Pretty much everyone knows that fashion is cyclical, and if you hold onto something long enough, it will eventually come back into style. Usually, these cycles can take tens of years, but Y2K fashion has become a mainstream trend once again, just two short decades after its first appearance.
What is Y2K Aesthetic?
The Y2K aesthetic is radically distinctive and inspired by the mid-’90s and early 2000s when the internet became more popular, during the dot-com boom. This style is typically quite futuristic with a slightly retro edge – think shiny materials, chunky sneakers, pleated skirts, baguette bags, and colorful sunglasses. With the massive peak in the advancement in technology, viewers were both optimistic and cautious about the future, and how it could transform our lives. This came through with changes in music, films, decor, and, of course, fashion. Some of this era’s biggest influences include Carrie Bradshaw, Bratz Dolls, and films like The Matrix and Mean Girls.What is Y2K Aesthetic?
Tie Front Tops
One of the biggest trends from the 2000s making a comeback is the tie front tops. In 2021, they got a fresh update with pastel tones and ribbed fabrics. You can style them with a cute bralette, T-shirt, or nothing underneath and look super fresh. Rock them with high-waisted jeans, a mini skirt, or patterned wide-leg trousers – this style you can wear over and over, and it will never go out of fashion.
Bedazzled logo T-shirts may have reigned supreme in casual ’00s looks, but the elevated top option came in soft, ribbed button-ups and cardigans. Worn with the top and bottom buttons undone, the clingy ribbed cardi was frequently paired with baggy denim, mini skirts, or styled over a silk slip dress.
This look still embodies the perfect approach to off-duty style. Take a cue from Katie Holmes and pair a cropped cardigan with a matching bralette beneath. Finish the outfit with dark denim jeans and heeled boots, and you have the perfect balance of subtle Y2K fashion references in an A-lister-approved ensemble.
With the internet booming in the early 2000s, the idea of futuristic fashion was a huge trend.
Nowadays, shiny materials in silver (or pearlescent shades) are the best way to give your outfit a touch of Y2K fashion nostalgia.
Match a metallic puffer jacket with a pair of flared jeans, and combine them with bright cardigans and tops – ideal colors are orange, pink, and light blue.
Following a significant moment in the ’90s (thank you, Alicia Silverstone), miniskirts returned in the 2000s as the perfect form-fitting counterpart to cropped tees. Vibrant colors are key here, as is texture, so look out for bright hues that will bring a flash of nostalgia to your outfit while keeping it elevated by opting for luxe fabrics like leather and wool. To tackle this trend in the colder months, team your mini skirt with a tonal turtleneck and some knee-high boots for a relaxed but elevated look.
Pleated Colourful Skirts
The early 2000s fully embraced the styling of Bratz Dolls, which included colorful pleated skirts. You can find varying styles that best suit you – whether you like them micro-mini or a little bit longer, it’s all about you feeling your cutest. These uniform-esque pieces are great paired with an oversized sweater, crop top, or baby tee. Wear them with chunky sneakers or boots.
Wide-leg Denim Jeans
These classic jeans died when skinny jeans hit the racks. And while the latter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, the revival of wide-leg jeans offers a less radical alternative to low-rise jeans and miniskirts.
(It doesn’t hurt that they’re way more comfortable too.)
Wide-leg jeans can work alone, though vintage Von Dutch Trucker hats and fitted babydoll t-shirts will complete the Y2K aesthetic.
Y2K fashion wouldn’t be Y2K fashion if it didn’t revive some kooky numbers.
Retro yet futuristic, translucent clothing is surprisingly versatile. To add, they don’t require much accessorizing (though the more accessories, the better, we say.)
If you like color, choose a mesh top with a fun pattern. Military camos were particularly popular in the 2000s, as were abstracts and paisley.
If that’s not bold enough, then opt for a transparent button-down shirt and pair it with a solid-colored baby tee. Another option would be to layer a delicate slip dress over a plain white dress.