The 22 Best VMA Outfits in the Awards Show's History

·6 min read

Can you believe it’s VMA season again? Last year, we did a roundup of what we considered to be the best VMA performances of all-time, and now we’re going to do a blast from the show's past and revisit some of the most iconic VMA outfits of all time. Before we get into that, however, let’s first give you all the details of what we know so far for this year’s edition.

The 2022 VMAs

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The 2022 VMAs will take place  on Sunday, August 28 at 8:00pm EST at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center. Scheduled performers include: Lizzo, Jack Harlow, and BLACKPINK amongst others, and you’d have to imagine that Nicki Minaj has got something planned as she’s receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award this year.

You may have heard that Beyoncé has a new album out right now. It’s called Renaissance and it’s doing extremely well on the charts. Perhaps she shows up? You never know with Queen Bey. She might surprise us!

Anyway, back to the style element of this article. We’re looking back at some of the most memorable VMA outfits and fashion moments from its inception, all the way to now. To keep in line with the throwback theme, we’ll be mostly doing looks from the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s, and since we’re in 2022, there’s going to be 22 of them. Enjoy!

22. Jennifer Lopez 2000 VMAs

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Jenny from the block showed up to the first VMAs of the new millennium rocking a gold sequined halter, and a black top. So early 2000s New York!

21. Prince 1991 VMAs

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The assless chaps. Who could ever forget the assless chaps. One thing about Prince, he was always going to make a statement.

20. Madonna 1984 VMAs

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1984 was the very first year of the VMAs, and Madonna got the controversy going for the very first time performing her hit single “Like A Virgin” in a wedding dress. This performance certainly got the people going because that’s what Madonna does. She gets the people going.

19. Rick James 1985 VMAs

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It’s Rick James beeyatch! Generation Z is getting their introduction to Rick James courtesy of Nicki Minaj, but us old-timers know that Rick James was both a music and fashion pioneer from the minute he hit the scene.

18. Tina Turner 1985 VMAs

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Has anyone else been replaying “Private Dancer” over and over again? We can’t be the only ones. Tina Turner wasn’t playing any games whatsoever with the cropped leather jacket and red pants.

17. Whitney Houston 1986 VMAS

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Whitney Houston dazzled as usual in this stunning white dress. Houston also took to the stage that night to perform her classic “How Will I Know.”

16. Tupac and Snoop Dogg 1996 VMAs

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Representing the West Coast, Tupac and Snoop Dogg pulled up in their fitted suits for the 1996 VMAS. Snoop gets extra points for rocking the fedora.

15. Destiny’s Child 2000 VMAs

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Destiny’s Child attended their first VMAs in the year 2000, and wore matching all-black rhinestone encrusted outfits for the occasion.

14. Aaliyah 2000 VMAs

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This dress remains a legendary part of VMA culture. So legendary that it has actually been recreated and referenced through the years.

13. Christina Aguilera 2002 VMAs

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Ahh. The Stripped era of X-tina. Her fashion during this time was off the chain, and once again has been referenced since.

12. Nirvana 1992 VMAs

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You couldn’t tell whether Nirvana was attending the VMAs, or going to a bar to watch the event. And that’s what we loved and still love about them.

11. Janet Jackson 2000 VMAs

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Janet Jackson “Enters The Matrix.” This fit was absolutely sick.

10. Destiny’s Child 2005 VMAs

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Destiny’s Child attended their final VMAs as a trio just days before giving their final performance as a group. While they didn’t perform at the event, they were given their flowers for being one of the greatest girls of all-time. Their outfits were glamorous as well.

9. Rihanna 2007 VMAs

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2007 was the year of reinvention for Rihanna as she debuted a new bob haircut to go along with her revamped edgy style. RiRi was pretty in pink at the 2007 event.

8. TLC 1995 VMAs

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Not only did TLC crush their performance that evening, but they also crushed the red carpet with their taupe crop tops and signature baggy pants.

7. Britney Spears 2001 VMAs

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If you want to take your outfit to the next level, add a snake. An Albino Burmese Python to be exact.

6. Lil Kim 1999 VMAs

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One word here. Iconic. We had never seen anything like this purple jumpsuit before, and we haven’t seen it since (anything else would be just flat out copying). Lil Kim stole the show at the 99 awards.

5. TLC 1999 VMAs

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Speaking of the 1999 VMAs, TLC showed up wearing a black glittery version of the outfits they wore in the “No Scrubs” video.

4. Avril Lavigne 2002 VMAs

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Pairing a tank top with a suit-tie and cargo was a genius level fashion decision that only somebody like an Avril Lavigne could pull off.

3. Mariah Carey 1997 VMAs

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Sickening. Just sickening. This might be one Mariah Carey’s all-timers out here when it comes to her best red carpet looks.

2. Spice Girls 1997 VMAS

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So tell me what you want what you really really want. The Spice Girls were punk, flirty, and posh at the 1997 edition of the VMAs.

1. Michael Jackson 1995 VMAs

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You have to keep it relatively simple when you are about to open the show and hand deliver the single best performance in VMA history.

Sidenote: That is the shiniest sleekest leather we’ve ever seen.

Who will be the best dressed this year? Well, we’ll have to wait and see. Be sure to tune into the VMAs this Sunday on MTV at 8:00pm EST.