How many bra tops can one pop star own? Is it politically correct to whip a back up dancer? Can women really have it all? Britney Spears’s “Work Bitch” video, directed by Ben Mor, attempts to answer all of these questions. It could be interpreted as, say, a feminist workplace manifesto à la Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. But the secret to success in Britney's world is the much-repeated aphorism “Work, bitch.” This simple mantra reminds women to, in Spears’s words, “Don’t stop now, just be the champion.” By working hard, “bitches” really can have it all: and by all, we mean living “fancy,” “sippin' martinis,” and looking “hot in a bikini.”
Now about those bikinis. Spears works a series of fabulous, skimpy looks in her video. As Director Ben Mor told MTV News, “You can’t have soft visuals for a song called "‘Work Bitch," and we sure as hell didn’t.” Stylistically, Spears has certainly come a long way from her “Baby One More Time” video, which came out exactly 15 years and one day before “Work Bitch's” debut. While this Britney wouldn’t be caught dead in a schoolgirl skirt, her outfits range from NSFW to heart-attack inducing. Spears features so many looks in this video that the stylist, B Akergrund, captioned a “Work Bitch” Instagram “#somanylooks #solittletime I #worked like a #bitch.” That’s the spirit! A rundown of her wardrobe:
1) Metallic Shorts and Matching Bra: The video opens on Spears writhing against a white background in a sparkly metallic bra and hot pants set -- walking the line between tacky and fabulous. Her frayed short-shorts with a Middle Eastern-inspired fringed bralet make an interesting pair; it’s K-mart harem chic. Meanwhile, Brit’s back up dancers's all leather ensembles actually make her outfit look practical.
2) Bodycon Balancing Act: “Work Bitch” has a tendency to stick its star in some pretty odd situations. In this shot, Britney rocks a structural black and white mini-dress. But that’s not all! She is also inexplicably balanced on a huge white triangular structure, possibly supported by the fistful of strings she holds in her hands. Not content to defy gravity, Spears also take this opportunity to redefine the mullet dress, sprouting a huge white parachute tail from the piece's behind.
3) Queen Bee: For this look, Spears ditches the hot pants, choosing pants and elbow-length gloves to achieve a more urbane look. Specifically, Brit rocks an Atelier Bordelle bra top and earrings by Lynn Ban. She inexplicably pairs these sophisticated pieces with a pair of baggy black pants. (We’re guessing that Fred Durst left those bad boys at Britney’s house circa 2003, and simply forgot to pick them up.) Between the black sweats and her yellow-and-black lace top, Britney nails the queen bee with attitude look. The leather gloves are just icing on the weird, fabulous cake.
4) Artsy Top and Scary Whip: Britney Spears might be being slowly strangled by her own top, but that doesn’t mean she’s not the head bitch in charge. For this ensemble, Britney matched silky black pants with an artful, geometric corset. With its array of colors and pearly sheen, this stained-glass top is practically pious (minus the myriad of cut-outs) -- but it’s the heavy whip that really pulls the look together.
5) Cotton Candy Gown: Spears takes formalwear to the next level with this pink and blue gown and strappy silver heels. This looks like something you might wear to your Quinceañera, if your Quinceañera took place on an elevated platform, surrounded by a body of water and a friendly family of sharks. While Britney’s floor length dress and sky-high heels might not be the most appropriate outfit for this life-threatening situation, her legs look amazing.
6) The Ultimate Short Shorts: Sometimes we girls have trouble dressing for the occasion. One imagines this situation is even more stressful when the occasion is “dancing on a white platform surrounded by girls in thigh high leather boots.” When it comes to making difficult sartorial decisions, Britney has found you can never go wrong with a glorified bra and a blinged out pair of short shorts. The hot pants that Spears sports in this look are clearly the jewel of her hot pants collection. Covered in an array of glitzy strands, they look like a celebrity DIY project gone horribly awry.
7) Britney's Boudoir: Next up, the superstar indulges in a moment of contemplation, gazing at her reflection in a vanity mirror. Britney really seems at home here, despite the fact that she is duck-facing at herself in the middle of a desert. Spears’s team has included an unsubtle product placement for her perfume in the frame. However, we hardly noticed it, as we were thoroughly distracted by Britney’s lingerie-inspired look. Her fishnets and panties, which feature a prominent front zipper, are a little trashy. But Britney glams up the look with a vampy corset top and attention grabbing statement necklace. Even stranded in a desert, Spears manages to stay sexy and classy (okay, minus the easy-access zipper).
8) The Shiniest Shawl: In preparation for her upcoming Vegas show, it looks as if Spears has been rummaging through Cher’s old costume closet. For this look, the demure star covers up her old metallic ensemble with a gleaming caplet, and makes sure to show off her matching Louboutins.
9) Business Casual: Britney has now been magically transported from the desert to a cityscape. This look was clearly what Ben Mor was alluding to when he said “Work Bitch” features “a more adult Britney.” In what is clearly the video’s most Vegas outfit, Spears channels an ambitious magician’s secretary in a sparkly metallic bra, short leather gloves, and paneled pencil skirt. While Brit’s bottom half is all business, her gold plated bustier and loud gold necklace, which boldly declares “chaos,” and naturally transitions from the workplace to the club tabletop.
10) The Bondage Corset: Britney’s bold, studded bra-top lends further proof to our theory that someone on set was a little overzealous with the glue gun. This top might be part lace bustier and part dog harness, but it’s fully fierce. The princess of pop clearly agrees, as she chose to Instagram this look to announce the video’s world premiere.