ho knew that we would miss the year 2000? The best way to remember it is through fashion and music. The song ‘...Baby One More Time’ just hit the top charts. ‘I Want It That Way’ by the Backstreet Boys played on your speaker followed by the hit song ‘Independent Women’ with a heart wrenching nostalgia, and you’ve got a boombox outside. Y2K is similar to 70s fashion, with a hint of 90s added into it. It’s time to travel back to the 2000s.
Note though, that this article is written by a Gen Zer and NOT a Millennial, so my information is limited. I mostly used to associate the Y2K aesthetic with the Sims Urbz video game on the PS2. That game had the Black Eyed Peas in it, and I would play it all the time. I always wanted to dress like Fergie, who I thought was a literal goddess in the game. You can’t forget the iconic Doctor Who scene with ‘Toxic’ by Brittney Spears… Billie Piper also revolutionized the Y2K fashion look in that show. A throwback, and a legend.
What is the Y2K aesthetic?
The Y2K fashion aesthetic has still endured today. Y2K in general can be defined as encapsulating fashion, hardware design, music, and furnishings that shine with colorful, retro looking tech. This aesthetic isn’t to be mixed with McBling trends, which centers around the pink, gem-covered early 2000s look associated with iconic movie Legally Blonde. The early 2000s were very experimental, and with Gen Z and Millennials on TikTok creating a generational nostalgia, they decided to get creative with it. The result: a more toned-down version of the once futuristic look. Some of the key fits from the Y2K aesthetic include staples like wide-leg jeans, shiny jackets, baby tees, and velour tracksuits.
Why dress in Y2K styles?
The real question is, why not? Every 20 years or so, old trends make a comeback but with a new twist. But in all seriousness, Dressing up in the Y2K aesthetic has become a trend again in 2021, and for good reason. Let's not forget that Black people and people of color revolutionized this style, especially within the music industry (R&B music, specifically). Think of the band Destiny's Child, and artists Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, and Janet Jackson. Also, if you were a Bratz fan rather than a Barbie gal as a kid, those were the fashionable dolls that are now making a comeback in pop culture.
Another reason to dress in the Y2K style is that it’s so adaptable, and it’s elements are so easy to pair with any kind of outfit. If you like to wear heavy jewelry, denim, and oversized clothing paired with tight clothing, and prints with pops of color, you’re in the right place. Here are some ways that you can incorporate the Y2K aesthetic into your daily wardrobe.
Y2K low rise jean look
Low rise jeans haven't been popular for years now, but they’ve recently made a comeback alongside the trend. Typically people will wear low rise jeans with a crop top or a form-fitting shirt especially women. This is also paired with a zip-up hoodie, a very well known look within this trend. Or, wear an oversized sweater with a crop top to get at the heart of the look. Something to keep in mind is that this style is only considered socially acceptable for people with a certain kind of figure, and curvier people can be prey to fatphobic comments when dressing in this look.
There isn't really much of a difference between normal crop top shirts and baby tees, however most baby tees have a little bit of a cute design. For instance, the seam is usually laced with an intricate design or something snazzy. On the tee is also usually a cool graphic design of choice which can fit the latest trends of today. If you're feeling really bold, you can just wear your cropped baby tee very cropped to the point where it's almost like a second bra. However, you can style it anyway that you feel comfortable.
Denim on denim
Whenever I see a double denim look, I think of thrift store shopping. This is typically where people can find their best denim staples. Just last week, for example, I found a denim dress pretty similar to what Britney is wearing right now, just a little less skin tight. Pair a dress with a belt of choice, your favorite denim jacket of a different shade and you’re all set. You can also match shorts with a vest, flared, mom or boot cut jeans, crop tops, and an oversized jacket or sweater to top off the look as well.
Vinyl pants make for a very cool outfit. The reason why I say that is because you can pair them with a very fashionable banty and you can make it fit into whatever style you want. For instance if you wear a low-rise vinyl pant with a crop top of a banty you can kind of pull off a mixture of the golf and Y2K aesthetic at the same time. At the time that Y2K was going on there was also an emergence of the punk Rock scene and the metal scene, and for good reason. They kind of just go together.
Tie front tops
Tie front tops are very cute and can be dressed up or down. You can wear them in the summer for a very lightweight flowy option. Or, you can throw a turtleneck or bodysuit or long sleeve under tie front tops during the colder months for something stylish and hopefully, at least slightly warm.
Little leather handbags
Typically found at your local thrift store and potentially donated by me a couple years ago when this was not a trend, little handbags are now popular again. Small bags you think of include the tiny leather handbags within the trend, but it can go either way. The tiny Coach bags are very stylish again, and they’re likely flying off the shelves at stores near you.
The bandana was a big hit during the height of the Y2K fashion trend. It’s very versatile, and you can dress it up or down depending on your mood and outfit (if you’re like me, they correspond with both). If you fold it into a triangle it’s easy to manage, or you can roll it up into a thin strip and wear it like a headband. Pair this with your favorite lip gloss and tiny handbag and you’re ready to go.
If you're looking to feel that early 2000's nostalgia again, dressing like Britney Spears before her mental breakdown is the way to go. No hate on Britney Spears, but that was very scary. Either way, there are plenty of other fashion icons from that time to look up to. At the end of the day, you can always hit up TikTok influencers for the latest fashion trends. Overall, I hope that this article was helpful for you by mixing up your wardrobe with a little bit of Y2K spice.