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Y2K Fashion: So Back and So Fetch!

Y2K fashion is back with a vengeance. How will you embrace your boy band persona? Let’s revisit some of the lewks that made the 2000s positively sick!
Editorial team
December 21, 2023
June 20, 2024
min. read
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The 2000s were a simpler time. Flip phones. Napster. Telling people to talk to the hand because the face ain’t listening. We were better — more whole, somehow. And by better, we mean the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia are heavy, and we can’t seem to take them off. 

There’s something so intoxicating about the Y2K era. It’s somehow both retro and futuristic. It harkens back to a time when freedom meant unlimited minutes on nights and weekends and Xzibit was putting live fish in people’s cars.

Who doesn’t want a slice of the 2000s in their wardrobe? Lucky for you, Y2K fashion is back in full force. So, don’t get caught slippin’; update your MySpace and let the homeys know you’re repping the poppin’ fashion of yore. It's time to break out your Icing by Claire's and debut a sick ’fit. We've been waiting for you, biatch.

What is Y2K fashion?

If you aren't familiar with the influential period that was the early 2000s, then you might not know what there is to love about the Y2K fashion aesthetic. Fortunately, the vibes are very specific, which makes it easier to rock in a way that stays true to the essence of the period. Finding Y2K clothing isn't hard if you know the right brands, but you can also opt for Y2K-inspired clothes or accessories without going full Ed Hardy, if that's more your speed.

You can usually tell if something is 2000s-pilled if it has an exuberant spirit that isn’t afraid to cross over into cheesy. What does that look like? Shiny, almost plastic-like metallics, vibrant colors that remind you of Easter eggs, and intriguing designs inspired by futuristic technology (despite dial-up still very much being a thing).

Pop culture and celebrity obsession enormously influenced Y2K fashion for men in the 2000s. It still does to a degree, but stars in this era specifically had trends by the chokehold. The goal was to fit in, not stand out; you wanted to assimilate with all the other denim-and-frosted-tip-donning J-14 cyborgs out there. Ironically, since these looks are now considered vintage, they'll stand out in a good way.

It also wasn't all about putting more prep in your step. Scene, goth, and punk also emerged with unique fashions that dared to be different (by wearing the same thing, but whatever, semantics). These outfits are just as much Y2K as anything else, although they don't feel like they capture the era in quite the same way velvet track pants do.

How do I wear Y2K fashion effortlessly?

The absolutely LAST thing you want to be called when wearing low-rise jeans is a poser, but how do you prevent it? How can you ensure your Abercrombie & Fitch look serves Ambercrombie & Fetch? 

You can effortlessly incorporate Y2K fashion trends into your wardrobe in a few ways. You don’t have to become a caricature of the decade; nothing is stopping you from throwing on anything and everything Y2K, but sometimes a subtle choker is the answer. 

Speaking of accessories, they’re a fantastic way to start reppin’ the 2000s. Beaded jewelry, hair clips, bedazzled bags, and bucket hats are all Y2K accessories that pair nicely with today's trends. Much of modern streetwear originated in the aughts, so it was only natural to start borrowing from the style’s glory days.

Oversized clothing is very much in vogue now, so donning chunky shoes or baggy jeans won't look out of place in the slightest.

Y2K fashion examples

Now that your eye is primed for fashion from the new millennium, it's time to look at some fashion examples that will have you saying, “Fo’ shizzle.”

Crop tops

Gone are the days when crop tops were just for sticking it to the masc4masc crew; they're legitimately back in fashion, and could we be any more excited? The return of the midriff is in full swing, and the treasure trail enjoyers among us are eating well.

Velour tracksuits

If there's anything the work-from-home phenomenon reminds us, it’s that sometimes you're your sexiest self when you feel comfortable and at ease — even if there is a salsa stain on your cozy shirt. But why not kick it up a notch and try out a velour tracksuit? They're insanely comfortable and really fashionable. Opt for a bold color to get into the spirit of the good old days when we were pirating NSYNC singles on Limewire.


Big jeans

Jeans, jeans, and nothing but jeans — the 2000s were all about wide-leg and bootcut denim. Revive either of these looks to give off the Britney and/or Justin vibes you've been so totally stoked about. Take it even further with a bucket or trucker hat, and you’ll be getting crunk in no time.

Even more denim

How much denim is enough to nail the nostalgic Y2K aesthetic? There’s no such thing. Pile on denim like it's going out of style, because it probably never will.

So, how do you make your fall outfits stand out as distinctly 2000s-coded? To really nail the 2000s Y2K fashion vibes, keep the color scheme of your denim similar and always opt for oversized. Whether you’re strutting the red carpet or just going out for coffee, the Canadian tuxedo is always the bomb diggity.

Anything metallic

Futurism was big in the past and will probably be big in the future! And nothing says you're ahead of your time quite like some silvery piping.

Shiny, vibrant metallics provide another way to incorporate the Y2K style. You can employ subtle metallic accessories or go full TLC and wear a metallic jumpsuit. Whether you were already out of fashion by 2000 or still in diapers, anyone can embrace this blunt nod to futurism by dressing like a CD (a CD is… never mind).

Translucent clothing

Not to be outdone by some of the more flashy fashion trends of the 2000s, some designers decided less was more. Enter translucent or see-through clothing. These pieces bridge the gap between futuristic and retro.

How much you want to show is totally up to you, as there are many ways to interpret the style. Some might prefer a mesh top, while others experiment with jeans with transparent panels. You can even go all in and get some jelly sandals. No matter what, you're definitely gonna stand out from the crowd on TRL.

Goth accessories

Every karaoke kween knows the power of hits from the early aughts. Many have reached iconic status within the LGBTQ community. But it wasn’t all pop powerhouses and boy bands; rebellion ran rampant throughout the music scene (and, by extension, the fashion world).

Ready to indulge in some counterculture couture? Start by layering a long-sleeve tee under a short sleeve, preferably with an obnoxious design. Then take it up a notch with classic accessories like wallet chains, studded belts, and leather cuff bracelets. Avoid wearing them all simultaneously, or the next thing you know, you’ll be sporting a full-blown mohawk. Don't say we didn't warn you.


Of all the patterns that could make a resurgence, we've missed you most of all, camo. Color is the name of the game for fashion in the early 2000s, and camo is about to be your new favorite color. It's all about standing out by blending in! Find yourself some camo cargo pants — the bigger, the better.


If any pattern were to fade into the background, you would think it would be camo, but paisley is definitely the sleeper cell of early 2000s fashion. Bandanas are standard Y2K fare, often coming in bold, brash colors. Pair with a tie-dye top to revive the hippie revival once more, or bust out your baggiest jeans for a hip hop twist.

Find the date of the millennium on Grindr

Now, you know where you can get the perfect fit to booyah all over various dawgs and peeps. Add some bling, and you're ready to turn into a millennium monster that never misses an issue of Tiger Beat.

Truthfully, despite its unique place in fashion history, Y2K’s lewks came back for a reason. They’re fun and spirited, representing an optimism everyone could use in their closet and their lives. So what are you waiting for? The fur-trimmed jackets are calling.

Does thinking of baby tees leave you feeling a bit boy-crazy? Be the Hollaback Girl you've always wanted to be with Grindr. We’ll provide the runway; you just have to strut your stuff! If you really want to feel the fantasy, pop in that AOL disc, download the Grindr app, and get the A/S/L of all the local cuties.

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