In an article about Y2K fashion trends, illustrations of glasses, hats and jeans
Load up your Myspace and break out that MP3 player — it's time to take a trip down memory lane. (Illustration by Sophia Clendenen, The University of the Arts)

Returning Y2K Fashion Trends That Can Help You Switch Up Your Style

Hold onto your tiny handbags, ‘Matrix’ sunglasses and everything with a butterfly monogrammed onto it, because the 2000s are back. Here are some easy ways to take your look on a trip back in time.

Thoughts x
In an article about Y2K fashion trends, illustrations of glasses, hats and jeans

Hold onto your tiny handbags, ‘Matrix’ sunglasses and everything with a butterfly monogrammed onto it, because the 2000s are back. Here are some easy ways to take your look on a trip back in time.

The world of fashion is both ever-changing and cyclical. New fashion trends are constantly in and out of circulation, and inspiration from previous eras are always returning to the limelight amid the fast-paced cycle of fashion trends. Fashion’s most recent blast from the past comes from the late ’90s and early 2000s — specifically, the Y2K era that celebrated the hope of a futuristic, promising new era.

What is Y2K fashion?

In 2000, the fashion oddly evoked the high-tech world of “The Matrix” and was further fueled by the growing excitement for the new millennium. While they might sound like odd sources of inspiration, they actually helped cultivate an era full of intricate black and white streetwear, metallic accents and some really cool sunglasses. The return of this particular era in fashion was especially noticeable in 2018 when long dark trench coats paired with “Matrix” sunglasses dominated Alexander Wang’s fall 2018 ready-to-wear collection and were sported by countless celebrities.

Though Y2K is meant to signify the year 2000, its definition has recently shifted to encompass the styles of the very late ‘90s and the first few years of the 2000s. Drawing inspiration from iconic films of the time, this era is marked by fun accessories and bright colors. This reemergence is taking over countless TikTok For You pages, and even making its mark in the world of high-end fashion, with brands such as Fendi, Ventements and Chanel reimagining the classics for recent runway collections. If you’re looking to take your style on a trip down memory lane, here are some easy ways to get started.

Straight Leg Denim

One of the easiest ways to step back into Y2K fashion is to step into a pair of straight leg jeans. It sounds simple, but the straight leg style does wonders for switching up the silhouette of an outfit. Straight leg jeans of all rises and cuts are making their return, which helps make this trend universally flattering.

Styling straight leg denim is super easy, which makes it one of the simplest Y2K fashion trends to make a staple in your wardrobe. Straight leg denim seamlessly pairs with most outfits but looks best when styled with more fitted tops and shoes that add height, such as chunky sneakers, boots or a pair of heeled black mules. Really want to elevate the look? Pair straight leg jeans with a ribbed cardigan and some elongated sunglasses for an effortlessly classic Y2K-inspired outfit.

Matching Loungewear Sets

A fun, and super comfortable, way to switch up your style is finding the perfect matching loungewear outfit. Inspired by the popular Juicy Couture velour sweatsuit fashion trend of the 2000s, matching loungewear sets are making their way back to the front of retail floors. With sets that include a variety of fabrics and colors, you really can’t go wrong with finding something that is both soft and stylish.

Despite their cozy, lazy-day appearance, matching loungewear sets are surprisingly easy to dress up. When styling a matching loungewear set into a chic outfit, look for materials or textures that create the illusion of put-togetherness. Look for ribbed material, cashmere or other smooth fabrics to create the basis for your outfit. When it comes to fit you should look for more fitted options to match well with a long coat or blazer thrown over. It is best to choose a set that has drawstring bottoms to help create a balanced, cinched silhouette to pull the outfit together. To dress it up, pair a neutral-toned loungewear set with a tan camel coat or oversized black blazer and off-white sneakers. Finish with light jewelry, and then you have the perfect comfortable, but chic, loungewear look.

Accessorize

A simple way to change up your style without breaking the bank is changing the way you accessorize. The majority of the accessory staples of Y2K fashion are relatively inexpensive and can easily be found in most clothing stores. Look out for anything from baguette bags, elongated sunglasses, bandanas to eccentric jewelry. Be on particular lookout for dainty, kitschy jewelry that makes for fun statement pieces. In the same vein, a good 2000s-inspired ensemble could always benefit from eye-catching hair accessories. All things rhinestone or silk or anything that is easily clipped in hair will be your friend when it comes to building your Y2K ensemble. One of the most appealing factors of the Y2K fashion trend is revisiting nostalgic favorites, so think back on what accessories from the 2000s make you want to revisit your MP3 player favorites and have fun.

Lilacs, Magentas and Pinks

Not looking to change up your clothing? Try switching up your color palettes. Early 2000s fashion was full of bright colors, and pops of lilac and pink were everywhere. The color palettes of iconic films such as “Clueless” and “Mean Girls” — and Paris Hilton’s unforgettable closet — are all huge inspirations for the presence of lilacs and pink in Y2K fashion.

While these colors may seem overwhelming to include as a main component of an outfit, they made for great accessory colors to elevate any look. All of these tones are great accents for a variety of denim washes and fabrics, which makes them super simple to dress up or wear casually. A great way to incorporate these colors is through jewelry accents or hair accessories. Keep an eye out for anything from pink hair clips, silk scrunchies and silver jewelry that has pink charms or pendants to complete your Y2K-inspired looks.

Y2K fashion trends are definitely some of the simplest, neat new ways to change up your wardrobe. From changing up your favorite pair of jeans, to embracing all things rhinestone, going back to your Y2K favorites makes for a sweet trip down fashion memory lane that will make you want to blast your signature Myspace profile music.

Revisiting old favorites evokes a sense of comfort and warm nostalgia, and what better way to express that than with your clothes? A huge part of what is revamping Y2K fashion trends is the fun of thinking back on the good, the bad and the ugly of our past fashion choices — and rediscovering old trends that may have gotten lost in the 20 years since the entrance into the new millennium.

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