Fashion is a constantly evolving industry that takes inspiration from past trends to create new styles. The 2000s was an era that gave rise to several distinctive fashion trends that have come back in recent years. From velour tracksuits to low-rise jeans, the fashion of the 2000s has been embraced by fashion enthusiasts around the world. This brief guide to 2000s fashion will explore some of the most popular trends of the era and how to incorporate them into your wardrobe today. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of nostalgia to your style or simply want to explore new fashion ideas, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to channel the iconic looks of the 2000s.
What ’00s look are you going for?
Many clothing trends in the 2000s were born out of globalization, the rise of fast fashion (affordable clothes based on runway designs usually found in department stores like Mervyn’s, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s), and celebrities’ growing influence as style icons.
As with all decades, looks and trends varied as the ’00s went on, so if you’re tasked with putting an outfit together, don’t assume your tracksuit straight from 2001 will work for every occasion. The 2000s were also home to trends that hit big and burnt out fast. If you’re going for a particular look, be sure that style is from the right period before heading to set.
Early 2000s fashion
Technology and Y2K had a significant impact on fashion in the early 2000s. The color palette was filled with shiny black tones and reflective metallics. While some Y2K trends were worn daily, many of these looks were reserved for going out. Famous outfits for women included mesh or handkerchief tops, box-pleated or leather skirts, shiny pants, and sparkly shoes. For men, Y2K looks usually involve leather jackets, a statement dress shirt, and chunky shoes. If you need inspiration, Britney Spears and *NSYNC were trendsetters for this type of style.
Casual clothing and leisurewear were the other big trends of the early 2000s. Denim became a staple for men and women, going beyond jeans to shirts, jackets, and hats. If you’re putting together a casual style for women, think crop tops, hoodies, low-rise flared jeans, cargo pants, daisy dukes, jean skirts, off-the-shoulder tops, ribbed sweaters, with platform sandals, Ugg boots, or sneakers. Common looks for men included distressed denim, cargo pants, tracksuits, rugby or polo shirts, flip flops, oxford shoes, and sneakers.
Mid 2000s fashion
As the decade passed, 2000s fashion began to take cues from 1960s bohemian looks. Yoga pants, low-rise jeans, cowl-neck shirts, peasant tops, capri pants, cropped jackets, and dresses over jeans were popular clothing choices for women. These were often paired with accessories like chunky belts, aviator sunglasses, jelly bracelets, ties worn around the neck or as belts, ballet flats, and platform boots.
The 1960s revival looks were also popular with men. Outfit options included light wash bootcut jeans, cargo shorts, classic rock t-shirts, fitted cowboy shirts, henleys, polos with popped collars, and seersucker suits.
The middle of the decade was also defined by the latest “it” items, like Von Dutch trucker hats, Juicy Couture tracksuits, and Louis Vuitton bags.
Late 2000s fashion
Many styles from the early and mid-2000s carried over to the latter part of the decade, with a few exceptions. For women, crop tops were replaced with camisoles, and miniskirts gave way to baby dolls, bubble skirts, and sweater dresses. There was also a 1980s and 1990s revival that reintroduced neon colors, animal prints, geometric shapes, light denim jeggings, and ripped acid-washed jeans worn with gladiator sandals, ballet flats, and headbands. An oversized look started to gain popularity, but it was subtler than the classic ’80s fit.
Men’s late 2000s fashion was a mix of 1950s and 1980s throwbacks, with letterman and black leather jackets, overcoats, slim-cut jeans, Ed Hardy t-shirts, flannel shirts, and V-neck sweaters. These were often paired with dad hats, wayfarers or aviators, motorcycle boots, Converse, Vans, or sneakers. The men’s power suit was also updated from the ’80s to have more a slim tailored cut.
Types of ’00s looks
Many rappers influenced fashion with their own clothing lines in the 2000s, including Jay-Z, Diddy, Nelly, and 50 Cent. Many looks included baggy jeans, tall t-shirts, sports jerseys, velour suits, bubble jackets, and puffer vests paired with headbands, sweatbands, Timberland boots, and sneakers like Adidas Superstars or Nike Air Force 1s.
Streetwear is often brand-focused casual clothing, like jeans, tees, and sneakers. In the late 2000s, popular streetwear styles included distressed skinny jeans, loose-fitting tops, loose or fitted tracksuits, track pants, hoodies, graphic t-shirts, vintage thrift shop tees, and Tommy Hilfiger and U.S. Polo Assn. Brands. Sneakers were an essential part of the look, especially retro Nike Air Jordan’s and Adidas Yeezys. Shoulder bags were also a popular accessory for men.
Emo fashion trickled into the mainstream in the mid-2000s and took cues from goth and punk styles. Outfits were often all or mostly black with skinny jeans, band t-shirts, studded belts, and checkered Vans. No emo outfit was complete without the right hairstyle, most common were choppy cuts with long side-swept bangs dyed black, platinum blonde, or a bright color.
Scene styles became popular at the end of the decade and were influenced by indie, rave, and punk fashion. This look often included skinny black biker jeans, bright t-shirts and hoodies, band shirts, tutus, and studded belts. Like with emo styles, hair was a big part of the look. A popular scene hairstyle was bright neon dyed hair teased and swept to the side and accessorized with tiaras and bows.
If you wanted to be comfortable yet fashionable in the early 2000s, all you had to do was throw on your favorite tracksuit. Everyone from Britney Spears to Beyoncé and Eminem to Diddy were in on the tracksuit craze. They were often brightly colored and emblazoned with rhinestone logos and phrases.
It was also popular to mix track pants with dress clothing and designer shoes to elevate the look.