Gwen Stefani performs in low rise jeans

Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, a popular band in the 1990s and 2000s, performs wearing ultra low-rise jeans. Sabrina Garcia-Rubio, owner of Maude Vintage, says that 2000s trends remind her of Gwen Stefani. RIDETHELIGHTNING728/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

On a walk around downtown Columbia, you might spot fashionistas sporting low-rise jeans à la Paris Hilton, skin-tight Henley tees reminiscent of Bella Swan in “Twilight” or the ubiquitous claw hair clip. Just 20 years later, fashion from the early 2000s is back for the fall, whether we like it or not.

Y2K styles are the latest in a slew of trend revivals from previous decades popularized on TikTok and other social media platforms. The hashtags #2000sthrowback and #2000sfashion have 2 billion and 180.7 million views, respectively. Young girls sporting terry cloth matching sets or loose ties inspired by Avril Lavigne flood the tags.

Maude Vintage owner Sabrina Garcia-Rubio has recently noticed early aughts trends coming into her store. She notes that matching top and bottom sets and track suits seem to be making a comeback.

“I think if there’s anything from the early 2000s that I’m super psyched about, it’s gotta be the shoes,” Garcia-Rubio says. “I mean, the thick sport shoes, that’s super 2000s."

As for low-rise jeans, she's not as enthused.

"I'm not interested, but it's cool," she laughs.

Sabrina Garcia-Rubio at Maude Vintage

Sabrina Garcia-Rubio, owner of Maude Vintage, poses with a pair of pants she believes to be from the late 1990s or early 2000s.

The 2000s produced a variety of trends — some with more staying power than others. Many outrageous styles had their moment in the spotlight and then quickly went out again — think intentionally ugly Von Dutch trucker hats or "whale tails" underneath jeans.

"In 2006 or 2007, every other blouse was a shaky, blingy sequin type and the purses [had] all the sequins, and that literally lasted for one year," Garcia-Rubio said. 

MU textile and apparel management instructor Nicole Johnston, who’s also the curator of the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection, says the re-emergence of fleeting trends like these is a product of decades of fashion bleeding together.

“[Every decade] is connected. Fashion is an evolution,” she says. “There’s not a whole lot that’s incredibly new anymore. It’s going to take something really revolutionary to completely change the styles that we’re wearing right now.”

Garcia-Rubio and Johnston agree that, with some notable exceptions, post-2000 fashion becomes more difficult to define than quintessential 1980s or 1990s looks. Instead, the 2000s and 2010s have been characterized by micro-trends. In fact, Garcia-Rubio says decreased quality is one aspect of Y2K clothing that isn't a visually identifiable “trend” but has changed our approach to fashion forever.

“The 2000s is the only time, that I can see, that cheap clothing was literally unethical trash, and not going to last on top of that,” Garcia-Rubio says. The 2000s saw a shift toward clothing being mass-produced in China, which gave way to overconsumption and waste in America. In addition to funky claw clips and velour sweatsuits, unethical practices in the fashion industry characterize the early 2000s — another trend that has carried over into 2021.

Garcia-Rubio says shopping vintage in the Y2K resurgence is not only trendy but can also help minimize harm to the environment.

“We [need to] start paying attention to how the clothes are made, as well as the silhouettes and the colors,” she says.

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