That’s Hot: Hilton and the ’00s fashion landscape

By KYRA LESSER | February 16, 2017


THEMEPLUS/CC-By-SA-2.0 Paris sports her signature pink in the form of a bikini-top-scarf-shirt. Her style has “inspired” many.

Coco Chanel once said, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” Well, guess what? Coco Chanel was a Nazi who never lived to see the words “Von Dutch” sewn onto a baby pink velour mesh trucker hat.

The fashion of the early 2000s was like having a crush on your first cousin: obviously cringe-worthy, with a hint of enigmatic charm.

When attempting to dissect this material movement, it is hard to ignore the impact of one Paris Whitney Hilton. Paris stole the spotlight in the new millennium, ushering in an iconic brand as a socialite, model, sex-tape star and even (bless her heart) singer. But quite possibly the greatest gift Ms. Hilton offered us during this era was her utterly profound sense of style and undying devotion to the color pink.

May 2001: A rocky start for Ms. Hilton, most likely because she was not wearing her signature pink. Appearing at Maxim’s “Hot 100” party in LA, Hilton makes an incredibly ironic choice by opting to wear an all-white outfit, disguising the fact that the only reason she was remotely relevant during this time period was because of her work in her “leaked” sex tape, A Night In Paris.

Let’s work from bottom to top, shall we? Hilton starts her look with sky-high, studded white go-go boots that climb all the way up to her knees. Her dress is a calf length, white fringe number that looks as if Hilton may have been mauled by a bear before her appearance.

To cap off her look, Hilton settles on a crisp, white bucket hat. At night. The sun is not shining. There is literally not an ounce of sunlight at the time of this event.

March 2002: Hilton is in attendance at one of the five birthday parties she threw for herself to celebrate her 21st birthday. Donning a sheer, polka dotted, pink mini dress with matching lingerie underneath, Hilton sticks to her roots by wearing upwards of an estimated $100k worth of jewelry.

What did this jewelry include, you ask? Bejeweled silver hoops in the shape of a heart, a studded cross pendant and finally, cementing her status as a queen, a diamond tiara.

May 2003: Hilton has just wrapped up the first season of her reality show, The Simple Life, with rumored frenemy Nicole Richie. Due to either a publicity stunt or overheating, Ms. Hilton stepped out in a look consisting of a hot pink bikini, camel-colored stiletto sandals, oversized bedazzled sunglasses and a Swarovski bellybutton ring.

But Paris’ best accessory? Her prized chihuahua, Tinkerbell, nestled tightly in her Louis Vuitton tote and probably suffering from some form of doggy Stockholm syndrome.

November 2003: In an almost catastrophic merging of worlds, Hilton does the unthinkable. At a press event for the Gillette Venus Razor x Jeremy Scott collaboration (yes, this actually happened), Paris shocked the world by wearing a combination of peanut butter-and-jelly-sized proportions.

Sporting hot pink, low-rise, terrycloth Juicy Couture sweatpants that just hit the lower half of her spray-tanned and toned stomach, Hilton opted to pair these with a shrunken, gray Von Dutch tee and matching light pink trucker hat. Did you scream? I did too.

MICHAEL CONNORS/PUBLIC DOMAIN Nicole Richie served as the secondary star on Paris Hilton’s show.

February 2004: Keep your composure. It is the Grammys after party. Hilton steps out with her new rumored beau, Nick Carter, who is famous for existing as an obligatory member of the Backstreet Boys and being Aaron’s brother.

For this look, Paris took a cue from hip-hop giant Cam’Ron and went all pink everything, head-to-toe. And not just pink but pink silk. That’s right. Pink silk headband with accompanying pigtails. A pink silk minidress with a ruffled bottom. Even pink silk stilettos that would make any prima ballerina jealous. What was Nick wearing? Who cares; He is irrelevant. 

September 2004: Hilton wears a magenta T-shirt with an artists rendering of HER OWN FACE on it to the Tommy Hilfiger fashion show. Need I say more?

Paris Hilton is not a saint. Paris Hilton is just woman trying to make her mark on the world however she knows how. If you asked any youth on the street today about Paris, they probably wouldn’t know who she is, and that is truly a shame.

Now, I’d like to think I was in no way affected by Paris as I blossomed into the woman I am today, but I can’t help but think that I have. It is impossible for her not to have influenced me, considering her monopoly on the popular culture market of the burgeoning millennium.

Paris didn’t show me how to dress but instead she showed me what not to wear, and isn’t that just as important? The stars are, frankly, fashion-blind.

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