Y2K outfits feature heavily in some of our favourite films, television series, and music videos of the late ’90s and early ’00s. Films like Clueless and Mean Girls, shows like The Simple Life, and music videos like “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child and “Lucky” by Britney Spears introduced us to the Y2K aesthetic. Key features of the trend are crop tops, cardigans, and camisoles, paired with minibags, bandanas, tennis skirts, and scrunchies, in either pink, purple, light blue, or logomania and butterfly prints.
Across all the mentioned pop culture references is a lifestyle that boasts fabulosity and excess. That’s because the year 2000 was also when fast fashion as we know it was born. The high street and online shopping took off at the turn of the millennium, which resulted in many of us having way too much stuff. The Y2K comeback in 2020 is not only about the final era of vintage nostalgia, but it’s about using sites like Depop, eBay, and Vestiaire Collective to repurpose the mounds of clothes from the early aughts into fresh, sustainable outfits. The Y2K aesthetic is actually a smart and stylish way to fix the industry’s fast fashion problem and could be a turning point in how we construct our visual identities.
Ahead, we break down the 10 key features of the Y2K aesthetic — from colour palettes, to clothing, accessories, resources, and beauty looks — and how to rock this trend with confidence.
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