During the early 2000s, even as she helped the Black Eyed Peas become one of the biggest musical acts in the world, Fergie presented as an imperfect popstar. With rippling abs and a swinging ponytail of questionable hair extensions, she lacked the sweetness of Gwen Stefani or the soft punk persona of Avril Lavigne or the diva cred of Mariah Carey. Who even was Stacy Ann Ferguson? A b-girl, or at least a record label executive's idea of one. She'd been tacked onto the all-male hip hop group when its first two albums failed to sell — second choice, after future Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger pulled out over contractual issues.
In an unlikely twist, the singer managed to rise above these manufactured circumstances and establish a unique onstage persona that relied on fashion just as much as music to get its point across. The Black Eyed Peas aesthetic was brash shopping mall futurism, and she was its fedora-wearing ambassador. What do you wear to make bizarre, catchy, post-9/11 party music? As many ugly hats as possible.
Fergie's sartorial peak came in 2005, as Monkey Business was topping charts and she was about to embark on a similarly successful solo stint with The Duchess. She paired hammer pants with tight halter tops, wore booty shorts and knee high socks with her Gazelles, and highlighted her long ponytail of honey-colored hair with uneven chunks of platinum blonde. She pinned door knocker hoops through her ears and rocked off-the-rack bolero suit jackets on red carpets. She featured in Worst Dressed columns, but also inspired millions of 14-year-olds to spend their allowances on cargo pants. That's real influence.
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Both tomboyish and sexy, practical and G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S, Fergie's Black Eyed Peas wardrobe embodied the many strange and unflattering contradictions of new millennium style. Some of her most crucial looks, below.
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