The pandemic has made us yearn for nostalgia and the comfort of simpler, happier times. It's no surprise that Y2K fashion has made a reappearance in our lives. Unapologetic colours, playful prints, retro-futuristic fabrics and a ton of bling, the early 2000s were an interesting time period in the evolution of fashion, and Gen Z is bringing back this aesthetic in all its cropped-tee, baggy trousered, blinged-out glory.
What is the “Y2K” trend all about?
The current Y2K trend refers to the cyclic reappearance of clothing trends from the late 90s and 2000s— when fashion shifted to a more futuristic and utopian vibe. The internet, CDs and other advancements that were never seen before shaped this particular era. Movies such as Clueless, Legally Blonde and Mean Girls all feature wardrobes full of this trend. We’re talking loads of pink, mini bags, bedazzled logos and low-rise everything. For most millennials, it takes them back to their childhood and early teens.
The rise of technology in the final years of the 1990s, led to the rise of the Y2K aesthetic. For many, the year 2000 meant a new beginning and a time of growth. The culture of the 90s was shaped by luxurious consumerism and innovative, modern and futuristic trends. It was inspired by the rise of the dot-com boom and the seemingly endless possibilities of the internet. The darker, light grunge aesthetic of the 90s, was replaced by a more optimistic style of dressing. The tech boom brought with it a wave of popping colours, leather pants, metallic clothing, and tonnes of bling. When we’re talking about Y2K icons, think of Destiny’s Child, Devon Aoki, Paris Hilton and Christina Aguilera.
Spotting the trendiest Y2K pieces
From bandanas to baby tees, bucket hats and baguette bags here's a round-up of some of the most popular Y2K trends that are hot again in 2021.
1. Baby Tees
Goodbye, oversized t-shirts! Tiny tees are back and they are cropped higher and fit tighter than ever before. Baby tees featuring vaporwave graphics are wildly popular RN. A versatile piece of clothing, these look great with a pair of wide-leg jeans or a tennis skirt.
2. Baguette Bags
From Prada to Bottega Veneta, this clever little shoulder bag with a short strap is literally everywhere! While it can’t accommodate a lot of things, it elevates your entire look in a jiffy.
3. Printed pants
Swap your go-to blue jeans for something a bit more interesting to liven up your entire look. Opt for a pair of pants in vibrant colours and peppy prints. Nothing screams Y2K like Ananya's cropped, tie-dye pair.
4. Front-Button Cardigans
Cute summer knits for a brunch? Yes, please! Whether you're going for the '90s inspired ribbed top, cropped knit blouse or a feminine tie-front top, there are near-infinite colours and sleeve lengths to choose from. Take a cue from Kendall's cute lime style to get your OOTD going.
Add a rock 'n' roll twist to your outfit by tying on a stylish bandana. Opt for a softer floral or paisley print, or tie on a silk scarf to go glam. Pair with some gold jewellery to complete your look. P.S. These can prove to be your saviour on a bad hair day.
6. Scarf Tops
Another versatile piece that screams Y2K, scarf tops can be both cute and sexy, all at once. Backless, cowl necks, tie-backs, bandeaus, the options are infinite. Wear one with your favourite pair of low-rise jeans for a look that defines the Y2K aesthetic.
7. Velour Tracksuits
Juicy Couture? Hell to the yes! Thanks to the pandemic, loungewear is being worn like never before, and the nostalgic vibe of velour tracksuits, brought back by Kim K and Paris Hilton, is here to stay. You can opt for any colour you like, or truly commit to your Y2K look and go pink like Rihanna.
8. Low-Rise Bottoms
Love it or dread it, the fabled low-rise look is back. While the 90s high-waisted mom jeans might still be around, its the exposed midriffs and low-rise bottoms that are making heads turn RN.
Chain-belts reigned supreme in the 90s and they’re making their way back in a post-Zoom world. While they may not actually keep your pants in place, they definitely add an element of playful grunge to your look. Remember the 90s Chanel chain-belt? It's back bbs, so drape yours on if you own one!
10. Lace-Up Everything
Yes to bare midriffs, but why not twirl some tie-up strings around while you are at it? Think Jacquemus SS21, if you are seeking the right inspiration to give this look a 2021 update. From tops, dresses, pants and more—add an edge to any minimal outfit with lace-up details.