Remember those kitschy prints, baby tees, and low-rise jeans you stashed away in the back of your closet, thinking they’d never make a comeback?
Surprise--the late 90s and early 2000s aesthetics are back--and with a vengeance.
Love it or hate it, Y2K’s main trends are getting a second wind--thanks to a brand new generation of fashionistas and fashion influencers who are just rediscovering the joys (and pains) of decades past. Just take a look at social media personalities and Gen-Z celebrities such as Rico Nasty, Bella Hadid, Saweetie, and Dua Lipa. Indeed, Y2K nostalgia is the trend to follow.
Now, the question is, what trends deserve to be resurrected and which ones are meant to disappear into oblivion? Check out OpenWardrobe’s suggestions on how to bring Y2K fashion into 2021:
- Denim on Denim
Remember that denim on denim on denim fashion moment Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake sported in the early 2000s? Not our fondest memories of denim. And if two of the biggest pop stars in the world couldn’t pull that off, then what hope do we mere mortals have?
Take your cue from celebrities like Bella Hadid.
The right way to style this Y2K classic is to focus on the silhouette. Match shorts with cut-off vests; flared jeans with crop tops; and low-rise bottoms with oversized jackets. Remember to always maintain a consistent color palette to elevate your look and polish your outfit with colorful sunnies, a baguette bag, and chunky heels.
- Baby Tees
In the 90s, the baby tee was an iconic fashion staple from Daria’s little sister Quinn. In the 2000s, the Bratz dolls’ tiny, shrunken tees were a must-have. Even Beyonce was a fan and was seen sporting this classic style when she was part of Destiny's Child. Today? Stars like Dua Lipa are bringing them back.
Cropped above the belly button, these cute tees usually featured quirky quotes, witty slogans, or graphics. Try to get your hands on some of these original tees for an authentic vintage feel and pair them with boyfriend jeans, low-rise denim, or pleated skirts.
- String-Tie Tops
Often worn with sporty bottoms and with a thong peeking outside of your low-rise pants, these tops were the sensation of Y2K fashion.
Now, unless you’re Dua Lipa driving a purple horse (check her social media for some context), leave your thong underneath your clothes and rock this trend with cropped tees, puff-sleeved blouses, a cute bralette, or nothing beneath. Opt for pastel colors and ribbed materials to look super contemporary and pair your string-tie top with high-waisted jeans, a mini skirt, wide-leg trousers, or even leggings.
- Cropped Cardigan Sets
Kitschy or flower-power prints were the hallmark of these sweater sets, usually worn with slip skirts or low-rise jeans.
To update the original trend, go with the same silhouette in solid hues. Pair them with bright high-waisted pants or dark denim jeans. Leave it open or button up just the top button to rock a throwback vibe.
- Wide-Leg Pants
Apart from bootcut and low-rise jeans, wide-leg pants were another staple in the early 2000s. Balance the boxy silhouette with a cropped or string-tie top or ribbed button-ups. If you want something more daring, try this in a high-rise style with a cutout detail on the hip.
- Velour tracksuit
The quintessential Y2K outfit popularized by designers like Juicy Couture and Baby Phat. Celebrities like JLo, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian were their fierce ambassadors.
To rock this style, while also keeping it contemporary, opt for bright shades of pink, orange, blue or green, and pair your velour tracksuit with a crop top or bralette, a denim jacket and chunky heels. You can break the tracksuit or embrace the monochrome look for the most authentic expression of Y2K aesthetic.
- Shiny Supplies
The futuristic and tech aesthetic was a major moment in the 2000s.
If you want to dip your toe into this Y2K trend, try incorporating shiny, silver details in your look. Try on a metallic puffer jacket and pair it with colorful accessories for a modern twist to the original trend.
- Scarf Top
We know that summer is basically over, but if the weather permits, revive the scarf top for one last hurrah. We still love the contrast of a sexy top with low-rise casual denim, but to keep the look more current, pair it with cargo pants, joggers or high-waist skinny jeans. Classic sandals are a safe bet, but why not dare with chunky heels?
- Kitschy Prints and Accessories
Butterflies, giant daisies, cloud prints were hallmarks of the late 90s and 00s.
For 2021, these bold prints are back in a big way. Take your cue from Scandi street style where print on print takes center stage. If you want to take a more restrained route, make a statement instead with bold accessories.
- Pleated Skirts
Very popular in the 90s, pleated miniskirts came back to the scene as the perfect counterpart to baby tees.
Featured prominently on cult fashion films like Empire Records, Clueless, Mean Girls, and Legally Blond, these pleated skirts are making a 2021 comeback in various silhouettes. You can find them in micro or mini styles or even in longer cuts, paired with oversized sweaters, crop tops, or baby tees. For colder seasons, wear your pleated skirt with a turtleneck and knee-high boots.
Now that the Y2K aesthetic is back in fashion you can buy trendy pieces anywhere, but if you want an authentic feel for your look, scour second-hand shops and thrift stores for vintage pieces. It’ll save you money and reduce your impact on the environment. You can also check out what pieces from the 2000s are in your wardrobe (or you can raid your older sister or mom’s closet).
Perhaps, the Y2K throwback could become a smart and stylish way to fix the fast-fashion problem, embrace the slow fashion philosophy and allow us to become more conscious of what we buy.
Need a hand creating your unique, personal style? Give OpenWardrobe app a go! We’ll help you mix and match your best 90s and 2000s pieces with a tremendously contemporary kick.