Britney Spears popularized the revealing thong trend 22 years ago

Everyone in the fashion industry has been spotted wearing versions of the visible thong trend in recent months, including but not limited to Bella Hadid , Alex Demi , Dua Lipa , Hailey ·Bieber and Julia Fox. The list goes on. Even recent red carpets (like the Oscars) have seen a lot of peek-a-boo underwear.

G-strings may be trendy these days, but edgy looks in lingerie are nothing new. Returning to the mainstream thanks to the Y2K revival, the thong trend's popularity (and notoriety) can be traced back to its early days - specifically the legendary Britney Spears, who was one of the many people who popularized the look.

True fans know exactly which pop culture moment I'm talking about (and may even know the choreography by heart). If not, let me tell you: the sweaty body gyrations, the rhythmic heavy breathing, and the lyrics "get it get it, get it get it (oh)". Yes, I said "I am a slave 4 U".

In the music video released in 2001, Spears wore what may be her most iconic ensemble of all time. She donned a strappy, bright pink bralette top with a matching single bell sleeve (also in hot red) that moved when she did—a cinematic delight.

In other words, the real scene-stealing point in the video is the misplaced items on her lower body. In a move that will go down in fashion history, Spears wore extremely low-rise metallic turquoise leather pants, which she paired with a contrasting pink thong. Lace. Comes with silver hardware.

Screenshot from YouTube/BritneySpearsVEVO

Spears first achieved mainstream success in 1999 with "Baby One Time," in which she wore pigtails and a schoolgirl uniform. But I'm a Slave 4 U is a far cry from her "good girl" persona, marking a spicy new era for the pop princess—one that continues to shape pop culture to this day.

A year after the video was released, her contemporary Christina Aguilera followed the trend of revealing thongs in her "Dirrty" music video. But instead of wearing a thong over her pants, she wore leather pants to put her underwear on full display.

Screenshot from YouTube/BritneySpearsVEVO

Decades later, Hollywood A-listers such as Jennifer Lopez and Florence Pugh have co-branded the look. While there have been few re-creations of Spears' thong-with-pants look so far, the trend of revealing thongs is now ubiquitous. Statement thongs are especially popular on red carpets, where a go-to move is to highlight contrasting undergarments under a sheer dress or skirt. Meanwhile, casual suits feature hidden thongs worn with low-rise pants or bottoms with built-in thongs.

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TL;DR: Spears’ cultural impact is truly unparalleled.