The Re-emergence of Y2K Fashion

The Re-emergence of Y2K Fashion

Written by Nandini Sethi


All the millennials who thought the worst of monochrome sets, flared pants, butterfly motifs and tube tops were over- well, it’s back to haunt you again. It was inevitable, we saw the rise of 70’s and even 80’s fashion, but the idea of wearing miniskirts with Uggs and colorful pants under dresses is enough to induce nightmares for some. But, it doesn’t what you think, this tech-inspired, futuristic era of fashion has made a comeback, and is here to stay. 

But first, what is Y2K? 

Y2K is basically the aesthetic in pop culture inspired from the late 90’s to early 2000’s fashion that highlights futuristic elements with a slight retro edge. Some popular examples of Y2K include Bratz Dolls, Britney Spears, and films like Mean Girls and The Matrix.

Why is it back now?  

Gen Z is obsessed. While the millennials lived through this era, 90’s fashion is a somewhat fantasy-driven, far-off aesthetic, which thanks to social media has been able to make a comeback. 

Designers are known to add elements of nostalgia to their collection, Gucci, Marine Serre, are among some of them who have used fashion as an outlet to go ‘back to the future’. In a similar way, Gen Z is making efforts to go back in time and are using portals like Instagram to popularize the trend. 

Artists on social media with a large fan following have been seen wearing clothes and accessories that represent Y2K at its peak: Dua Lipa, Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid have been known for adding a fresh spin on nostalgic pieces like butterfly clips, chunky shoes, shiny jackets and so on. 

What are some the Y2K trends? 

  • Baby Tees- cropped tops have become immensely famous now, especially styled with low rise or bell bottom jeans, along with a waist chain. These baby tees usually are cropped above the belly button and have some sort of quirky, fun slogan or quote on it
  • Double Denim- something we couldn’t ever imagine wearing literally as recent as 5 years ago. Wearing double denim with a funky pair of sunglasses or a vibrant set of heels has become quite the norm today
  • Track Sets- It doesn’t get more comfortable than this! Matching loungewear has become the new trend, and there’s no hiding the fact that the inspiration comes from none other than the bedazzled Juice Coutures’ we all had our eyes on back in the day
  • Baguette Bags- nothing says Y2K more than a baguette bag. First, we saw popstars and supermodels rocking these, and now almost all fashion brands- from Louis Vuitton to H&M have a wide variety of shoulder bags you can pick from 

Is Y2K only about fashion?

No. In fact, Y2K aesthetic is seen across music, design, furniture, makeup, and art. 

Used heavily in graphic design, chrome, orange, blue, glossy white colour gradients are used in both 3D and 2D art along with heavy use of iconography.

Y2K era saw a rise in electronic music, and advancements in the gaming world too. The 6th generation of consoles (PlayStation 2, Xbox, etc) too contained elements of Y2K. 

Even architecture, a post-modern style known as ‘blobism’ has been inspired by this aesthetic. These consisted of curved or rounded buildings that had a futuristic look. Clearly, Y2K defined an entire era, across communities and genres. 

What is the future of Y2K? 

While the idea of translucent, colourful iMacs like the ones in the early 2000’s and glittery, chunky heels like Carrie Bradshaw’s seems exciting right now, this trend, like every other on the internet, will see its downfall. 

It was beginning in 2004 the Y2K era began to lose its charms: events such as 9/11, anthrax scares, and the Iraq War dampened the spirits of an optimistic new millennium. But, that was then; who knows what it will be this time?


Nandini Sethi
Nandini Sethi

Sometimes dolefully insightful, sometimes plain distressed state of mind, but always love. I think there’s a bit of love in everything we write. 

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