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The Y2K aesthetic started seeing a resurgence in 2020 — a time when we all needed a little optimism in the form of a playful, quirky outfit. It started with sparkly pink bags, fuzzy bucket hats, and butterfly clips popping up on our Instagram feeds. Now, two years in, we’ve learned how to style these trends like pros all over again.
If you’re curious about Y2K fashion and want to know where the aesthetic comes from, think about the most iconic films, TV series, and music videos of the early ’00s. Films like “Mean Girls,” shows like “The Simple Life,” and music videos like “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child and “Lucky” by Britney Spears introduced the essentials of Y2K fashion: crop tops, cardigans, camisoles, low-rise pants, and tennis skirts. Other hallmarks of the era included logomania, scrunchies, bandanas, and butterfly prints — style stars like Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo, Rihanna, Justine Skye, and Lourdes Leon have all worked these references into their wardrobes. It’s worth noting that it was in the 2000s that fast fashion really began taking off. With the advent of e-commerce sites and online shopping at the turn of the millennium, people started to have way too much stuff. So, today’s Y2K comeback isn’t only about celebrating nostalgia — it’s also about using sites like Depop, eBay, The RealReal, and Vestiaire Collective to repurpose the mounds of clothes from the early aughts into more sustainable outfits. Ahead, we break down how to wear the Y2K fashion trends you’re seeing everywhere — color palettes, apparel, accessories, and more — giving you plenty of shopping inspiration along the way.
— Additional reporting by Kara Kia