The Grammys take place on Monday, Feb. 15, which gives us just enough time to reflect on the past and to judge former Grammy performers (and their outfits) adequately.
Kidding! Nobody here (and especially not us) can imagine the pressure of wearing The Ultimate Piece during a live performance in front of millions. But we can still take a stroll down memory lane to remember everything from Shania Twain’s "risqué" late-nineties vibes, to the fact that Prince has never looked bad. (Ever.)
Here are 10 looks you can't forget because we won't let you.
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1. Shania Twain, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" (1999)
We don't reflect enough on Shania Twain, and that's a crime against us all. Enter 1999, and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman": a song that celebrates femininity (in a very limited sense of the word), and Shania’s complete recreation of the music video—live. (Minus the suits in the beginning of said video, but time was of the essence, people.) And isn't that all we want to see? A performer giving us what we already know we'll like? Sometimes. In this case, yes. Especially because she was wearing a choker you could probably pick up at ASOS or Topshop now.
2. Britney Spears, "From the Bottom of my Broken Heart." "Baby One More Time" (2000)
It begins with Britney Spears dressed as a fairy godmother. It ends as a futuristic performance of "Baby One More Time" with Britney in an embellished one-piece, a turtleneck pant suit and cut-outs down the side. Frankly, it's a testament to the essence that is Ms. Spears: a maverick and a maven, and a woman who can dance better than all of us. Also, as one of the only people on this planet who can carry off any of the above pieces we just mentioned.
3. Pink, Mya, 'Lil Kim, Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott and Patti Labelle, "Lady Marmalade" (2002)
What happens when you combine a cover of Patti Labelle’s "Lady Marmalade," dress the cover artists like "Moulin Rouge" cast members, then bring Patti Labelle out to sing it too? Costume-wise, everything. Everything happens. Fringe, lace, corsets, the colour pink, fishnets—they all happen. (It's the opposite of the word, "fetch.") And unless you raid Baz Luhrmann's costume vault, you'll never see it happen again.
4. Prince (and Beyonce), [Medley] (2004)
The only entity that can upstage a Prince and Beyonce performance is Prince's purple suit. Especially since, in 2004, Beyonce hadn't reached peak Bey and had opted for a Vegas-style showgirl costume. (Which isn't a bad thing unless you juxtapose her "then" style with her "now" style, which is easily on Prince’s level.)
5. Kanye West, "Jesus Walks" (2005)
In 2005, Kanye West wore a white suit, angel wings, and sang "Jesus Walks," which cemented him as our (or at least "a") lord and saviour. We pray every day he still owns them, and he probably does.
6. Rihanna, "Umbrella"/"Don’t Stop the Music" (2008)
There are no words for sifting through years of Grammy performance pictures and experiencing the early-to-mid 2000s fashion we all want to forget. But there is a word for who redeems it: Rihanna. Specifically, Rihanna’s feather and leather dress she wore during her "Umbrella" and "Don't Stop the Music" mashup in 2008. Would she trump that look now? Absolutely. But lest we forget that even seven years ago, she was taking the risks we desperately needed to see.
7. Beyonce and Tina Turner, "Proud Mary" (2008)
The only thing better than one legend onstage is two legends onstage—especially since both (Beyonce and Tina Turner) performed the iconic "Proud Mary" in a silver mini-dress (Bey) and capri pants (Ms. Turner). Also, this was an excuse for us to say, "Remember when Tina Turner and Beyonce performed together?" because we always should. (And we always will.)
8. Lady Gaga, "Born This Way" (2011)
It wouldn't be a costume list without paying homage to Lady Gaga, godmother of costumes (at least from 2009 onward). And while her green, sparkly one-piece looked sharp back in 2010, it was her emergence from an egg (with hat in hand) to perform "Born This Way" in 2011 that brought Grammy performance costumes to new levels. Mainly because, as mentioned, she emerged from an actual egg.
9. Beyonce, "Drunk In Love" (2014)
This performance is 100% why we've been removed from several buildings for trying to make a onesie happen. Or more specifically, why we still believe onesies can happen; why some of us will try wearing our hair wet every so often, and why we choose to forget half of Jay Z's verse because it's just not worthy.
10. Taylor Swift, "All Too Well" (2014)
T-Swift is a woman living a costumed life. Unfortunately, we won't be able to see it this weekend (she won’t be performing at the Grammys), but we can tip our hats to her refined look last year that accompanied a heart-wrenching performance of The Jake Gyllenhaal Song. (Seriously.) This was Taylor Swift: Fancy Serious Lady. The hardest costume to wear of all.