The 2000s (sometimes known as the Y2K era) really gave us some wild fashion moments, if you really think back on it. The 1990s started a few trends that really exploded at the turn of the century (low-rise jeans, visible underwear, the general "why not?" attitude of it all). Remember Juicy Couture? True Religion? We were...so obsessed with visible underwear. While there are some trends that have been reclaimed as actually worthy of our attention and money—long denim skirts, bustier tops, chokers, and pleated minis, just to name a few—there are many many more that I am quietly praying we leave behind forever.
There's a lot of love and self-deprecation going into this slideshow: For those of us who grew up during this time, you can probably count at least 10 of these trends you deployed yourself during that decade. So keep scrolling if you want to relive the era of peak '00s fashion without needing to go there again today.
The Trucker Hat
The "ironic" trucker hat (as in, wearing one but not actually being a trucker) had a big moment in the early- to mid-00s. Usually the style was a totally random addition to an outfit, including the choice to make it a totally different color. No surprise, but it came back in a big way in the early 2020s.
The Handkerchief Hem
The '00s offered us some hemlines that were a real feast for the eyes: Paris Hilton's skirt is a maxi, mini, knee-length, and mini skirt all in one! Obviously you wanted to wear it with a crop top that had a similar hem situation.
The Pageboy Cap
Technically there are a few trends here for Christina Aguilera (skunk hair and low-rise pants, we'll get to you in a second), but the pageboy hat was a layering piece that felt haphazard relative to anything else that was going on with the rest of the outfit. Ditto for the biker gloves here.
Short Short Bangs
Technically, these are two '00s trends (micro bangs and a mullet), but this is probably one of the more memorable examples of teeny tiny wispy bangs that hit way above the eyebrows. Even Scarlett Johansson, who has generally impeccable style, can't overcome the too-high hair.
One unfortunate holdover from the '90s was our general commitment to the wedge heel for any occasion. Granted, this is a casual event, but Megan Fox's black wedge sandal says "day at the beach," not "red carpet ready."
A Visible Cami
We're getting a number of trends in one outfit (big random belt and jeans under knee-high boots, I see you!), but my eyes always gravitate to Kim Kardashian's low neckline tunic and blinding white cami underneath. We really loved visible layers.
Not everyone was sporting Pink's fuchsia hue back in the day, but I can absolutely guarantee several people you know saw this photo and decided they were going to make spiky hair their whole personality for the next several months.
There's nothing wrong with a multitude of hair colors on a single head. But when you make the stripes several inches thick and concentrate them on the top of the crown, it's a style that is 1) tough to maintain, and 2) really jarring. Which is a shame, because Kelly Clarkson is giving it her all.
The natural conclusion of the chunky highlights trend is, of course, the "skunk hair" aesthetic (very light hair combined with very dark hair). Whether it was one's natural hair or extensions, it was...a lot of look. And Xtina was the biggest champion of the style.
Hilton was the biggest adopter of the fancy tracksuit, but a bunch of stars (including Britney Spears, LIndsay Lohan, and J. Lo) donned the matching fuzzy attire while out and about. Yes, even on the red carpet.
I actually really love the playful pop-art style leggings on Britney Spears here, but it gets lost under the low-rise mini, satirical Page Six top, fedora (of course it needed a hat!), and office-appropriate pumps. We really liked confusing layers in the '00s.
The leggings-adjacent trend stars used to love was the fishnet stocking, often deployed with shorts/skirts and high boots. Fishnets never went away, exactly, but taking them for a casual spin was decidedly '00s.
The pedal pusher style (pants or leggings cropped just below the knee) originated in the '90s and continued into the next decade. Add some similarly on-trend plastic clear shoes, as J. Lo does here, and you were ready to go!
Butter Roll Hair
If you were ever eating a cinnamon roll and thought to yourself, This would look amazing on my head, then this '00s trend would have been right up your alley. If one big and swirly bun wasn't enough, here's Gwen Stefani with two.
You knew it was coming! The underwear as outerwear trend comes in and out of fashion (we've lived with sheer clothing for many years), but just pulling up your g-string and letting it come out to party felt like a trend from the '00s that I would prefer stayed in that decade.
When there's a random outfit that absolutely does not need a belt, you know what we did in the '00s? We added a belt. And not just any old belt: A really, really wide and chunky one. Just in case you didn't see it.
Skinny Jeans and Pointed Boots
With the benefit of hindsight, I'm almost not sure how we managed to get those skinny jeans under skin-tight knee-high boots (my jeans were constantly dying to peek out of the top). How did you do it, Kim?
The Low, Low Rise
You know it, you love it, it came back as a style in the 2020s: It's the low rise! It's on this list a bunch, and for good reason. The style was ubiquitous back in the day, and it really worked on some people. I was not one of those people. But Paris made the most of it!
The Mega Cropped Jacket
You want crop? I got you crop! The major jacket style in the '00s was to wear a jacket that stopped right at the ribcage (almost feeling like a bolero more than anything else). Unrelated to anything, I really appreciate Pink's abs here.
The Long Thin Scarf
Wrapping thin scarves once around the neck started in the late '90s, but the scarves got thinner, longer, and even more unnecessary at the turn of the century. Seriously, Lindsay Lohan isn't even wearing a jacket!
An Ed Hardy Tee
Beyond Nude Lipstick
Do you remember when we used concealer as lipstick? Because I sure do! The nuder-than-nude lips color that served to basically erase your lips, as J. Lo demonstrates here, was a highly specific look. Everyone thought it was the height of beauty.
Red Carpet Sunglasses
Celebs really loved wearing shades to a big event, but in the '00s we took the added step of making the sunglass lenses lighter and less functional. Kim Kardashian started bringing this trend back, just as an FYI.
Crimped hair wasn't solely a trend for the '00s, but (as with so many things on this list), we really maximalized it. Take a crimper, and just apply it to your whole head. Don't leave one single strand out!
Some years after MC Hammer gave us wide, voluminous '80s pants, we got a different kind of volume-heavy bottomwear: The Pirate Pant. Ballooning in the middle, tapered at the leg, it made us all look like pears.
We loved a lot of lace-up items in the '00s, from tops to shoes and everything in between. What I particularly enjoy about these (matching!) Destiny's Child jeans, though, is that the lace ups aren't just at the bottom, but continue all the way to the pockets as well.
A Mini Mini
Bai Ling, one of the '00s it-girls, is technically showing off two trends: The tiny mini that might accidentally fall off at a moment's notice, and the statement belt to go with it. And the matching abs to go with everything!
The Belly Chain
I realize this is a lot to look at, what with the non-shirt shirt, pageboy hat, mini mini, and knee-high boots, so why am I honing in on the little metal belly chain? Because I really love how—even in the most naked outfit—we loved that little accessory so much we just had to have it all the time. Xtina liked it so much, in fact, that she added a wallet chain here too.
Dresses Over Pants
Skirts or dresses over pants were not new by the time Anne Hathaway boarded this particular trend train, but it had reached its most extreme conclusion: a regular dress...with unnecessary jeans and a cardigan, just for fun. It was a very sweaty vibe.
Denim, Denim Everywhere
Once you've seen this image, you'll never ever forget it: head-to-toe denim for both Spears and then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake. Honestly, the commitment is impressive (matching bag and hat??) but no one emulating this Canadian tuxedo could ever top it.
Teeny Tiny Brows
One unfortunate holdout from the '90s was the micro-eyebrow. Even though by the end of the decade the trend was being (mercifully) swapped out for a thicker look, we still had plenty of celebs who gave us pencil-thin inspo.
Uggs and Minis
Oh, Beyoncé! This was usually an off-the-carpet outfit, but there was nothing we loved more in the '00s than a pleated mini and Ugg boots. Proof that it really does happen to the best of us.
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.