If you were an infant or just a whisper on the wind in the year 2000, then you probably don’t have a good reference point for the style trends of that era. The late ’90s and early aughts were times of carefree innocence. Boybands and pop princesses reigned supreme, and after the widespread myth of a global computer glitch faded away, your older cousins, aunts, and uncles went back to exploring the many uses of Geocities and Myspace. If your ears have perked up with interest, here is everything you need to know about Y2K style.
Messy But Fun
The early 2000s was certainly a less polished time, so you’ll notice that the style choices, including hairstyles, embrace a fun and carefree messy aesthetic. Unpressed blouses, funky tees, torn jean shorts, beach waves hair, messy twin buns and so much more, these are just some of the staples of 2000s style that you can play around with if you’re ready to get nostalgic.
Playful and Young
What you’ll notice about Y2K style is that nobody was ready to dress age-appropriate, and instead, the trend was to keep your outfits and hair playful and young. Whether this had to do with a turn-of-the-millennium terror about the unknown future or a casting off of the early ’90s harsh cocaine-chic aesthetic, it’s hard to say. Still, no one would fault you for picking out that oversized t-shirt with a character from Dragonball Z on it from the bargain bin when you want to dress up for a Y2K party.
Kitschy and Campy
Y2K kitsch is some of the best kitsch on planet Earth. If you dive back into the past, you will come across piles of cutesy and campy accessories and objects that young people could not get enough of in the early 2000s. Of course, flower and butterfly hair clips are just the beginning. If you are truly interested in collecting some of these eye-catching antiquities, you’ll need to pick up the following:
- A brightly colored furry bucket hat
- Jelly sandals in a transparent color
- A chunky charm bracelet
- Duochrome beaded door curtains
- A giant heart-shaped pillow
- Sun-and-moon bed sheet and comforter set
All About Body
For a lighthearted fashion and style movement, you’ll find that Y2K trends unsurprisingly embraced the beauty of the human body. From key-shaped cutout dresses to bustier tops and mini-skirts, the designs were both overtly sexual and impractical at the same time. If you dressed like this back then, you will remember that none of your favorite outfits paired very well with winter.
Too Many Accessories
If you’re a style conniseur and pay attention to the latest runways and fashion week news, then you have probably noticed that Y2K accessories have made a comeback. Some of the worst offenders include things like giant belts that serve no purpose, chains that hang everywhere and do nothing, bits and bobs that float in your hair and on your clothes purely for show. The clips, claws, belts, hats, and jewelry set Y2K fashion apart then and still do today.
Punk in the Mainstream
Whether it makes you want to cry real tears or fake emo ones, Y2K style moved the punk aesthetic into the mainstream. With this embrace of dark, pseudo-goth makeup and safety-pinned clothes, the rebellious spirit of punk rock evolved (or devolved?) into a pop culture phenomenon that suddenly became accessible to everyone. If you’ve ever visited a Hot Topic, then you know something about this type of style.
Trending Once Again
Designers and fashion houses are always looking to the past for inspiration, and you have probably noticed that Y2K style is trending once again. From the renewed obsession with bucket hats to butterfly clips and chunky body glitter, the early 2000s may at first appear as an era of campy and low-brow fashion choices. There’s truth to that observation, but there’s also something else, something undeniably universal and all-encompassing about that time period.
Y2K style connected people across gender, geography and social class. If that’s something you think has been missing from fashion, then go ahead and embrace Y2K 2.0.