Remember when Jennifer Lopez turned a kitsch tracksuit into the outfit to own in the early 2000s?
You know the one: a hooded velour jacket and pants, with a bedazzled Juicy Couture logo spread across the booty (subtle, we know). Almost overnight, she created a craze — and one of the most ubiquitous looks of the decade.
But the glamazon loved the outfit so much she decided to forgo the real couture her stylists had brought on set.
“It seemed fitting, since the song is called ‘I’m Real’,” she wrote on Instagram. “So I decided to be ME!!”
J.Lo with Ja Rule in the “I’m Real” video. Credit: Jennifer Lopez
They soon became the performer’s uniform of choice. J.Lo wore different iterations of the pants throughout much of the decade, from a peachy number paired with stilettos and newsboy-style cap (remember that?) during a stop at MTV’s “TRL” in New York in 2002, to different hues of the terry cloth ensemble on shopping sprees and grocery runs, including another pink version worn while out with then boyfriend Ben Affleck.
A slew of other celebrities did too: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Jessica Alba, insert-name-of-early-2000s-star. All of them adopted Juicy Couture as their look du jour, made all the more special when sported with Uggs. Britney Spears went as far as giving her bridal party pink Juicy tracksuits reading “Maids” for her wedding to Kevin Federline in 2004. The groomsmen wore white ones labeled “Pimps.”
Remember when Madonna’s cone bra made its debut?
The tracksuit’s wild popularity seems fitting, given the celebrity culture of the time. While J.Lo adopted the velour aesthetic to prove she was just one of us, these were also the years of Hilton’s and Nicole Richie’s reality show “The Simple Life.”
“Keeping up with the Kardashians” (Kim was also big on Juicy Couture) first aired in 2007. The brand came to symbolize cool-girl status, but also an idle luxury lifestyle that felt quintessentially Hollywood. It said, “I can wear loungewear anywhere, because I’m rich.” It’s no surprise that lots of young women wanted to emulate that.
Back to J.Lo, though. We like to think she wore the outfit mostly because it made comfort look “cool” (at the time, anyway). Which leads us to ask: Did she invent athleisure before athleisure was even a trend?
J.Lo sporting a tracksuit in 2019, as she arrvies on the set of “Hustlers.” Credit: Raymond Hall/GC Images/Getty Images
In recent years, Kanye West’s Yeezy, Vetements, Gucci and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White have all churned out pricey velour sweats and tracksuits — further proof that, having once sneered at the look, we’re actually secretly still hooked.