The first time we met Avril Lavigne, she was 17 years old and encouraging us to go crash the mall in the music video for her debut single “Complicated”. The soon-to-be pop-punk legend and her band also stole from mall cops, dressed up in stupid clothes and took mini SUVs for a joyride. The year was 2002 and Avril, her emo accessories and radical attitude were about to kick down the patriarchal walls of the music industry. Here are some of the best outfits she did it in.
Making her debut at the MTV VMAs, 2002
This look is classic Avril. Just two months after releasing her debut album Let Go in June 2002 — one of the greatest albums of all time — she rocked up to New York’s Radio City Music Hall in something not dissimilar to what she wore in the video for “Complicated”: a loosened tie over a white tank top. Here, she pairs the combo with low-slung camo trousers, skate shoes and arms stacked with studded bracelets, layered up with sweatbands and those plastic, um, “shag bands” that were allegedly banned from a school in Florida for their inappropriate sexual connotations. Feeling extra patriotic, or perhaps for luck, Avril pinned a Canadian flag to her tie for the MTV award ceremony, at which she was nominated for Best New Artist in a Video — beating Ashanti and John Mayer.
Performing at the Jingle Ball, 2002
Each December, LA’s KIIS FM hosts a festive concert boasting a line-up of the year’s hottest acts. In 2002, that list included Avril Lavigne, Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake. Imagine! Deciding that one of her usual graphic tees wouldn’t cut it for this event, Avril instead wore an asymmetric black Dickies crop top with a pair of black trousers held up by a thick, white leather belt covered in red stars. Aside from the skull and crossbones chain necklace, the belt buckle is the real highlight of the outfit: a square bearing the inscription “CAUTION: BIOHAZARD”. The edgiest accessory at the Christmas party.
Making a statement at the Grammy Awards, 2003
Nominated for several Grammys (Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I'm With You", Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Losing Grip"), and performing her hit single “Sk8er Boi”; all eyes at Madison Square Garden were on 19-year-old Avril. Naturally, she wanted to use the opportunity to make some kind of statement. Arriving with her bandmates in formal attire, Avril later opened the jacket to photographers, revealing the words “ROCK ON” in duct tape. Punctuated with a skull and crossbones belt and topped off with understated black Converse and rainbow nail polish, Avril took a dress code and made it very much her own. (Pop-)punk as hell.