The fashion trends of the early 2000s, commonly referred to as "Y2K," have impacted mainstream fashion trends since their rise to popularity. Recently, we have seen a plethora of Y2K aesthetics coming back into trend.

Early Y2K pop culture ruled more than some would think, anywhere from what was worn to concerts to where it was trendy to have your jeans hit below your hips. Cultural phenomena, such as young Paris Hilton and Jennifer Aniston, helped influence trends that are slowly resurfacing today.

TV and the internet were becoming more popular during the rise of these trends. Trends diffused quickly and easily, which helped spread different subcultures to new audiences. 

The rise in consumerism and fast fashion also had an effect on the way people dressed at the time. It was important to many to carry bags or sunglasses with a logo extremely visible.

Trends that were notable at the time included the “it girl aesthetic,” commonly associated with the way Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie dressed at the time. This style was often associated with mixing designer logo handbags as well as trucker hats, something very influenced by the socioeconomic status of the country at the time.

This decade was also noted for having mainstream trends that were influenced by hip-hop, casual chicness and leisure wear.

“The hair accessories, baby tees and loud prints were some of my Y2K essentials,” Olivia Fuegen, a senior in apparel, merchandising and design, said. “Anything that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie wore in 'The Simple Life' is so trendy right now and I love it.”

The cyclic nature of fashion usually means that within 15-20 years after the trend being popular, elements of that trend will become popular again.

“Trends always come back but with a little twist. For example, when scrunchies came back a few years ago, people who grew up in the '80s weren’t wearing them on the top of their head but more as just an accessory," Maura Ortner, a junior in apparel, merchandising and design, said.

Megan Lenzi Y2K 1

Styling baby T-shirts was really dependent on how you wanted to look. They could be paired with jeans to give a casual, preppy look or dressed down to make it more grunge.

Staple pieces, such as yoga pants and baby tees, can be styled in multiple ways. Some see a certain era of fashion as an entire wipe of what is already in their wardrobe and completely starting over. This is, in fact, not the case due to Y2K fashion being so creative and flexible, most already have basic items needed to create a look.

Pinterest is a great platform to use when searching for creativity in projects, outfits and even food recipes. One of the easiest ways to figure out how you can compile an outfit straight out of this decade is finding a few favorites from Pinterest pictures and compromising for what you already have or what would easily be made into that certain article of clothing. Thrift shopping is another great way to find attire to match, such as the tiny handbags and small-framed sunglasses. 

Although there isn’t just one exact store early 2000s fashion garments can be found, popular shops such as Urban Outfitters, Princess Polly, Zara and even Depop are all sources with great success. Websites with bright colors, tight-printed animal print, velour tracksuits and pleated skirts would make for a great outfit. 

The styling of these pieces is up to the preference of whoever is shopping, but there are a few ways they were commonly worn in the 2000s. 

As mentioned previously, baby tees are one of the easiest and most prominent pieces from this decade. These tees could be cut from bigger, fitted shirts or even purchased in a smaller size to construct an outfit. Paired with yoga pants or low-rise jeans, the small shirts provide for comfort and uncomplicated pairing.

Megan Lenzi Y2K 3

From a preppy, athletic skirt to a pleated goth style, tennis skirts were staples in everyone's closet.

Megan Lenzi Y2K 4

Tennis skirts were a huge trend at the time and can be styled to match different aesthetics.

Tennis and pleated skirts would also be found in an early 21st century closet. Tennis skirts were a mix of the athleisure trends from this decade and were often styled to create a more preppy aesthetic. Using an argyle sweater or collared shirt to pair together was a popular trend.

One of the comfiest trends of the Y2K era was yoga pants. Inspired by the tracksuit looks and athleisure trend, these bottoms with small tank tops and cropped shirts are nothing short of comfortable for all body types.

Megan Lenzi Y2K 2

Details like rhinestones commonly adorn T-shirts and accessories in order to make a statement.

The black pant is still apparent today, however it looks a little different than what has been popular recently. The yoga pants during this decade were most often a flared pant as opposed to the ankle-hugging skinny yoga pants we have seen recently in style.

Megan Lenzi Y2K 5

Wearing low-rise pants was popular across different trending subcultures at the time. 

“In reality, how cool is it that we get to experience certains the biggest trends of each decade twice,” Ortner said. 

The cyclic nature of fashion trends might suggest that the decade of the 2000s are going to influence how we are dressing in 2021.

One should also not worry about accessing this trend without spending loads of money but instead, find second-hand stores to find what is needed. This also contributes to saving the environment by keeping clothes in a rotation of recycling. If this is something that interests you, let this serve as a guide for how to dress like they did 20 years ago.

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