satiny mini with matching strappy pumps. She looked fantastic all the way.