Final Fantasy X-2 introduced “dresspheres,” which were a callback to the Jobs system of Final Fantasy’s past. As a 13 year old in 2003, I thought Yuna looked amazing in her Songstress outfit, but as an adult I can’t help but think it’s a little bit over the top. Despite that, the Songstress dressphere’s 2003-ness is still an accomplished look. It might be tacky, but it’s classic.
The Songstress dressphere from Final Fantasy X-2, like every other outfit in the game, was designed by many-belts fan Tetsuya Nomura. His design sense is overwrought, especially when you think about how his clothes would fit on a human body. But the Songstress dressphere works.
The outfit is very early 2000s. Yuna looks like she’s wearing a concert outfit from an In The Zone-era Britney Spears tour. While the ruffles on her top and her bubble skirt help anchor the outfit in the time period, it’s the midriff that makes this into an accidental period piece.
Midriff tops have come back in a big way (personally, I love them), but the emphasis is on above-the-navel midriff, and these tops are often combined with high waisted trousers or skirts. Yuna’s top, like so many early 2000s pop stars, does show midriff above the navel, but mostly below the navel. Her skirt also hits her low on the waist. That’s a look I haven’t seen for a long time.
In short: compare this picture of Britney Spears from 2003 on the left, with this picture of Rihanna from 2016 on the right. Britney’s jeans hang very low on her hips, and the midriff that’s exposed is all below the navel. Rihanna, on the other hand, is wearing trousers at her natural waist, and her top is much shorter. The midriff is all above the navel. It seems like a minor difference, but it does reflect how much fashion has changed since the early 2000s. Below-the-navel midriff kinda only looks good on popstars; above-the-navel midriff has more utility on a variety of body types.
Yuna’s Songstress dressphere outfit is all in shades of royal blue, powder blue and navy, except for the boots, which are the best and worst thing about the look. How does Yuna round out this soft and feminine outfit? With a pair of knee-high brown leather boots. As if that weren’t enough, the rustic boots have an incongruous, scalloped edge. To my 2017 eyes they looks nuts, but if you look back at Britney’s 2003 photoshoot for GQ, you can tell that too many details and weirdly mismatching accessories were totally in for that time period.
No matter how far forward in time we go, the Songstress outfit will always bring us back to the era in which it was created. It’s not the effortless charm of Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face; in fact, it’s a little closer to Britney in a denim ball gown. But there’s no harm in admitting we all thought that was cool once. Instead of breaking out your old low waisted jeans, maybe just replay Final Fantasy X-2. Those trousers looked bad on everyone but Britney, anyhow.