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16 Y2K Fashion Comebacks That Will Make You Feel Like It's the Early '00s

Low-rise jeans, tracksuits, and butterfly clips—oh my!

Nothing is lost forever, especially when it comes to fashion. Throughout the decades, once-popular trends have come back around to become the style of a new generation—and right now, Gen Z is leading the revival of Y2K fashion. It might seem much too soon for those of us who lived it, but it's been 20 years since many of the early aughts trends were first turning heads. In other words, it's actually the perfect time for a comeback. Read on to find out how different Y2K styles are becoming all the rage again.

RELATED: 6 Retro Fashion Trends Everyone's Wearing Now, Stylists Say.

Y2K Fashion History

The Y2K aesthetic encompasses the fashion trend that emerged in the late '90s and into the early 2000s. Think Paris Hilton's velour tracksuits, Christina Aguilera's low-rise jeans, or Sarah Jessica Parker's iconic use of the Fendi Baguette bag in her role as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City.

"An era when sitcom Friends reigned supreme, the Y2K era was all about having a playful style that didn't take itself too seriously," Elizabeth Kosich, fashion stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, tells Best Life.

Why Are Y2K Fashion Trends Making a Comeback?

At a time when everything feels so serious, some experts believe that bringing back the playful trends of the late '90s and early aughts may be exactly what people need to let loose.

"Ultimately, I think the Y2K aesthetic endures because it was playful, carefree, and unapologetic about flaunting emerging styles," Josh Neuman, fashion expert and founder of Chummy Tees, says. "With so much going on today, escaping into that nostalgic world feels comforting and inspiring. Fashion is all about having fun, so it's great to see these trends bring smiles as they circle back in style."

Search interest related to Y2K fashion has skyrocketed since 2021, according to Google Trends data. But the resurgence has also been pushed by the power of TikTok, where videos of teens wearing outfits you would have seen in the early 2000s have garnered over 143 million views.

"Brands like Diesel, Juicy Couture, Ed Hardy, and True Religion were some of the most seen brands of the early 2000s and are now in demand, selling as 'vintage,' alongside pre-owned designer accessories like Gucci and Alexander McQueen bags, belts, loafers, and square-toed boots," award-winning fashion stylist Tara West explains.

RELATED: 6 Classic Clothing Items That Never Go Out of Style, Fashion Experts Say.

8 Y2K Styles That Are Totally In

As younger folks clamor to capture the retro look of the early aughts, there are certain pieces they're pulling out of our closets From the velour tracksuits to the low-rise jeans, here are eight Y2K styles that are totally back in trend again.

1. Lace-Up Tops

Beautiful young woman in jeans clothes.

Strings were quite the statement back in the day. From Britney Spears to the members of Destiny's Child, every pop star in the Y2K era was caught sporting a lace-up top at one point or another. But this style is now showing back up in looks from designers like Jean Paul Gaultier.

"I love the revival of lace-up tops," Neuman says. "You can create interesting silhouettes."

2. Cargo Pants

Beautiful Woman Wearing Fashionable Spring, Fall Clothes (beige trench coat, oversize khaki cargo pants, accessorie) Outdoors. Female stylish Model walking city Street. Autumn trend, fashion outfit

You can't talk about Y2K fashion without bringing up cargo pants either. This piece of clothing that was once synonymous with Jennifer Lopez's early music career is now being seen on today's "It Girls," like Kim Kardashian and Hailey Bieber.

"Cargo pants are proving to have nine lives," Kosich confirms. "Dominating the runways for a few seasons now, they're hanging on for yet another. Anything from quiet luxury silk cargos to hip-hop-inspired ginormous cuts are still on-trend, so anything goes with this look."

If you want to be most on-trend right now, the fashion stylist recommends grabbing a distressed version of cargo pants with a loose cut this season.

3. Low-Rise Jeans

Close up of young woman wearing lace-up low rise denim blue jeans

The other iconic type of pants seen in the Y2K days? Low-rise jeans. In fact, Neuman say low-rise flared jeans appear to be the "biggest comeback" in recent years.

"I'm seeing more colorful, bootcut, even bell-bottom styles lining the shelves that evoke memories of Britney and Christina," he shares. "As the '90s minimalism fades, baggier silhouettes feel fresh again."

RELATED: 10 Best Places to Buy Jeans for Women, Stylists Say.

4. Graphic Tees

vintage gildan motorhead lemmy tshirt from the 1990s. Adult Large Mens Black 90s Tour Rock Tee Graphic. rock and roll merchandise

Of course, you can't have low-rise jeans without a comeback of cropped Y2k graphic tees. Gareth Newman, founder and CEO of Blakely Clothing, says his brand's Blakely Everyday Cropped Tee has recently become a bestseller online due to its "simple graphic design and cropped silhouette" that is reminiscent of what was worn in the early '00s.

Neuman is seeing the same, noting that "cropped, fitted tees with whimsical graphics are a huge hit" right now on his online custom t-shirt store Chummy Tees.

5. Bedazzled Baby Tees

Taylor Dayne at Christian Audigier Fashion Show featuring new Ed Hardy label held in Hollywood, USA on May 21, 2005.

But if you were a true Y2K fashion icon, you knew that you could take your cropped tee to the next level with a little bit of sparkle. This meant that your closet was likely full of Ed Hardy shirts, which are now a hot thrift item for today's teens.

"Stock up on crop tops with fitted silhouettes and go bold with metallic, studded or rhinestone embellishments for an extra splash," Kosich recommends.

6. Polo Shirts

colorful polo shirts stacked up

Fans of The O.C. will remember how Mischa Barton made polo shirts look like the perfect top for any outfit. But if you missed your chance to get your hands on a Ralph Lauren or Lacoste polo back in the day, it's not too late to do it now, as these shirts have come back in style along with other Y2K trends.

7. Mini Skirts

Close up of a woman fit hips in jeans mini skirt. Studio shot

All you need to do is watch Mean Girls to know that mini skirts were all the rage in Y2K fashion. But a quick scroll on TikTok or a look at Olivia Rodrigo's Instagram page will tell you that shorter hemlines are still so fetch when it comes to skirts.

8. Velour Tracksuits

girl wearing blue velour tracksuit

As a staple of the early 2000s, velour tracksuits have started to trend so much that they've boosted Juicy Couture's business. Resale site Poshmark saw a 117 percent increase in Juicy Couture sales in March 2021 compared to the year prior, while sales of new Juicy Couture also jumped up by 137 percent from January to May 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported.

8 Y2K Accessories That Are Totally In

While the sight of baby tees and velour tracksuits will bring anyone straight back to the late '90s and early '00s, it's not just the clothes themselves that made Y2K fashion what it was. How you accessorized back in the day also made a huge difference. With that in mind, here are eight Y2K accessories that are totally back in style now.

RELATED: 5 Chic Accessories If You're Over 60.

1. Knee-High Boots

Paris, France - March 04, 2019: Street style outfit - Jaime Xie after a fashion show during Paris Fashion Week - PFWFW19

No red carpet back in the 2000s was complete without someone showing up in knee-high boots. Everyone from Mariah Carey to Shakira was guilty of wearing this popular Y2K style—and you got bonus points if your pants were tucked into the boots.

But with the help of today's pop stars like Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift, this type of footwear is gracing the streets once more.

2. Platform Heels

Street style, woman wearing a beige and brown accordion halter-neck short dress, brown shiny leather handbag, white varnished leather platform sole high heels shoes.

Knee-high boots aren't the only popular footwear from that era making a comeback.

"The resurgence of platform heels has also been fascinating to see," Neuman says.

Kosich can't help but agree—adding that nowadays, the chunkier the platform heel, the better.

"Think platformed round-toe booties, pointy-toe stilettos, strappy wedges or summer slides, each style elevating you an extra 2 to 3 inches," she says. "To really rock the trend, look for color-blocked styles in vibrant hues or shiny, glittery metallics."

RELATED: The 5 Best Pairs of Heels to Wear With Jeans, According to Stylists.

3. Trucker Hats

Hino, Tokyo, Japan - July 11th, 2023: A young man looks at the camera wearing a trucker cap.

This wouldn't be a real Y2K trend round-up if we didn't mention the famous (or infamous) Von Dutch Trucker Hats. These hats graced the heads of every star at the time, from Jay-Z to Gwen Stefani.

But as with many other iconic pieces from the late '90s and early '00s, trucker hats started making a comeback in 2021—18 years after The New York Times finally deemed them "uncool" in 2003.

4. Bucket Hats

Woman, wearing white t-shirt, black shorts, fanny pack or waist pack and bucket hat, standing outdoor near white wall. Details of stylish trendy basic minimalistic casual outfit. Street fashion.

Bucket hats were also a big part of the Y2K aesthetic. Designers such as Gucci, Dior, and Burberry plastered their logos all over these caps. But now that bucket hats are back in style, these brands have brought more subtle designs to their pieces.

5. Sunglasses With Colored Lenses

Fashionable confident woman wearing trendy outfit with yellow sunglasses, beret, shoulder bag, pink fuchsia color blazer, posing near green door. Copy, empty space for text

Justin Timberlake was one of the poster boys for sunglasses with colored lenses back at the turn of the millennium. But these days, celebrities like Robert Downey Jr. and Vanessa Hudgens are using the same glasses to complete their looks, as the accessory finds its way back in fashion.

6. Butterfly Clips

colorful butterfly shaped hair clips

If you were a cool kid in the Y2K era, you had to wear butterfly clips. Stars like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Melissa Joan Hart were always seen with this accessory in their hair. Get ready for more of the same soon, as many younger TikTok influencers have been seen sporting butterfly clips recently.

7. Baguette Bags

Fashionable young woman with stylish bag on city street

Perhaps one of the most unexpected Y2K accessories comebacks is the baguette bag. For a while, we had swung far in the opposite direction and become obsessed with having bigger purses. But now, if you look at A-listers like Margot Robbie and Kendall Jenner, you can see that this kind of smaller shoulder bag is so back in.

8. Chain Necklaces

Beautiful model brunette in modern silver metal necklace, many chains

Chunky chain necklaces were also a must to complete any Y2K look—with probably none more famous than the staple Tiffany & Co. heart-shaped necklace. And in a true Renaissance, Beyoncé actually teamed up with the designer jewelry company last summer to bring this Y2K accessory back to the forefront.

RELATED: 8 Must-Have Hair Accessories If You're Over 60, Stylists Say.

Wrapping Up

Feeling ready to pull some of your old fits out of storage, or resigned to the reality that you will never keep up with trends? Thankfully, you can take comfort in knowing that the clothing you wore 20 years ago is hotter than ever—even if you choose to keep it packed away. That's it for our guide to the Y2K fashion comebacks that will make you feel like it's the early '00s again, but be sure to check back with us soon for more style stories.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more