So You Want to Dress: Y2K

Various 2000’s clothes and accessories above a background colored in bright waves of pink, green, and blue. There’s a crop top reading “I heart LA,” a pink sweatshirt, and jorts, as well as a tube of lip gloss, fake eyelashes, and a small purple purse.
(Ella Lehavi • The Student Life)

Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé. When I think of 2000s fashion and the era of velour tracksuits, blinged-out jewelry, platform flip-flops and everything pink, I think of these women. 2000s fashion has made the comeback of the century with more and more Y2K trends being adopted into the current fashion sphere. However, some brands and influencers have seemed to miss the mark on what Y2K truly means. If you want to learn how to throw together an authentic 2000s inspired outfit with pieces that you probably already have in your closet, then you have come to the right place.

2000s fashion has also helped me bond with my mother, who lived through the Y2K era. Over the break, she brought out her jewelry box with vintage pieces that I have now inherited. We spent our time rummaging through the cluttered box, and she told me stories about how she acquired the pieces. Now, every time I wear her bangles or carry her purse, I am reminded of what a fabulous woman she was and still is. And I am reminded of the smile that slid across her face when she saw my excitement about being able to style the jewelry that she had once treasured.

To start with the base — perhaps pair a denim microskirt with an “I Love L.A.” crop top? Or if you’re going for a more laid-back, relaxed day in the library, a matching velour tracksuit with flared bottoms? And maybe a cropped, faux-fur jacket on top when it’s cold out? Whatever you decide to build your outfit with, remember that the clothing is actually just a jumping off point –– the additions that you make with your jewelry, hair, makeup and accessories are what ties everything in together.

Rule number one of 2000s fashion: accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. Accessories are your best friend, and in this case, less is not more. Accessories have the power to elevate a basic outfit to a show stopper. Be experimental with your accessories: that scarf can also serve as a headband, tie-around top, maximalist bracelet or an addition to the strap of your purse or jean belt loop. A pair of sparkly hoop earrings, pink heart or star-shaped necklace, pink-tinted sunglasses, lots and lots of bangles, a dangly belly button piercing and a purse decorated with keychains and charms can easily complete a look.

Now that you’ve got your outfit and accessories figured out –– what about the shoes? I don’t think that you could ever miss the mark with a pair of cozy, hot pink faux fur boots, even better if they have sparkles or sequins. Or if it’s hot out –– some platform flip-flops. If you can commit to a high heel, my respect goes out to you, but if you’re more of a flats girl like me, what about some knee-high, lace-up sneakers? They can add an Avril Lavigne edge to any outfit.

Now, let’s talk makeup. Lip gloss. What more could you need? Now, I know how frustrating it is when the wind blows in your face and your hair gets stuck to your lips, but we all have to make sacrifices in the name of fashion. But if you reach your breaking point and say “Enough.” then I’ve got other options for you. Imagine a dark purpley-brown lip liner paired with obnoxiously long false lashes. Alternatively, throw on some sparkly eyeshadow that matches the color scheme of your outfit, and you’re all set.

Now, let’s add the final touches to your look: the hair. If you like to spend time getting ready in the morning, I would definitely recommend trying out extensions –– pink, blonde, black mixed with white –– the options never end. Or throw on a wig. Don’t worry if you only have 15 minutes before you have to rush to your morning class, popping in some colorful butterfly hair clips will only take a couple of minutes. Or perhaps a pair of messy space buns? Or even just a plaid or sparkly headband? 

Most importantly, the thing that can make or break any outfit is the confidence that you wear it with. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and try a look that you may have been wanting to wear but have been hesitant to. And wear it proudly. Practice your runway walk for when you’re strutting through the dining hall and make those heads turn. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and dress differently –– who knows, maybe you will become someone else’s style inspiration. And when you see someone whose style inspires you –– let them know that you love their outfit.

And remember, you don’t have to commit to one style; our personal styles are constantly evolving and changing, and we should embrace that process –– I don’t think that I will ever be able to settle for one style. Fashion is my creative outlet, the way that I express my identity and who I am. And these can change. Some days, I wake up feeling like I want to be bold and stand out –– that’s when I reach for my 2000s pieces. But sometimes, I feel less confident and want to go for something more toned-down –– and that’s totally fine. Fashion is an incredibly important outlet for gender and sexuality expression, and although I don’t think that what you wear defines who you are, it sure is a great way for you to tell the world about how you want to be perceived.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your friends and hit the thrift store before all the good pieces are gone.

Elizaveta (Lisa) Gorelik CM ’25 is from Moscow, Russia. She likes 2000s emo rock, alternative fashion and lemon iced-tea.

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