The Comeback of Early 2000s Fashion

Jun 12, 2023 ByClaire Miles

The early 2000s were a new era, the dawn of a new century after two world wars, impressive and accelerated technological advancements, nuclear weapons, the Cold War and the disintegration of USSR, the Space Race, the rise and the break up of revolutionary musical bands like The Beatles and Queen, and decolonization of major parts of the world which altered the map of the world. It was a cause for hope and celebration, and just like the 20th century, each decade in the 21st century is also marked by its own fashion and trends. Glancing at our past selves now, many of us may flinch and cringe at our fashion choices, but those bold colors, heavy makeup, and dresses over flared jeans were the trademarks of the early 2000s.

The fashion of the early 2000s was influenced both by social and economic conditions alongside strings of the past, especially the 90s. A new century brought about a new mindset as many attempted to discard the ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ look of the early to mid 90s, and accepted a wide range of body types and cultures, mainly driven by globalization. Through globalization, Britney Spears’ fashion choices took the stage in Africa while Asian and Middle Eastern styles became prominent in Europe and North America. The early 2000s fashion was colorful, bold, accepting, and revolutionary, signifying the dawn of a new century.

Vintage 1990s teen wearing Y2K fashion, 2000s style, inside teenage bedroom. Young woman talking on phone, using a cordless telephone, sitting on an inflatable chair. Teenage girl with cool attitude wearing flared jeans, denim. Real life, real people candid vintage family photo with retro style.

Getty Images/Moment/Jena Ardell

After the 2008 recession, jeans became commonplace and acceptable in every situation, from the office to the red carpet. A sense of bonding and unity emerged as people from all walks of life were dressing the same. The ‘distressed denim’ look became fashionable and jeans became more embellished, flared, and lower cut than the previous straight plain look of the past. Designer streetwear also became trendy as many middle-class people sought to be considered upper-class. Hence, large visible logos became desirable as materialism became commonplace.