Y2K Trends We’re Still Loving 20 Years Later

words Alexa Wang

Y2K (Year 2000) was an iconic era wherein humankind stepped into a new millennium centered around technology, creativity, and uncertainty.

The aesthetic of Y2K evoked the fear of the coming millennium and hesitancy of the people to let go of the 80’s and 90’s fashion trends, hence the small retro vibe still seen in Y2K fashion like plaid pleated mini skirts, chunky headbands, and bug-eye sunnies. Technology also played a huge role in molding the Y2K aesthetic, seeing a lot of futuristic pieces such as metallic jackets, shiny cocktail dresses, and many more.

Y2K Trend

It’s no wonder why Y2K fashion has made a huge comeback today, given how the world is basically in the same situation as it was in the early 2000s. The fear evoked by the pandemic, giving so much uncertainty, and how science and technology have been even more daunting in the past two years because of the sudden need and necessity for everyone to go digital. 

But nevertheless, Y2K is here, and it looks like it will be for a while, as the overall aesthetic reminds us of happier and simpler times. Y2K is essentially the fashion trend most of us grew up with. The people we watched on TV like the Mean Girls, and Paris Hilton, and the artists that we listened to like Britney Spears, and Destiny’s Child all symbolized and embodied Y2K fashion.

Today, we see a lot of fashion brands and even luxury designer brands jumping on the Y2K fashion trend, you might not see or notice it but here’s a list to get you on track with the Y2K comeback.

Baguette Bags

Baguette bags have made a huge comeback in the past year, with big designer names such as Prada, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton bringing the iconic “it bag” back into circulation. There is a utilitarian reason behind why baguette bags have made a comeback, which is that people aren’t going anywhere or rather aren’t going out much. Giving no need to bust out your large tote bags or even medium-sized handbags.

Velour Tracksuits

Only one name and brand come to mind with this: Paris Hilton and Juicy Couture. The hotel heiress who was recently dubbed as the “original influencer”, made the Juicy Couture velour tracksuit an iconic fashion piece in the early 2000s after being photographed multiple times wearing the tracksuits in different colors, and even bedazzled. The Velour Tracksuit has recently made a mainstream comeback, Paris’ best friend Kim Kardashian recently released Velour Tracksuits under her clothing line Skims, and who better to have modeled the tracksuits than Paris herself.

Pleated Mini Skirts

Y2K fashion has this hesitancy to let go of previous fashion trends, and the pleated mini skirt is a strong manifestation. It dates back to the late ’80s as it was popularized in the TV show, Hairspray, which oddly enough, had a remake in 2007. The movie, Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan, also popularized the pleated mini skirt worn by the antagonist, Regina George, and the rest of the Plastics. Just make sure she doesn’t “compliment” you while wearing one. 

Y2K Trends

Low-rise jeans

Jeans have had a ton of different iterations in the past year, from the different cuts, and even trendy jeans like two-tone or ripped. No one really thought that low-rise jeans would make a strong comeback. There is some negative connotation to low-rise, but thankfully 20 or so years later since its birth, society has decided to finally shut up and just let women wear what they want. Especially if supermodels like the Hadid sisters rock these jeans on a daily basis.

Visible Thong (whale tail)

Speaking of low-rise jeans, a popular accompaniment or rather, a provocative consequence of wearing a pair, is a visible thong or a “whale tail”. The whale tail wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea back in the early 2000s but it didn’t matter to those who donned it. Fast forward 20 years later, where people finally mind their own business, we have the whale tail in modern iterations like Hailey Bieber back in the 2019 Met Gala.

Bucket hats

You might not know it, but the bucket hat did come from the early 2000s and wasn’t just some fashion trend that popped out back in 2019. The Bucket hat was a staple in men’s closets in the late 90s to the early 2000s, today the trend breaks that stereotype and is now a gender-neutral fashion piece, but really to begin with clothes shouldn’t even be gendered. Who would’ve thought that a hat would symbolize so much more than just a trend?

Baggy Jeans

Baggy jeans have literally saved all of us from having to suck it all in and slip into a pair of death-defying skinny or slim cut jeans. But baggy jeans don’t necessarily flatter all body types, which is why, in its comeback, we’ve seen baggy jeans in different styles such as cargo, ripped, two-toned, and even bleached. If you want more jean-styling tips and tricks, you can always check out All About Jeans.

Tube Tops

Y2K marked an area of sexual exploration, where women like J.Lo, Britney Spears, and even Sex and City’s Carrie Bradwash, wanted to empower women to love and embrace their bodies (literally). The tube top was a go-to fashion piece for going clubbing, giving the arms and shoulders a lot of room to dance the night away. Today, it’s a must-have, versatile piece that everyone can wear with shorts, skirts, pants, outerwear, and more.

Monochrome co-ords 

Amidst the rumble about the end of the world with the coming of the new millennium, there were people who wanted to look put-together. Today, we see a lot of iterations of the monochrome co-ords from neutral to bright colors, halter tops with mini skirts, to baby-tees with matching colored jeans. The ultimate goal is to look like a cute human skittle.

Cropped Baby-tees

Y2K marked the end of an era but, for some of us, it was hard enough to let go of clothes from younger years. The cropped baby-tee is basically the earlier version of the 21st century’s cropped top. The difference would be, baby-tees were aimed at showing off the navel, which according to the earlier trend would have been pierced. The modern cropped top, however, shows off the midriff. 

Some of these pieces may be collecting dust in your closet or your parent’s closet. But now would be the best time to bust out those old jeans and retro baby-tees, and strut out to the future in your Y2K outfit. 


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