Over the past few years, we've spotted a flurry of '00s fashion trends making a return. Sure, some are a little scary (hello, trucker hats, velour tracksuits and low-slung denim), but other comebacks feel so right. It will take a lot to persuade us to dig out our tattoo chokers, but we've noticed stylish people dusting off their handkerchief tops and diving into the revival headfirst.
Perhaps thanks in part to Gen Z discovering some of the trends we wore the first time round, this era is big right now. According to Lyst, the global shopping platform, "nostalgia for the 2000s has got fashion lovers searching. Looking at the past month searches for "Y2K” and 2000s inspired fashion pieces have increased by 80% year-on-year".
The good news is that you don't have to look hard to find the 2021 updates of the originals. Some of the biggest designers right now are creating collections full of '00s-inspired looks and signature designs from the decade. You might even forget many of these pieces were huge in the noughties—cowboy boots, for example. Keep scrolling to see these '00s trends then and how we'll be shopping them now and well into 2021.
Then: In 2004, we all wanted a pair of distressed, embroidered cowboy boots, thanks to Sienna Miller, who was often photographed in Primrose Hill wearing her studded versions. They weren't just her walking boots either—here, she wore them to the premiere of Layer Cake.
Now: We weren't so sure about the return of cowboy boots initially, but now they've once again become the leading boot trend. Bottega Veneta's slick patent versions are right at the top of our wishlists.
Micro Designer Bags
Then: We reached peak It bag in the '00s, and before the Olsen twins began carrying tote bags bigger than their heads, it was all about micro logo-flashing bags. Mini over-the-shoulder rainbow-coloured logo-print bags by Louis Vuitton were particularly sought after; remember when Lindsay Lohan wore one with her aqua Juicy Couture hoodie in Mean Girls?
Now: Micro bags small enough to fit an iPhone or credit card in are still going strong thanks to the likes of literally every designer bag going. A special mention has to go to Jacquemus, however, whose tiny totes are lusted after by everyone.
Then: In the '00s, preppy, zip-up knits without hoods were an essential item if you were looking to re-create the cool Californian style in the cult TV show The O.C.
Now: Sporty tops like Mischa's have now become a street style essential.
Floral Tea Dresses
Then: Another Kate Moss staple in the '00s was the floral tea dress, which was a focal point of her Topshop collaboration.
Now: Since around 2017, the floral dress has been big news. Opt for one by Rixo for the most modern versions.
Then: In the mid-noughties, if you were going out, you'ld wear your favourite top with a pair of low-cut trousers and strappy heels.
Now: While we're not going out (and probably not anytime soon) we still love the idea of wearing a chic but fun top with our favourite pair of high-waisted jeans.
Then: While bubble skirts certainly reference the '80s, they were the height of fashion in the early '00s. Marissa Cooper wore a satin purple Marc Jacobs bubble-skirt dress in The O.C. Other iterations of the mini were every where too, with ra ra skirts also being a favourite.
Now: All was quiet on the mini skirt front for some time but in 2020 (and we say 2021) the garment has made a full comeback. For the coolest version, try a bold printed skirt.
Then: The likes of Naomi Campbell, Britney Spears and Carmen Electra often wore rose-coloured sunglasses. Whether they were oversized à la Naomi or frameless, these coloured lenses were super popular.
Now: The young Hollywood set—including Bella and Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner—has now adopted tiny pink sunglasses as part of their uniform. The key is to opt for round styles with defined frames.
Style Notes: Largely thanks to Kate Moss, many of us spend most of the '00s in a pair of black ballet flats. They were an essential part of Kate's Primrose Hill uniform in 2005, and brands like French Sole and Repetto skyrocketed in this decade.
Now: Ballet pumps have made a comeback, and we're not mad about it. Try yours with a tiny heel to give your feet as much support as possible.
Then: Paris Hilton's The Simple Life uniform—the velour Juicy tracksuit—might seem like the last thing that would make a return to our wish lists. But Vetements gave it full backing by showing a crystal-encrusted velour Juicy jumpsuit during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, and model Hanne Gaby wore them with her bridesmaids at her hen do.
Now: The athleisure trend definitely goes some way to explaining our new found love of the tracksuit but in COVID times we've also been drawn towards more comfortable outfits.
Then: Back in the day, leather blazers were it, such as this one seen on Lucy Liu Then along came the 2010s and we fell out of love with this leather jacket style, and favoured the classic moto look. Well, it's back and we couldn't be happier about it.
Now: Both nostalgic and still modern. A perfect item of clothing, quite frankly.
Then: Paris Hilton's crystal-embellished minidress she wore to her 21st birthday party in 2004 is a quintessential '00s look, with its cowl neckline, spaghetti halter-neck straps and completely open back. She topped off the look with sticky gloss and a diamanté choker, of course.
Now: For Kendall Jenner's 21st birthday she copied Paris Hilton's '00s birthday look, wearing a replica of her chainmail dress to her own L.A. party. Now, we're still seeing sequin dresses everywhere.
Then: When Sienna Miller was photographed at Glastonbury in 2004 in a pair of Uggs with the tops rolled over, we all wanted a pair (along with her neon-green sunnies). Ugg boots were one of the standout items of the '00s, worn by everyone from Kate Moss to Britney Spears.
Now: Uggs were deemed "over" by the late '00s, but they've been returning over the past few years thanks to the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Opt for a classic pair so you know they won't go out of style.
Then: While we'll be avoiding the tattoo choker (even though Gabrielle Union looks amazing in this grown up version), there's something about this necklace that we love.
Now: Bright, colourful but still a choker, this is 2021's joyful update.
Then: Always at the forefront of trends, SJP's real-life wardrobe has never been far removed from Carrie Bradshaw's.
Now: We'd 100% wear that lilac slip dress but a we've spotted so many brands producing gorgeous knits in this hue that we can't get enough of.
Then: Beyoncé loved to wear her handkerchief top with low-slung jeans.
Now: To be honest, there's little different between then and now in design. But in 2021, we'd say wear with higher-waisted jeans.
Then: Pretty much every pop star in the '00s wore some version of this body jewellery.
Next up, the biggest spring/summer 2021 fashion trends you need to know.
This piece was published at an earlier date and has been updated.
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