I swear it on the name of my Fashion God, Karl Lagerfeld, that 2003 will forever be my favourite year of all time, sartorially, obvi, and just for life in general. I have long been crusading for its comeback and although sometimes it felt as though I were fighting this war alone, it seems that my prayers may have been answered. NYFW showcased looks and ideas pulled straight from our recent past and here I sit, with a smug look on my face, legs clad in lace-up jeans, looking fab and ready to say, “I told you so” to all the haters rearing there heads to denounce what should be a moment of celebration.
Some may label this as the decade that fashion forgot, and there are definitely enough photos of my teen self to support that statement, but often these car-crash fashion moments had a so good that they are bad charm to them. My theory behind the revival is this: The world we live in today has become far too serious and I think we believe that by embracing the fun and reworking the items that induce cringes from many , we may be able to refresh our attitudes to be more in line with our former carefree 00’s selves. This is why I believe we are willing to give the noughties a second chance and I could not be happier than I am to see the trends of this just passed era back with a vengeance, with their OTT, in your face tackiness they are the looks that were often so boldly unattractive that they demanded to be worn with a fierce sense of pride.
A great reference to bring the looks to the forefront of your memory refresh your memory of what this time period stood for I need you to cast your mind back to a TV program that began my (and I’m sure the world’s) obsession with reality TV. That’s right, sexy bitches, I’m talking The Simple Life. Cue Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.These two epitomised everything that was the naught’s. They were filthy rich, painfully spoilt and treated life as thought it was a never ending party/ holiday/ shopping spree. Their wardrobes were overflowing with every naughties look you could possibly imagine. They were the ultimate milleniall it girls. Nicole has continued being on trend and a style queen throughout the years while Paris has seemingly been just as unable to let go of her 00’s obsession and has continued being the poster girl for tacky glam dressing like only she can.
To list just some of my favourite trends we had the humble Von Dutch trucker cap, low rise flare jeans that could even make Kimmy K’s rump look as flat as a pancake and often paired with acoloured g-string protruding well over the waistband, capped sleeve midriff baring tees (double points if it was a reworked sports top), a, ugg boots (triple points if they were pink), chandeleir belly piercings, big hoop earrings and the holy grail of them all, the ultimate status symbol of the 00’s – THE MATCHING VELOUR SWEATSUIT. Coordinated outfits were everything, wether it be with your partner, ie. Posh and Becks while she was in her WAG phase and Britney and Justin who absolutely nailed the art of couple dressing at the VMA’s (see below), dressing to compliment your besties outfit, Paris and Nicole never clashed once in their show and managing that requires a special kind of dedication and attention to detail which deserves to be recognised, or getting all your girls involved the way Destinys Child did, rocking matching outfits for everything and giving us major squad envy.
There are certain looks however that I could do without. Peasant blouses, calf length skirts with knee high boots, point toed ballet flats, wide leg 3/4 gauchi pants, ties worn over a Supre spaghetti strap singlets and tennis-style sweatbands spring to mind and sit on the top of my list. And then there are the ones that I just can’t decide wether I love or loath. Case in point – slogan tees – Several times a day I decide that they definitely are cool and launch myself to the back of my wardrobe which thanks o my serious hoarding addiction is a mecca of early 00’s treasures. Just as suddenly I will begin to second guess myself and re-bury my old collection of barely witty Jay Jays shirts heavy with messages of barely veiled sexual innuendo and lingering memories of my awkward teen phase.
A key look for the time was naked dressing. The skillfull art of leaving the house wearing as little as possible but still managing to be classified as dressed. It was a decade when sexy became cool but the girls trying to make it happen were younger than ever before. Bikini tops were totally acceptable, as were cropped jackets, slutty-faux-bohemian was a style, tops ripped from the bottom or down the cleavage (or both) and who could forget the humble micro-miniskirt? It was like clothing stores were playing a dangerous variation of the game chicken with the hemlines of each new skirt designed, each shaving off length that wasn’t there to be spared in the first place and the first to not entirely cover a ladies ‘secret garden’ would lose – although as soon as it came time to sit or bend over to pick something up, the game, and all modesty was well and truly lost. The teens and young 20’s of the time however did not mind, it was the era of X-Tina doing Dirrty and we were in the midst of females attempting to sexually empower themselves by flaunting their bodies with no shame because they were letting the world know that they could be both sexy and smart, and telling us to deal with it and no skirt – no matter how tiny, should make you underestimate or belittle the intelligence and power of a woman. This is something that is emerging more and more in todays street style looks and stars like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga are often snapped rocking outfits made up of next to nothing remininscent of the looks mentioned which divide the opinions of the fashion world and recieve a barrage of criticism.
Clothing and accessories began to be influenced by and embrace a more ghetto-fab look which is something we are witnessing the return of in a big way thanks to celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Pia Mia, Justin Bieber, Tyga, Sofia Richie and the rest of their crew who have become the new it crowd. In the noughties there wasnt as much of a need to be politically correct but nowadays sensitivities are at an all time high which has led to accusations of cultural appropriation by online trolls and keyboard warriors who deem it innapropriate for caucasian women to style themselves in such a way, spurring many a twitter war, with celebrities being able to interact more directly with their haters thanks to social media and the internet.
Much like the cool kids of the 00’s – Paris & Nicole, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher, suddenly the look du jour is to appear tacky at all times. But dont let the cheapness of the looks fool you, these fashion players spent the big bucks on the clothes, or sometimes lack-therof – so they want them to be seen and we are flooded with Instagram posts and Snapchat stories. A few examples from both then and now are handkerchief halter tops, doo-rag style bandanas, body crystals and jersey style tops. The rise in this looks popularity can be credited to the Kardashian Klan in my opinion, having homie hopped through half of that world collectively we are then seeing the style reflected in the way they dress and also the circles they are hanging in are being put under a spotlight and exposed to more people leading to video vixens such as Amber Rose and Blac Chyna to become fashion influencers.
Thankfully we havent seen the key hair and beauty looks of the decade make a comeback in quite the same way. Girls avoided lipsticks and started applying coat after coat of lip gloss. The most popular shades being anything frosted ,metallic and shimmery. This colour palette was also popular for eyes and had a futuristic but fun vibe, no doubt inspired by entering into the new millenium and celebrating surviving the dreaded Y2K bug that we were warned would be the end of the world. This was also the time that false tanning became mainstream wether it be spray on or a trip to the solarium, we were loving ourselves sick, looking like oompa loompas due to tans not yet being green-based and natural, but in all honesty at the time the more orange the better becase Paris let us know that, ‘That’s hot’, and basically her word was Gospel when it came to 2000’s dressing. It was the age of excess and our platinum blonde idols introduced us to hair extensions worn dead straight and often poorly toned and if you weren’t going for the bimbo look you most likely would have been sporting god awful chunky highlights of a highly contrasting tone to the rest of your hair and zigzag parting was a thing along with fringe braids and swoop fringes.
While yes, I may be biased from growing up in the technicolour wonderland of kitsch, OTT apparel , and I am very much aware that a lot of these styles are not overly flattering, but you try wearing an inflatable backpack and not being happy about it, I bet you can’t because this was an era of fun fashion, it reflected the mood of the world at the time, where the internet was new and exciting, our possibilities seemed limitless and for a kid like me growing up, the world was not a scary place. My head is filled with comforting nostalgia as I sit here typing, reminiscing on those days while wearing a colourful print bucket hat and my larger than life, bright tinted shades and looking through my old photos and wether or not other people are as excited about the resurgence of milleniall trends, this era evokes so many good memories for me that I will always have a soft spot for it and its so-tacky-its-terrific key pieces and refuse to be deterred by anybody who is trying to rain on my parade.