Y2K Fashion Disasters

As a wannabe fashionista (one who intentionally dresses to match a feeling or theme but isn’t one for brand names), I have very strong opinions about the mishaps of Y2K fashion. So I decided to channel my Y2K fashion anger into a list from not totally awful to let’s burn it. I’m crossing my fingers that Y2K nostalgia won’t let these clothing disasters creep back into clothing stores. Please pop culture gods, some things are not worth repeating.

10) Excessive Layering

This is at the bottom of the worst list because I wonder if it was just me and the fashion department at the Disney Channel that overdid it. Normal layering, big fan. It makes for an easier transition between hot and cold temperatures. Like when it’s winter but you go into a room with the heat-blasted or summer and you enter a building that feels like a tundra.

But the way I wore layers was a bit more than excessive. It wasn’t functional or practical. I’d wear a plain tee shirt with a cami over it and a shrug over that. It wasn’t unusual that my outfits would consist of 3 or more layers. What’s most embarrassing is that I was very proud of these outfits. I thought I was a trailblazer and would document them by taking selfies in the mirror. I never ended up being one to set trends, but I sure was creative.

I’ve always loved long necklaces!

Gotta love something sparkly!

Yes, I am wearing a slinky on my arm.

I’m a Christmas present! Get it?

9) Puka Shell Necklaces

Logan Huntzberger from Veronica Mars
Am I pulling it off?

Y2K had a weird skater, surfer dude kind of vibe. Puka shell necklaces were a part of that vibe. It was a gender-neutral summertime necklace made with rope, shells, and beads. As a beach girl, I don’t mind these necklaces in theory.

I’m very pro decorating myself in shells or anything oceanesque. But these necklaces were thick choker necklaces that nearly made my neck disappear. On television and in movies, they were often accompanied by blonde hair boys with nice swooshy hair that I would crush on.

8) Dangly Belts

In general, I’m not a big belt person. This could be because I had a run of wearing comically large belts across my incredibly short and chubby body. It was not a good look for me. These belts mostly remind me of Lizzie McGuire, Hannah Montana and other early 2000s teen characters. I like my clothes to be functional which a dangly belt will never be due to its dangly nature.

7) Uggs (the off-brand kind)

Okay yes… they were soft. I’m not denying that. I don’t even think that they’re that ugly, which is how I was told the brand got its name. Uggs were known as boots that were the cute type of ugly, and in Y2K you weren’t anyone if you didn’t have a pair.

Well, I wasn’t anyone so I never had a real pair. I did have many off-brand pairs though, which is why this complaint is strictly for the off-brand versions. Once again, my critique comes down to a problem with functionality. My fake Uggs were apparently not made for going outside, which I thought was the whole point of wearing boots. The snow would just leak right through the seams and the outside fur would quickly become matted.

6) The Pink Juicy Catoure Tracksuits

So this probably would rank higher up on my list if I had ever owned one. But like I said I don’t do brand names or at least that’s the excuse I used when I was in grade school and middle school. The Juicy tracksuit was a matching set of velvety sweatpants and sweatshirts. The sweatpants had a bejeweled “Juicy” printed on the butt.Usually, I picture them being pink, but they did come in a variety of colors.

Juicy tracksuits were not exercise wear. I guess you could say that they were athleisure wear before athleisure wear was athleisure wear, but they were often worn with heels which doesn’t sound like athleisure wear to me.

5) Baggy Boy Jeans

So from here on we’re going to be talking about some serious Y2K fashion offenders. First up we have the Y2K boy jeans of choice. I don’t believe in the gender binary, but the early 2000s definitely did. When I say boy jeans, I’m referring to the baggy jeans that people would wear sometimes as low as halfway down their butts.

I’ve seen numerous boys fail to pull their pants up fast enough while they walked down the school halls. People often wore belts with these jeans, but those belts never did their job. This style went with the whole Y2K skater-style thing. Even preppy boys wore their jeans falling off their butt, they were just falling off less. It was as if people felt the need to show off their boxers, for what reason I am not sure.

4) The Coach Purse

Speaking of impractical, Coach purses take the cake. These purses were built the size of a small Chihuahua. They had short handles that you could barely fit your arm through and you had to hold them close to your body with your elbow to prevent them from sliding down. When I discovered the heavenliness of a cross-body I was amazed by how much mobility I had and never looked back.

I could finally utilize my full range of motion to hold shopping bags and piles of garments to try on in dressing rooms. The trend just didn’t make sense economically. There were even some wallets that were too big for these purses completely defeating their main function.

3) Expensive Logos for Over-sexed Teens

Yes, I’m talking about Abercrombie & Fitch (which my friends called Apple Crumbcake and Fish), Hollister, Aeropastel, and American Eagle. Brands were everything in Y2K. It didn’t matter what you wore exactly, just that you got your clothes from the right stores. So it was important to sport the Ambercombie moose and Hollister bird on your garments.

Aeropastel was the least of the offenders. Sure, they printed their brand name on all their clothes, but Aeropastel stores weren’t quite as sexed up as Hollister, Abercombie, and American Eagle. My mom hated going into the Hollister store and not just because their clothes were cheaply made and expensive.

In Hollister, you would inhale perfume instead of air as you groped through the nearly pitch-dark store. Posters of shirtless young people lined the walls and the aisle teaching me how to be “hot”. While I wasn’t quite sure of the full meaning behind the word I knew it was something to be desired. So after years of begging my mother finally capitulated and took me to the store where I somehow convinced her to let me buy a red pair of sweats that had “Hollister” stitched on the butt.

2) Nothing But Pin-Straight

Y2K wasn’t very kind to us curly-haired kids. It didn’t help my self-esteem that the only other people I knew with curly hair were related to me.

In second grade I got a purple Conair hair straightener for my birthday and I swore I was going to straighten my hair every day and finally become one of the cool kids. But then I actually took the straightener to my hair and after hours of clenching and pulling, my hair looked like a straighter puffier frizzier version of itself.

Needless to say, my aspirations to have straightened hair never really got me anywhere. But many people did straighten their hair every day. Many people with already perfectly pin straight hair. Some people’s hair still has not fully recovered from the wear and tear of their straighteners.

1) Girl Jeans: Low-Rise Flair

Okay. My beef with low-rise jeans runs deep. Like really deep. Up until 2010, I didn’t know that jeans had different rises. I just thought there were low-rise jeans and “mom” jeans (which back then wasn’t a good thing). The first problem I have with low-rise jeans is their functionality. Whenever you bent over you ran the risk of showing off your butt crack. Which I guess was supposed to be sexy? But I beg to differ.

Secondly, low-cut flair jeans visually look incredibly unbalanced. It draws sharp lines across the body, breaking it up into thirds, and emphasizing the torso. Personally, the torso is never the part of the body I prefer to emphasize. 

I do partially blame Brittney for this

This brings me to my third and final point. Low-cut jeans are recipes for eating disorders. Nobody wants to look at themself in the mirror and watch their stomach, no matter how small, tumbling over the ban of their jeans. Unless you’re Britney Spears or a Victoria’s Secret super-model, low-rise jeans were and are a capitalist ploy to cripple teenage girls’ already demoralized and low self-esteem.