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Love it or hate it, early 2000s fashion trends are coming “back again” faster than Eminem’s “Without You” climbed the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 2002. Millennials will fondly remember a questionable albeit fun decade for clothes — an era of style that teetered between Vogue-worthy trends and full-fledged costumes.
If you thought tattoo choker necklaces and your blue eye shadow palette were a thing of the past, you’re in for a rude awakening. Like everything else, what once was old becomes new again. Here are 10 early 2000s fashion fads you might notice are trending in 2023.
1. Cut-Out Tops
The resurgence of cut-out tops is a cross between sexiness and experimental attire — while also highlighting the ongoing issue of body awareness in the fashion industry.
Cut-out tops have literal cut-outs in the collarbone, sternum, back, waist or lower stomach. Recently, cut-out gowns and party dresses have adorned red carpets and department stores.
Although many have embraced cut-out tops, others worry that the Y2K obsession may again lead to an unattainable beauty standard. Cut-out tops aren’t made for everybody — or every body.
2. Graphic Tees
It’s time to pull those graphic tees out from the back of your wardrobe. In the last couple of years, graphic tees have appeared in runway shows, celebrity appearances and street styles to express one’s tastes and personality.
From Stranger Things to national parks, a graphic tee is a fun, casual, playful look for any day of the week. If you really want to cause a stir among fellow millennials and retro-loving Gen Z, pay homage to The Simple Life with your favorite “That’s Hot” slogan tee or MTV logo shirt.
3. Trucker Hats
Trucker hats may have been one 2000s fashion trend you’d hoped to sweep under the rug. For one reason or another, they’re more popular than ever before.
Trucker hats have a tall foam front, usually with some visual or writing. Gen Z has taken a particular liking to trucker hats, leading to increased demand. Online searches for trucker hats have increased by 28% — especially in orange, black and yellow.
When styled correctly, you can pair a trucker hat with a feminine outfit to create a more laid-back look.
4. Platform Shoes
Those who struggle to reach the top shelf in their closet will rejoice — platform shoes are a thing again. Our post-pandemic lives were nearly begging for the resurgence of platform shoes — not quite willing to stay in our loungewear but also out of practice when walking in stilettos.
Although our feet welcomed flatter shoes as the 2000s progressed, you will see more chunky, colorful everyday shoes in the store. From Steve Madden to Valentino, platform shoes have rapidly returned in colorful, chic designs.
5. Mini Skirts
In 2000s fashion, the micro skirt was everywhere — the shorter the hemline before you flashed your assets, the better. While some would have preferred to leave those days behind, the mini skirts are back in style.
Today, you may opt for something with a longer hem by at least a few inches, such as the length of a tennis skirt. This way, you can enjoy the trend but stay classy.
Vests have undergone a style evolution since the beginning of time. As they’ve begun making yet another comeback thanks to Kendall Jenner and the Hadid sisters, there’s a trick to styling them just right.
For one thing, you’ll want to pick a shorter vest you can close in the front. A small embellishment also looks good, like a small zipper pocket. You have several options for vests — such as a sweater vest, minimal vest or satin vest, among others.
Whatever vest you choose, go one size up to fit your regular clothes comfortably underneath.
7. Cargo Pants
Back in the day — a mere 20 years ago — you could store everything in your cargo pants — snacks, keys, your Nokia mobile phone and wallet. Today, they’re back, which should appease Gen Z.
Since 2021, Gen Z has tried “canceling” the beloved skinny jean — a timeless trend that looks good on everyone, regardless of size or fashion tastes. Despite Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh saying skinny jeans will never go away, even he can’t deny that wide-leg styles are back in.
8. Corset Tops
With shows like Euphoria and Bridgerton taking streaming services by storm, the corset has made an unsurprising return.
However, today’s corset tops are slightly more stylish, with bright colors, edgy patterns and embellishments. You could pair a corset with a mini skirt, wide-legged trousers or jeans layered with a tailored blazer — a cross between classy adult and high school party queen.
9. Low-Rise Jeans
Few people rocked low-rise jeans as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Christina Aguilera did in the 90s and 2000s. Get ready, though, because the low risers have again found their way to street fashion.
Fortunately, today’s low-rise jeans aren’t the pelvic-bone-peek-a-boo pants we remember — perhaps not so fondly. Today’s are more like low-to-mid-rise jeans falling just below the belly button. After years of the high-rise trend, today’s low-rise version is a welcome style evolution.
10. Choker Necklaces
Millennials will remember the plastic “tattoo” choker necklaces of the 90s and 2000s fashion. Today, choker necklaces are all the rage but with a better style.
From Chanel’s feminine bow choker to Urban Outfitters’ edgy metal spike choker, there’s something to match every fashion sense. Rock a glitzy choker to the nightclub with your girlfriends, or opt for a minimalist chain choker for everyday streetwear.
Whether or not the choker necklace sticks around, today’s version is something we can all enjoy.
2000s Fashion Never Really Goes Away
Clothes and accessories of the 2000s were fun and playful at best but most definitely weird. Although most Y2K trends should stay in the past, the styles making a comeback today have transformed in new and exciting ways. You may not be thrilled about the return of cargo pants or cut-out tops — but face it, you’ve been waiting a long time to rock your platform shoes and vests again.
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