It's a Y2K World, We're Just Living in It: 12 Trends That Defined the Iconic Era


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If you grew up in the 2000s, you'll probably be surprised to hear that the decade's fashion trends are once again popular. I was born in 1994, and if you ask me, the decade still feels like it happened just yesterday. I grew up watching Britney Spears music videos and vying to get my hands on basically everything Paris Hilton wore. For me, 2000s fashion trends are more nostalgic than those of the '80s or '90s.

Yes, I'm talking about the teeny-tiny handbags and even tinier strappy sandals that defined the decade's aesthetic. I won't lie, though. I'm thankful that not everything we wore in the 2000s is making it into the 2010s because, well, styles like ultra-low-rise jeans are best left in the past (in my opinion). But if you're as ready as we are to embrace the best of noughties fashion once again, see all the 2000s fashion trends that are still going strong ever since their initial resurgence. 


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WHO: Naomi Campbell and Iman, 2004

Whether logo-filled or embellished with buckles, baguette-shaped bags were considered the 2000s It trend to own. It was during this era when the Dior Saddle, Louis Vuitton Pochette, and Fendi Zucca bags all featured prominently on the arms of the A-list set.


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WHO: Rihanna, 2005

Now, would it even be an early aughts story without a mention of low rises? They were as iconic a silhouette during the decade then as they are now, and it was all about pairing them with a crop top for an exposed midriff moment. Daring? Yes. Nostalgic? Absolutely.


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WHO: Nicole Richie, 2006

Shield sunglasses are the accessory trend that's still popping up everywhere from Miu Miu to Le Specs. The good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune to nail this noughties trend.


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WHO: Paris Hilton, 2003

Everything about 2000s fashion was defined by a more is more mentality: more embellishments, more layering, and showing more skin. Skirts were hemmed high to show off as much leg as possible, while waistlines were slung ultra-low to maximize an exposed midriff which brings us to the epitome of early 2000s silhouettes: the micro mini skirt. 


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WHO: Jessica Alba, 2003

Ready or not, this divisive outfit trend is bubbling back up again—except that 2023's versions are much more refined and forward.


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WHO: Sarah Jessica-Parker, 2001

Soft ruffles are still having a major moment today, and we're thanking icons like Carrie Bradshaw who made the asymmetric silhouette look so good.


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WHO: Destiny's Child, 2000

One thing we'll always remember this decade for was how committed everyone was to achieving a standout look. No embellishments were spared when getting dressed, and that means we saw all manner of glitz and glam throughout the decade's most memorable ensembles, but especially the popularity of crystal dressing. Whether it was a crystal mesh dress à la Paris Hilton at her 21st birthday or the coordinating crystal bra tops Destiny's Child donned at the 2000 Hip-Hop Music Awards, more is more when it came to this shimmery trend.


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WHO: Britney Spears, 2002

Love them or hate them today, there's no denying that bootcut jeans were the ultimate denim trend of the 2000s with their slim fits and flared-ankle shape.


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WHO: Mariah Carey, 2000

If you grew up in the early 2000s, you know all about the "going out top" (looking at you, Millennials). They were an entire category of our closets back then, defined by statement colors, asymmetric necklines, cropped hems, and pretty embellishments. Mariah Carey's sequin butterfly top is the blueprint here. Essentially, the going-out top was the only thing you needed to own to make an outfit look good—pair one with jeans and you're good to go.


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WHO: Christina Aguilera, 2000

Say what you will, but the 2000s were nothing if not one big experiment in taking fashion risks. And boy did celebs embrace a risqué look. When Christina Aguilera showed up to the MTV VMAs in 2000 in a G-string skirt, it sparked an entire movement of purposefully showing off your thong straps via hip cutouts or built-in straps.


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WHO: Meagan Good, 2003

Trucker hats are continuing to be relevant, but the Von Dutch styles will always be reminiscent of the era. Everyone and their mother sported the iconic brand.


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WHO: Kate Moss, 2005

Skinny scarves were a micro-trend that fashion people adored adding to their outfits throughout the Y2K era and now, people are yet again draping themselves in this trend. Buy into it before it sells out.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.