In a summer that kicked off with the resurgence of the exposed thong, is it really a surprise that the middle of the season has brought the revival of another infamous trend from the early aughts? Seventeen years after Christina Aguilera took over the news cycle by turning up to the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards in a so-called “scandalous” infinity scarf-turned-top, the likes of Bella Hadid have casually started copying the scarves-as-shirts style, apparently without so much as a second thought.
In the case of the actress who heralded the style’s return, perhaps that’s because she wasn’t even born when Aguilera took the VMAs by storm. Midway through July, Rowan Blanchard, who’s 17, Instagrammed a photo of herself handkerchief-shaped swath of cheetah-print fabric, complete with a matching choker and pumps. Her post barely caused a stir, and its caption was equally casual: “Going to dinner :).” (One commenter’s reply, “With who, Tarzan??,” has racked up nearly 500 likes.)
It was only a matter of time before Bella Hadid followed suit. After all, the 22-year-old model was one of the key catalysts of the revival of the exposed thong. Whereas Hadid’s opted for the handkerchief style in the past, this time, she opted for a somewhat demure interpretation of the look, keeping it low-key by pairing a scarf tied around both her neck and her waist with a pair of of high-waisted pants.
Then, perhaps realizing that someone had to step up to the job, the German blogger Caroline Daur took it upon herself to go full Xtina. On Monday, she kicked off the week by sharing a photo of herself wearing a scarf tied around her neck—the better to showcase her abs—with her two million followers on Instagram Stories.
Daur and the rest may have discovered the look just in time for summer, but Suki Waterhouse also deserves some credit for being ahead of the game. All the way back in April, the 27-year-old model and actress posted a photo of herself wearing a red bandana as a top, in a gallery with a video of Eliza Dushku wearing the same look while riding a mechanical bull in the 2002 film The New Guy.
Though as with practically every other trend in recent memory, Rihanna, of course, was the first to bring about the style’s recent revival—and to remain unparalleled in her interpretation of the look, which, in this case, meant forming a makeshift bandeau. She did so all the way back in 2015—and yet, still no one has been bold enough to copy her approach.