Opinion: Y2K Fashion Brings the Early 2000’s to 2021


Figueroa Fernández in a Y2K-inspired outfit.

Isabella Dudley-Flores, Managing Editor

If you look up “Y2K fashion” on Pinterest, you’ll be bombarded with pictures of “baby tees,” low rise jeans, crewnecks galore and small, barely usable handbags.

“Y2K” stands for “year 2000,” and style trends from that time are now popular amongst our generation.

“Y2K” is comprised of a more comfortable, masculine aesthetic called “streetstyle,” but it also has a more feminine side that is very glamorous and incorporates tighter-fitting pieces.

Sophomore Kara Gustillo mixes the two.

“It’s things you’d see your old dad wear but cuter,” she said. “I end up feminizing the majority of men’s clothing I end up using.”

Junior Camron Booth actually pulls from his dad’s closet to achieve the look.

“[It’s] clothes that are comfortable but also look good at the same time,” he said about his definition of streetstyle.

I partially agree with Gustillo. I’d say streetstyle is more akin to what a 2010’s skater boy would wear but modernized a bit. Now, people add white mock-necks underneath their band tees, layer chains and wear white Nike Air Force Ones instead of Vans.

I love all of these improvements, and I’ve even started to wear mock-necks under my shirts sometimes. I also have Nike “AF1s,” which I wear almost every day.

Booth said when he ventures outside of his dad’s t-shirts and pants, which are legitimately from the 2000’s, he browses through Goodwill or Grailed, an online men’s thrift store.

He said when he shops, he thinks about how the pieces would fit into a full outfit.

Gustillo and senior Paola Figueroa Fernández also thrift, like Booth. It seems to be a common theme with those who sport this type of style.

I go thrifting every once in a while. Thrift stores are an easy place to find clothes that have a vintage aesthetic for cheap. Otherwise, you’re stuck with mainstream stores trying to sell you a purse you can’t even fit your phone in for $45. Resale sites, Depop specifically, are just as expensive.

Another option as inexpensive as thrifting is buying from fast fashion sites like Shein and Romwe, but there is constant speculation about how ethical they may be.

Gustillo said in addition to thrifting, she shops at Abercrombie & Fitch and Brandy Melville. Figueroa Fernández said she wears clothes from Forever 21 and brands, like Fashion Nova and PrettyLittleThing, who have sent her free items in exchange for their promotion on her Instagram page.

It’s not shopping or putting together outfits that’s the most fun, though. It’s finding style inspiration.

Gustillo said she looks toward Twilight character Bella Swan for this task – oh my gosh, I love Twilight – but also Pinterest. Figueroa Fernández said she talks to her cousin who goes to fashion school in New York for ideas.

Overall, though, social media has been key in introducing people to Y2K fashion.

Booth said he discovered the style through TikTok, and Figueroa Fernández said when it’s not her cousin inspiring her outfits, it’s Instagram.

“The entirety of COVID, I feel like it was just everywhere,” Gustillo said. “It was kind-of suffocating.”

I agree with her. I couldn’t go on my Instagram explore page without seeing an ad for a Y2K-esque clothing shop or posts of people simply showing off their “#y2k” outfits. They still come up often.

Figueroa Fernández pointed towards big changes beginning her love for fashion.

She said it was moving from Puerto Rico midway through 8th grade that kickstarted a new mindset towards style for her.

“I saw everybody dress however they wanted to, so I started doing the same thing,” she said. “In Puerto Rico, everybody wears the same thing.”

She said she tended to wear a crop top, jeans and sandals every day before she moved to the United States.

Gustillo said her new style was influenced by COVID-19.

“Seeing everybody become more artsy and creative after the pandemic really got me thinking about, ‘How can I express myself better’?” she said.