What were you doing in 2006? Perhaps you were lining up to see The Devil Wears Prada in theaters (guilty), yelling at your TV screen about the Lauren and Heidi drama on The Hills (also guilty), or wishing you saw Madonna at Coachella (you know what I'm going to say). Well, if you're a longtime Who What Wear fan, you might have been opening one of our site's very first email newsletters because October 2006 is when Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr founded the company. At the time, Who What Wear produced exactly one story per day, and now we've increased that number tenfold.
To honor Who What Wear's 13th anniversary, we decided to take a little walk down memory lane and revisit some of the celebrities we used to cover back in 2006. As it turns out, there are plenty of fashion lessons that still ring true today, courtesy of Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Rachel Bilson, Jessica Alba, and more. Scroll down for style tips we're still backing 13 years later.
1. Birkins Are Forever
Victoria Beckham may not dress like this anymore, but no one can argue the perennial appeal of an Hermès Birkin bag. As we recently reported, a Birkin currently retains 93% of its value on the resale market, making it one of the smartest investments out there. Plus, the likes of Jennifer Lopez are still carrying the flag for Birkins in 2019.
2. Short Skirts and Tall Boots Always Work
Not every outfit from 2006 is easily translatable to the present day, but this Kate Moss look certainly is. In fact, Kaia Gerber just this month wore an extremely similar short dress–and–tall boots combo, and it's just as cool now as it was 13 years ago.
3. Don't Be Afraid to Be Matchy-Matchy
This Beyoncé outfit is a masterclass in how to do matchy-matchy the right way. She coordinated her top, skirt, headband, and bag to great effect. Thirteen years later, Kate Middleton is a particularly big fan of wearing accessories in coordinating colors and experimenting with tonal outfits.
4. Balenciaga Is the King of Cult Accessories
I wouldn't dare write a story about 2006 style without mentioning the infamous Balenciaga Motorcycle bag, which graced the arms of Nicole Riche, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Gisele Bündchen, Jennifer Lopez, Paris and Nicky Hilton, and many others. These days, you're more likely to see Balenciaga's knife heels or chunky sneakers in paparazzi photos, but there's no denying the brand's ability to design a coveted accessory.
5. When in Doubt, Go Monochrome
6. Don't Be Afraid of Neon
Rihanna released her debut album only one year before Who What Wear was founded. Is that hard to believe or what? The promotional tour for her second album, A Girl Like Me, included stellar outfits like this little hot pink number.
7. It Never Hurts to Coordinate Outfits With Your Friends
No, you don't need to (nor should you) go buy matching metallic Louis Vuitton bags, but where's the harm in coordinating outfits with your friends? The street style set does it all the time, but it doesn't mean you have to wear the exact same items. Simply choose the same colors or similar silhouettes and you're golden.
8. Wide-Leg Jeans Work in Any Decade
While skinny jeans reigned supreme in 2006—and arguably still today—wide-leg jeans feel more grown-up and are easier to dress up for work. When we launched Who What Wear, Mischa Barton was one of the hottest commodities because of The O.C., so we simply had to include her—Blackberry and all.
9. With Jewelry, Sometimes Less is More
The reason this Kelly Kapoor—er, Mindy Kaling—outfit still looks impeccable 13 years later? She kept her look minimal and sleek, forgoing a statement necklace and letting her beautiful plunging dress do all the talking. Long live The Office.
10. Nobody Does Interesting Accessories Like Ashley Olsen
Leave it to Ashley Olsen to make a button-down shirt and skinny jeans look so cool with the addition of a corset-like top. Her aviators and the croc-print bag would also look right at home in 2020.
11. Jeans and Boots Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly
Good luck finding a more timeless combo than jeans and boots. In 2006, Halle Berry pulled off a casual red carpet look in long jeans that scrunched over her pointy-toe boots—a styling tricks celebs are still trying to this day.
12. Everyone Should Own a White Button-Down
You might associate white button-downs with boring 9-to-5 jobs, but America Ferrera (and present-day Meghan Markle) prove that it's more than red carpet–worthy. Just like Markle styled it 13 years later, Ferrera wore the shirt with a high-waisted black skirt and all-black accessories. Timeless, indeed.
13. A Black Turtleneck Is the Ultimate Layering Piece
Right up there with white T-shirts and plaid blazers, black turtlenecks are the definition of a wardrobe staple. The 2006 way to wear it was with a bubble dress à la Rachel Bilson, but the possibilities are endless. For present-day inspo, look no further than Selena Gomez and Kendall Jenner.