Picture this: the year is 2003. It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re getting ready to spend the evening with your girlfriends at the mall. You slip into your favorite Y2K trends: a True Religion denim mini skirt, a tube top, and a fuzzy shrug. Tossing your flip phone into your Coach baguette bag, you run to your mom’s closet and snag a pair of her platform sandals that just fit. You give yourself a final ‘fit check, swipe on the gloss, and you’re ready to go.
Now, fast forward almost two decades to today. This exact outfit from nearly 20 years ago is everything I want to be wearing right now — the trends that are filling my summer wardrobe. The revival of early ‘00s fashion has been building for quite some time, with a resurgence of everything iconic from the era across fashion and beauty alike: micro-minis, baguette bags, butterfly clips, rimless sunglasses, and yes, even low-slung, hip-hugger jeans. Just look to fashion It-girls like Dua Lipa, Hailey Bieber, and Rihanna — who make pairing intimidating pieces such as slouchy trousers and sweater vests look casually cool — not to mention all of Instagram and TikTok, and you’ll see that early aughts fashion is sweeping the season.
While noughties style has undoubtedly stirred controversy among the fashion set, I’ve embraced this resurgence with a warm welcome. As someone who is always nostalgic (and enjoys that state of mind), it wasn’t difficult for me to get on board fast. These are all the trends I grew up with — the trends in which I aspired to look as cool as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. But now that I’m not an awkward teenager, and I actually do feel cool wearing them. I’m in a much different place than I was in the early ‘00s and I feel like I’m getting a do-over on this incredibly fun — and sometimes even outrageous — time in fashion.
I’ve even gone back into my teenage wardrobe (confessions of a hoarder) and rediscovered pieces that are totally wearable now. Who needs to go vintage shopping when you have your own ‘00s closet still intact in your childhood bedroom? It was both a shock and delight to discover one of my favorite 14-year-old purchases, a black, tiered ruffle mini-skirt with a stretch waistband, still fits me today. Rest assured, I have been wearing it on repeat.
However, while I am all in on the Y2K takeover, I do admit that there are certain questionable looks from the era that I have no desire to revisit. Trucker hats? No thank you. Belly-baring, low-rise jeans? Definitely not. I’m over wearing trends just because it is a trend, and have committed to only wearing things that both look and feel amazing on.
To that end, I’ve sifted through the endless Y2K looks that are dominating fashion and found the few that I’ll be excitedly leaning into this summer, the few that I actually want to be wearing. Shop my top picks below.
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Micro Mini Skirts
I’ve been obsessed with mini skirts since the moment my parents let me wear them out of the house. It’s the perfect Y2K trend to try first because, while the silhouette did have a major moment in the early ‘00s, it never exactly went away, either. This season’s take? The hems are getting shorter and the styles more daring. Miu Miu took the mini to the next level with its cult-status micro-mini skirt, which debuted on the spring 2022 runway and has been seen on nearly every buzzy fashion industry notable. It’s so easy to style in different ways, be it a tennis skirt with sneakers to run weekend errands, a black split leg style with knee-high boots for a flirtatious date-night look, or (my personal favorite) a bedazzled or colorful style to spice up a girls night out.
Slinky Halter Tops
A halter top just screams ‘90s supermodel in the best way. It’s an effortless way to show a little skin without exposing too much. It’s also a very comfortable style to pair with jeans, trousers, slip skirts — pretty much any bottom of your choosing. I adore these slinky, colorful slip styles with an open back for a full summer embrace. And if you want to really tap into the ‘00s vibes, try pairing a halter with loose-fitting trousers and strappy sandals for the ultimate cool-girl look.
High heels have always been my first love when it comes to shoes, but I still haven’t made my way back to them since shifting to a permanent WFH lifestyle. Enter platform sandals, a Y2K must-have, which offer a nice bit of height and the same leg-lengthening effect — all without the pain of heels. They are the perfect alternative for everyday wear and are just a bit more interesting than a traditional, flat sandal to top off your summer outfit with.