After people realized that they had not died on December 31, 1999, and that the world’s technology had not gone through a massive meltdown, they celebrated the arrival of a new century. This is even evident in the clothes that they wore.
For the next 10 years, there would be many 2000s fashion looks. From pants that unzipped to become shorts to wearing dresses over jeans, people were highly inventive in the 21st century’s first decade.
Come along as we explore them and learn about some of the people who led the way in what people wore in the first decade of the 21t century. Along the way, you will also learn some of the factors influencing 2000s fashion.
Insurance companies sold individuals apocalypse policies, and people around the globe held their collective breath as first one time zone and then another safely passed into the new decade.
Instead of the world ending, the new century brought many new and exciting fashion trends.
What was fashion like in the 2000s?
The scare during the late 1990s that the world would end seemed to bring the world closer together, and it was reflected in people wearing clothes that were once popular only in a particular geographic region. Additionally, some people used it as a time to return to favorite fashion styles they wore decades earlier.
Especially in the first part of the decade, technology greatly influenced the color palette in fashion. While before the dawn of the new century, people feared that technology would cause the world to end, they were thankful that experts averted the danger and celebrated the good things about it.
Sparkly clothing was embraced, and jeans became more commonly worn in many situations. Many wore their favorite tracksuits almost everywhere that they roamed. Those who wore jeans opted for straight cut or slim-fit jeans.
There was a gloomy attitude that continued throughout much of the decade. Still, it was especially prevalent when designers created many monochromatic black outfits, especially at the beginning of the decade after September 11, 2001, which killed almost 3,000 people.
By the middle of the decade, looks from the 1960s became popular again. This is especially true of the Bohemian look. People looked back 40 years with a sense of nostalgia for simpler times when the main worry was being home before the streetlights came on.
Taking cues from punk and goth, emo clothing became highly popular. Another throwback to an earlier time was jeans. Wider legs were in style, but they never became as wide as bellbottoms seen in earlier decades.
As the decade started drawing to a close, people began wearing neon colors and animal prints as people turned their attention to clothes worn in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
While men often wore throwbacks to the 1960s and 1980s, women started wearing bandage and bubble dresses. There was a renewed emphasis on shopping in thrift stores for vintage streetwear for both sexes. Distressed jeans became popular, especially those with rips in them.
Clothing in this decade followed the world situation to a large extent. Therefore, discussing fashion in the 2000s without drawing your attention to events surrounding fashion trends is impossible.
Early 2000s fashion
Blogging played a significant role in globalizing fashion, as did the 24/7 news cycle, and both became popular during the early part of the decade. People suddenly had access to fashion shows and online fashion magazines that many had never had before.
With it came a new demand for the industry to produce affordable clothing quickly as people were always hunting for the latest looks.
Until then, most people had a store or two where they were content shopping for their clothing. Suddenly, people realized they could get clothing shipped straight to their doors. And they had a much more extensive selection of where they shopped.
This change revolutionized the clothing industry as they were forced to stop planning years in advance and start providing consumers with what they wanted instantly. As companies fought for consumer dollars, clothing prices went down, and so did the quality in some cases.
While many fashion designers presented all-black outfits at the start of the century, it did not take long for those colors to switch to sherbet and ice cream sorbet colors for women and fluorescent colors for guys. Chiffons and satins were the major fabrics used.
Globalization meant that everyone could easily find something fitting their personality. Floaty tea dresses, satin sportswear, Chinese/Japanese styling to techno sportswear were all popular options.
Young women donned miniskirts while older women wore them over a pair of trousers. Broderie Anglaise’s effects were hugely popular, and this white embroidery cutwork lace was often added as patches to jeans.
Guys often wore muscle shirts and carpenter jeans everywhere that the girl in their life would let them get away with. And they usually paired them with a trucker baseball-style cap. Men also put on two coordinating colored polo shirts simultaneously and left the color on the one underneath standing up.
Middle 2000s fashion
The fashion industry was shaken by the death of Luisel Ramos during a fashion show in Uganda when she dropped dead on a fashion show runway. The probable cause was being too thin. In Madrid, models were banned if they had a body mass index of less than 18.
Just two months after Ramos’ death, model Ana Caroline Reston and the industry responded by starting to make clothes for bigger women and placing them on fashion runways.
The babydoll dress became a hot fashion trend in 2006. This dress with an empire waist barely skimmed the top of the knees. It had been around in various forms since first being written about in “Captain Martha Mary” by Avery Abbott in 1912.
But, it saw its first rise in popularity in Tennessee Williams’ “Babydoll” in 1956. Every woman had this dress in her wardrobe and chose to wear it often.
Stars like Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and Paris Hilton, often paired low-rise jeans with crop tops. Cargo pants became a fashion statement, with many celebrities wearing them on the red carpet.
Women also wore long blazers with oversized buttons that cinched at the waist. These blazers buttoned low and had a large front opening that revealed a skimpy crop top underneath. While the movement started earlier, tie-dyed athleisure wear became very popular.
In 2006, the Jonas Brothers began their first band, and “High School Musical” premiered on the Disney Channel, and many men took fashion cues from both. Button-down shirts were often paired with low-rise jeans.
And a plaid flannel shirt was often chosen as outerwear during the spring and fall. When guys were forced to get dressed up, they often wore a tweed suit with a slim-fitted waistcoat with three buttons and three pockets.
Emo music significantly impacted men’s and women’s clothing in the 2000s. Outfits that were primarily black often included studded belts, band t-shirts, and Vans. Choppy hairstyles with long side-swept bangs were trendy.
The middle 2000s was a time of economic prosperity. Many were willing to spend more on their clothes until the 2007-2008 financial crisis occurred, and people momentarily took a step back into styles they wore in the early part of the decade.
Late 2000s fashion
After voters elected President Obama in 2009, fashion changed quickly. Particularly in the United States, classical clothing came back into style. Many women chose to follow the lead of First Lady Michelle Obama when selecting their clothing.
Michelle wore a one-shoulder dress to her husband’s inauguration, and soon many women were wearing one-shoulder gowns. Often, the one-shoulder outfits were embellished with braids, bows, ruffles, and fringes.
And they often had an asymmetrical hemline. While many one-shoulder gowns were quickly manufactured, one-shoulder tops also became very popular. After the first lady wore many yellow outfits, it became a popular color choice.
Most women wore extremely vibrant colors, even if yellow was not their color. Additionally, manufacturers made most from fabrics that sparkled or had some sheen. Color blocking was also a prevalent trend.
While Michelle ruled the women’s fashion scene, many men dressed daily like they were going to a job interview or being hand-selected for a significant promotion. President Obama may have inspired these men as he was always conservatively dressed.
Suit coats were fitted so close to the body that it was challenging to stick your hand inside and impossible to stick a fist in. Many suits had $2,500 price tags made from wool and cotton blends. Silk ties were trendy.
Shirt cuffs were designed to end about 0.75 inches below the suit coat and were worn with cufflinks or a luxury watch. Trousers ended with 1 inch covering the shoes. Instead of black, many suits were navy blue or another shade of deep blue.
Hip-hop fashion was also in vogue for both men and women, and it is coming back under the name Indie sleaze. Both sexes wore dark-washed skinny jeans, faux-leather loafers, and an oversized graphic tee. Women accessorized with bow headbands, pearls, and cross necklaces.
You have now learned or been reminded of what people wore in the new century’s first decade. In the next chapter, we will dive deeper into some different looks. Therefore, I encourage you to keep reading as you will want to know these details.
Many of these trends are repeating themselves, so do not be surprised if you find yourself thinking I wore that recently.
A friend called me the other night for some fashion advice. She knew I write in this realm often, and she had been invited to a 2000s party. She said she was born in 2000 and did not want to wear a onesie to the party.
I started asking her some questions to help her nail down what type of outfit she wanted to wear before I made my suggestions. You may also want to work through the same process and decide what kind of character you want to be before choosing a particular outfit.
When choosing your jeans to start your outfit, you need to decide if you want to be early, mid or late decade. At the beginning of the decade, ultra-low-rise jeans were popular. While the top came up by the decade’s end, distressed jeans became popular with men and women.
Graphic tees were trendy throughout the decade, with Care Bears and Rainbow Bright being especially popular. Most people wore a trucker hat with their outfits. While I will have more to say about them in a little bit, these hats, often in bright colors, had a mesh back and usually had a message on their fronts.
An athleisure outfit from the 2000s is an easy look to put together because you probably already have some of it in your closet, like sports bras and crop tops. One prevalent option was yoga pants. These pants had a rolled waist, fit slim through the thighs, and flared out the hemline.
While I will have more to say in a future chapter, they were often worn with a cropped cardigan, platform flip-flop, and mini sunglasses. While women ran errands in their yoga pants and crop tops, men often wore tracksuits that were a throwback to the ones worn in the 1980s.
Hip-hop was huge in the 2000s, and its fans often wore baggy clothes. While everything baggy was the style at the beginning of the decade, by the end, people usually opted for a baggy top or baggy jeans while opting for a slim-fitting top or bottom for other part of their bodies.
Vintage basketball and football shirts, especially those made by companies owned by hip-hop artists, were a popular choice. Most either owned a pair of Nike Air Force One sneakers or wished they did, while on other days, they would choose to wear their Timberlake boots. On top of their heads, durags were often seen, and Grillz decorated teeth.
If you love color, then you might have been an Indie girl or guy in the late 2000s and constantly watching for what Agyness Deyn, who Vogue once called the next supermodel, was wearing.
Some days, she would be sporting a body-con mini skirt, while on other days, she might be wearing a tee from Henry Holland and her skinny jeans with her Converse sneakers.
She often sported a trilby from a menswear collection where its narrow brim looked particularly great on her, while on other days, she might be wearing a baker boy cap, which you might mistake for a newsboy cap.
Regardless of what she was wearing, you could count on it being colorful, with fluorescent colors often being worked into her wardrobe.
Deep blacks were a favorite color during the early 2000s when emo music was heard in many places. This style of music was marketed toward teens, and it worked flawlessly. Guys who often wore facial hair dressed in ripped jeans held up with a studded belt and layers. The base layer was usually a long-sleeve t-shirt.
Meanwhile, females often wore the same look, or they might put on a black skirt and wear it with a long black t-shirt. While you might mistake this style for goth, it usually incorporated bold patterns and other colors from the cool side of the color wheel.
The scene movement emerged from the emo movement in the early 2000s. Hello Kitty was a childhood icon for members of this group, and they embraced bright colors and beautiful childhood memories.
They often wore hair clips all in a row and glasses without lenses or shutter shades. While they still wore band tees, they paired them with colorful skirts. They might pair a tee with a childhood character with their brightly colored skinny jeans.
Socks or tights were also highly colorful and designed to be noticed above mismatched Converse sneakers. In many ways, this is where the trend toward wearing colorful hair first got started.
Many people discovered prep clothing for themselves in the new century’s first decade. While there were some elements from the 1980s, many men started wearing Oxford-cloth button-down shirts for the first time, and these slim-fit shirts were often paired with penny loafers.
During the early part of the decade, many men and women took their fashion clues from “Dawson’s Creek,” which premiered in 1998. By the decade’s end, especially after Jenna Lyons joined J. Crew as their creative director, prep clothing embraced shockingly bright colors and playful twists.
Many women wore long dresses to formal events with either corset-style back or spaghetti straps; some even had both. Many dresses had a meringue style skirt. Usually, these dresses were made from super-shiny materials. Women wore dresses that sometimes were covered with faux flowers and elaborate crystal jewelry.
The suits were very fitted. This was a stark change from when men wore very loosely fitting suits a decade earlier. These suits also started buttoning higher, and the pants ended about the top of the shoes. Furthermore, lapels got very narrow.
Denim was everywhere in the 2000s, including jeans, hats, and shirts. The decade started with low-rise jeans being the most popular option, but slowly the jeans’ waistline rose. By the end of the decade, distressed jeans were trendy.
Jean skirts were often paired with one-shoulder tops and platform sandals, Ugg boots, or sneakers. Many women wore crop tops during warmer months, but in cooler months, they snuggled inside a ribbed sweater.
Bubble dresses were often the choice for going out on a casual date. These skirts had no bottom hem. Instead, the fabric was folded back on itself to form a bubble shape.
As people realized that the world did not end at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999, they were ready to celebrate by wearing bright shiny clothes as opposed to the grunge look that had been popular in the 1990s.
Denim was everywhere, and it had to match shades exactly. Not only were clothes brightly colored, but they also had a futuristic look, with pops of metallic and bold patterns frequently appearing. Ruffled minidresses, blingy belts, and low-slung denim jeans were popular choices for ladies.
Before you head out or to the back of your closet to dig out your clothes from the 2000s, keep reading. In the next chapter, we will cover more details on some individual items that were popular during the dawn of the 21st century.
In the last chapter, we unwrapped various looks. This chapter and the next one are the best because they unwrap many clothing pieces people wore in the first decade of this century. While this chapter focuses on women’s clothing, the next will highlight men’s clothing.
What did women wear in the 2000s?
After getting scared that the world would end on December 31, 1999, women embraced the new decade wholeheartedly. The economy was strong, and people discovered the luxury of shopping from home, which gave them many more choices.
As the decade wore on, numerous factors changed how women viewed themselves, which was reflected in how they dressed. You should never view clothing trends in isolation because the best manufacturers quickly adapt to what buyers want. That was seen in the first few years of the 2000s as people wanted immediate access to the clothes featured on runways worldwide.
While the decade started with designers producing clothes in bright colors, after September 11, 2001, colors became much more muted for a while. Some designers produced entire shows done in black, while others included a lot of red, white, and blue in their wardrobes.
This was also when women with more curves started finding manufacturers making more stylish clothes, especially for their bodies. Overly small women were banned from walking the runway in some cases because they may have had an eating disorder to keep their body weight down as they tried to become the next supermodel.
Especially towards the end of the decade, several different looks developed. One of the most popular was the playful colors of Scene clothes. These outfits based on happy childhood memories often featured children’s characters, like Hello Kitty and Care Bears, along with purple, green, pink, or another color of dyed hair.
As with most decades, women embraced a variety of music-inspired styles. Many women wore black clothes at the beginning of the decade, but unlike goths, they usually incorporated one bright geometric pattern.
Others embraced the indie style and wore fluorescent colors along with, often dying their hair an unusual color. Still, others often wore hip-hop clothes by wearing one baggy item and one closely fitting item.
What was women’s fashion in the 2000s?
The wide variety of clothes available to women during the 2000s led to many different looks. Many women embraced the fact that they could have clothes from around the world delivered straight to their homes within a matter of days.
Social media and blogging became significant drivers of the fashion industry because they gave women instant access to fashion news, and everyone wanted the latest style.
Let’s look at some of the individual items that women wore.
Low-rise jeans appeared in the early 2000s, and some were so low that they defied logic on how they stayed in place. Most, however, ended directly on the hips. The bottoms of these jeans could be any style, with flared options, particularly popular during the early aughts.
Especially in scene fashion, low-rise jeans could be any color, with bright red and silver being popular options. Women would pair jeans with a graphic tee featuring a child’s character. Early in the decade, it was fashionable to wear a crop top and belly jewelry with them. Later, wearing distressed low-rise jeans became a popular option.
Capri pants repeatedly reappear in fashion, and they were making an appearance in the 2000s. This is especially true of low-rise denim options that turn up a little at the bottom. Some stopped just below the knees, while others were long enough to look like trousers if they were not folded up to end mid-calf.
While it was not fashionable to wear skin-tight options, some stayed a casual distance away from the legs while others were baggy. They could be paired with sneakers, though wearing them with ankle-high boots was another popular option.
Cropped jackets were huge in the 2000s, and they were available in a variety of styles. Some were made of silky materials, but denim was a trendy choice. They were also available in numerous colors.
While some came almost to the waist, others were very short and covered just the shoulders before ending about the bustline. This type of jackets was worn with many types of outfits. Extremely short silky options often accompanied long dresses, while longer options were often worn with low-rise jeans and a pullover top.
Ladies wore yoga pants when exercising, but they also wore them to the grocery store, when picking kids up at school and when lounging at home. These soft pants came in different weights, so they were a great option regardless of the weather.
They were also available in numerous colors, with black being trendy. Women often paired them with a long tee, which could also be worn with a crop top. These pants often ended about the ankles, so they were perfect when you wanted to show off your shoes.
One of the reasons that they were immensely popular was their soft knit waistband that never made a woman feel like they were going to cut her in half.
Many women wore ballet flats with their entire wardrobe in the 2000s. Manufacturers often made these highly comfortable flat shoes from leather, but canvas was also trendy. Women could find them in every color under the rainbow, but neutrals were the most popular.
They could also find them with polka-dots, animal prints, and other patterns. A few had a small tie on the front while others had large bows or buckles across the mid-foot, but most were plain. Many women wore them without socks, but no-show socks were also a popular option.
Especially at the end of the 2000s, the sweater dress became a prevalent option. Most had long sleeves that could be pushed up. Many had boat necks, which were perfect for larger women.
These dresses were usually pulled on over the head and available in many different colors. But most were one solid color. Women who feared that wearing these dresses would make them look too big often belted them either around the waist or under the bust. While many options stopped about the knees, others came down to the upper calf.
Leather skirts of various lengths were a favorite option for daytime or nighttime wear. They came in various colors, including pastels, with light browns being a go-to color for many women. These skirts could be worn alone or over jeans.
While some had narrow waistbands, others had extremely wide ones. You could find leather skirts cut in various styles, but pencil-cut and A-line options were trendy. They were often paired with a graphic tee.
Those who loved the scene movement often paired them with a light-colored tee with a children’s character on them, while those into emo and indie often wore them with a black t-shirt with a subtle geometric pattern on its front.
Small hair clips worn all in a row were a very 2000s style, especially among the scene crowd. One trendy option was butterfly clips made of plastic in the shape of a butterfly. While not highly durable, these clips often added a pop of color to outfits.
Another popular option was colored barrettes. Shaped somewhat like large bobby pins, these metal barrettes were often used to pull side-swept bangs away from the forehead. While many hair clips had a Little Frank style, others were designed with many faux crystals to add sparkle to your hair.
Women of an earlier decade would stare in amazement as corsets moved from being a hidden undergarment to being a fashionable outer garment in the 2000s. Women might wear one over a tee with a matching pair of dress trousers.
Alternatively, they might wear a sheer one over a tank top and put on black gloves and an emo-style lace skirt. Women heading to a night out in town might wear a corset alone over their favorite low-rise jeans. They also found their way into more relaxed work environments because women wore them under a long blazer.
A baguette bag was nestled in the armpit of every teen during the early 2000s. These small silhouette handbags hung from the shoulder using a short strap. While you could find them in various colors, black was the most popular.
Manufacturers usually made them from nylon fabric, and they either closed with a zipper or a front snap. The bottom of these bags usually ended about the elbow.
Prada, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton offered them in many colors, and women tried to complete collections from their favorite brands by having one in each color.
While most cargo pants in the early part of the decade were khaki, by the middle of the decade, women were wearing cargo pants in many different colors. Most had drawstring waistbands and were ultra-comfortable to wear.
Therefore, women used them to create many looks. They wore them with crop tops and often wore a long camo button-up over them along with their military-style boots. They also paired them with a pretty feminine top and wore them with their sneakers.
Boldly colored cargo pants were often paired with short sweaters allowing the stomach to show between the top and bottom.
Sandals with tiny straps and square toes were trendy in the 2000s. These sandals were considered the grown-up look to platform sandals worn by teens usually had a kitten heel. Therefore, they were comfortable to walk in.
These sandals were also excellent for showing off brightly painted toenails, which were a huge fad in the 2000s. Women wore square-toed gladiator sandals with tiny straps that went up to their calves.
By the decade’s end, tiny straps were replaced for gladiator sandals to the point where the wide straps looked like cutouts on ankle boots.
While it became fashionable to wear bucket hats with their downward-sloping brim in the late 1990s, everyone had a favorite one in the early part of the new century. These stiff fabric hats were perfect for styling with cozy knits, tailored trousers, and leather ensembles when the weather was chilly.
They were also a favorite during the summer when paired with beachwear. Many ladies wore them year-round with flowy blouses. Even though many choices were made from canvas, these hats did not appear stiff. Therefore, many women found they could style them in many ways.
A peasant top is a casual top with a wide neck. It either has short and puffed sleeves or long and full sleeves. There is usually smocking at the waist, cuffs, and neckline. These tops were a throwback to the hippie era and were often paired with low-rise cutoffs or jeans.
Women often wore them with long layered necklaces. One trendy look was to pair a peasant top with denim cutoffs that allowed the pockets to stick out above the waistline or at the bottom. If you are going to recreate this look, consider paisley options as they were very popular.
Dresses over pants
The trend to wear dresses over jeans started before the new century was even one year old. Women wore many styles of dresses over jeans and cargo pants. Some chose to wear straight-cut spaghetti-strap dresses over their jeans, while others embraced wearing colorful frilly dresses.
Some wore dresses that matched their pants, while others wore bold-colored dresses over neutral-colored pants. Women wore all sorts of shoes with this look, including canvas sneakers, platform sandals, and ankle-high boots. Many dresses either had a side slit or an asymmetrical hemline allowing more of the pants to show under the dress.
Everyone looked like they were a pilot when wearing their aviation sunglasses. These sunglasses had dark lenses, and some of them were reflective. The convex lenses were touted as blocking more of the sun’s rays than flat lenses.
Upscale aviation sunglasses had flexible cable temples or bayonet temples, but people also wore options with more traditional skull temples.
Ray-Ban was one of the first to offer these sunglasses through the 2000s. They often promoted them to people who loved the outdoors as better eye protection and as sunglasses that would stay in place better.
Many women had a pair of platform boots in their closets. These boots, often faux black leather, had about a 4-inch sole. Then, they had a 5-inch chunky heel. While there were a few taller options, most came just above the ankle.
Most pulled on, but some options laced up the front. Most women wore them with sheer hose. The heel of many had a silver accent piece attached to the back of the heel to give them a futuristic twist in the first part of the decade, while the accent piece was usually absent in the second part of the decade.
At the beginning of the decade, many women wore cute slogans on their hoodies, referring to the start of a new century. As the decade progressed, many hoodies had vintage tattoo designs on their fronts.
By mid-decade, many hoodies had the name of athletic companies stamped in large letters on their front. Especially after President Obama took office, hoodies often had crystals attached to them.
Regardless of the design, they were usually worn with low-rise jeans and sneakers. Hoodies were worn almost everywhere in the early and mid parts of the decade, but that trend went away as more conservative clothing was worn after the 2008 financial bubble collapse.
Numerous silhouettes were available in one-shoulder and cold-shoulder tops worn during the aught-decade. While you would often see them tucked into denim bottoms, they were also worn with more tailored bottoms and skirts.
Some women, particularly those in the emo movement, chose to create monochromatic black outfits. However, others, especially in the scene movement, created playfully colored outfits with them.
Others chose to wear cropped one-shoulder tops with baggy pants. Many of these shirts had playful patterns on them. If you are considering recreating a 2000s one-shoulder outfit, consider wearing these with neutral-colored bottoms.
Now you can put together your own 2000s-inspired women’s outfits. In the next chapter, we will focus on what men wore during the first decade of the 21st century. Therefore, you will want to keep reading.
What did men wear in the 2000s?
During the first couple of years of the new century, men wore casual clothing. Low-rise blue jeans that went with them have accepted clothing at most places. Towards the middle of the decade, groups began to form. Then, after 2008, most men looked like they were going to a job interview every day.
Many men looked like they were going to a nightclub regardless of where they were headed during the first 8 months of the new century. Men mainly wore black and silver, and fancy metallic patterns were seen in many designs.
Then, September 11, 2001, occurred, and men’s fashion changed seemingly overnight. Gone were the metallic colors, but men wore their jeans; on most occasions. Polo shirts became very popular. Clothing took on a lot of outdoor elements, even if the man was only going to the local coffee shop.
By mid-decade, Indie and eco music was ruling the music and fashion scenes. Some men drew inspiration from popular movies during the 1960s and 1980s. Starting to hint at what was to come, smart casualwear became much more commonplace, especially in offices.
After the financial meltdown of 2008 and President Obama’s election, men’s fashion changed again. Most men started dressing like they were headed to a job interview as networking became very important because many companies failed.
Hence, men wanted to get noticed as good business executives. Yet, some men bucked the trend and wore less formal clothes occasionally. Slim-fitting power suits were in many people’s closets.
What was men’s fashion in the 2000s?
While I have given you a general idea of what men wore in the 2000s, it is much more helpful to consider individual clothing items. In some cases, they changed drastically through the decade, while in others, they stayed the same. Let’s dig deeper into popular items worn by men in the 2000s so that you can get a better idea.
These pants are different from utilitarian pants because of their large square-shaped pockets on both sides of the pant leg. These pockets usually have a snap or Velcro closure. These pants that had been worn since the 1930s by military members also had pockets like those found on blue jeans.
These pants often had cuffs at the bottom to fit more tightly around boots. While cargo pants were trendy, cargo shorts were equally popular. While khaki remained a popular choice, manufacturers started producing these baggy shorts in many colors. Throughout the decade, the pants got more fitted, and the pockets became smaller.
Leather jackets came in many styles during the 2000s. Backstreet Boys Nick Carter wore a long leather jacket to the 2000 Radio Music Awards in the first year of the decade. By 2005, leather jackets had become much shorter as they ended about the fingertips.
At about the same time, men’s motorcycle jackets came back in style. Many men’s leather jackets took on an outdoor theme and remained popular through the decade’s end. An immensely popular choice was a bomber-style jacket lined with sheep wool.
While leather jackets of various styles remained popular throughout the decade, men had other choices in overcoats. At the beginning of the decade, many overcoats zipped or snapped up the front, and manufacturers made them from shiny materials.
One popular choice in the middle of the decade was a tweed cloak. Many cloaks had a large V-style neck and two rows of large buttons down the front. From the middle of the decade forward, rugged short jackets were extremely trendy. These jackets were often made of faux or genuine leather and snapped up the front.
V-neck sweaters were trendy during the 1990s, and it was a trend that continued into the 2000s. Many sweaters were ribbed, and luxury designers made them of Merino wool. While many were a solid color, others had colored stripes around the bottom of the sleeves, neck, and bottom.
Still, others had stripes around them in an overall design. These stripes were usually a brighter color on a neutral background. These shirts were often worn over crew-neck tees and under a long blazer, with dress trousers and dress shoes, such as Oxfords or penny loafers.
Trucker hats are similar to baseball caps, except they have a mesh back. Many also have a plastic snap strap at the back so that they can be adjusted to fit numerous head sizes. These hats that were brightly colored were created for working men who mainly lived in the country gave off a casual vibe.
Worn by men and women, these hats have unique messages on the front. Many within the scene movement wore ones promoting children’s characters, while those in indie or emo groups often used them to promote their favorite bands. Others wore options with graphic messages on them.
During the 2000s, every boy and man had at least one striped rugby shirt in their wardrobe. This was especially true of men who loved to dress in the preppy style because of these shirts’ broad stripes.
While you could find a few short-sleeved options, most had long sleeves with elastic at the cuffs to hold them in place. Most also had elastic at the bottom so they would stay down easier.
The vast majority were made from thick materials, making them very durable shirts. They also had a large collar designed to lay down and a small V opening in the front.
Slim cut jeans
At the start of the new decade, many men wore slim-cut jeans. As the decade hit its middle ground, the hip-hoppers embraced baggy jeans while the punk rockers stuck with their slim-cut jeans. By the end of the decade, distressed slim-cut jeans were a favorite of everyone.
Men often wore slim-cut jeans with a graphic t-shirt and a pullover nylon track jacket with a V-neck surrounded by ribbing. Alternatively, many wore them with a t-shirt showcasing their favorite band. Men often wore their slim-cut jeans with a studded leather belt.
While you may have learned never to wear the same shade of denim together, that was not the case in the 2000s. Wearing the same shade of denim in a hat, blazer, and jeans was trendy.
As a point in case, consider Justin Timberlake’s at the 2000 American Music Awards, where he wore a denim cowboy hat, denim distressed blazer, and denim distressed slim-cut jeans with boots and aviator sunglasses. He took Britney Spears with him, who wore a long denim dress and carried a denim purse.
As the new decade arrived, geek chic became the style, and people went to thrift stores instead of going to malls. That change brought about cardigans becoming a popular menswear item.
Most buttoned down the front with large buttons that were a coordinating color to the cardigan. While there were a few solid-colored cardigans, most had stripes similar to rugby shirts.
They were especially popular as lightweight outerwear to be worn in the spring and fall. Adam Brody playing Seth Cohen in the “O.C.,” was primarily responsible for introducing this trend to men.
As the name suggests, tall tees are extra-long tees. They were especially popular in 2005. Henry Abadi, a Syrian native and an immigrant to New York, originally started producing these shirts in the 1990s as women’s sleepwear.
Following a massive order from Newark, New Jersey, business executive Joseph Steiner said that young men in gangs wanted this shirt style. Most early ones available in the early and mid-200s were white and had long sleeves, but men could find other options.
These cotton t-shirts became called in the industry as 41-inches and were popular with gang members because they made a person harder to identify by the cops.
Polar fleece is a napped polyester fabric that became popular in the 2000s and has never really gone away. First introduced in the 1970s, it has beautiful stretch and was most often used to produce lightweight outerwear that was usually made in loud color bloc colors.
Many manufacturers loved this fabric because it held dye well so that they could create intricate designs. Most of these coats zipped up the front, but pullover options were also available. These coats were often worn over a tee and sweatpants to produce an athletic look or with khakis to produce a casual vibe.
For the most part, Nike controlled the sneaker industry in the 2000s after introducing the Nike Presto, which they advertised as a t-shirt for your feet, right before the Sydney Olympics.
These low-profile sneakers had many technological advances built into them designed to help a person run faster. Many shoe companies, including Adidas and Converse, launched sneakers in collaboration with musical stars.
A prime example of this is the Nike Air Yeezy, which was first released in 2009. This high-profile sneaker was promoted by Kayne West, who collaborated on its design.
One of the most unique pants to come out of the 2000s is the zippered pants. Men could choose between technical pants or cargo pants in this style that unzipped at the knee so that the wearer could easily convert the pants to shorts and vice versa.
Men often wore them with an oxford-collar button-down shirt. Occasionally, these pants, which were usually dark brown or olive green, were also paired with more tops made from technical fabric. While the silhouette of these pants has become skinner, you can still find them.
Velour tracksuits were hot throughout the 2000s. Most had ribbed cuffs at the bottom of the legs to ensure they did not touch your sneakers. Typically, these tracksuits are zipped up the front. They were available in a variety of colors.
Nylon tracksuits were also a popular choice. The top of these suits usually had wide cuffs, while the bottom had elastic to hold them in place.
Men usually wore them over a tee and had a deep V-neck often bordered in black ribbed fabric. Some had the manufacturer’s name on the front, such as Nike or Addidas.
A polo shirt typically has a collar and a top row of buttons. These knit shirts were first popularized in 1929 for playing tennis, but men loved them at the start of the 21st century. Some wore them over a long-sleeved shirt. Others wore them over a dress shirt, and some wore two polo shirts at once.
In that case, they laid the top shirt’s collar down while allowing the bottom shirt’s collar to stand up. While initially an athletic shirt, most men in the 2000s wore them with slim-cut jeans or dress trousers.
As you might expect, the new decade started with many t-shirts with 2000 emblazoned on them. While the words and numbers changed, graphic t-shirts with words and messages remained popular throughout the early-and-mid-2000s. Many of the slogans on these tees were done in word art.
Other graphic t-shirts at the start of the decade had metallic graphics on them, and some even had attached crystals. Another popular option was to have a close-up photo taken and placed on a t-shirt in a way that would be absurd or corny.
Sunglasses were tinted in many shades, including green, brown, pink, and metallic blue. Many options were available, but one of the favorites was sunglasses big enough to hide half your face. Even though they first became available in the 1950s, shutter shades were trendy, mainly after Kayne West performed in them during his “Glo in the Dark” tour.
While some options did not have lenses, people could find options that did. These brightly colored sunglasses had pieces of plastic across the lens. The purpose of these glasses that were often worn to clubs was so that you were able to see other people better than they were able to see you.
Cuffs and sweatbands
No man would think of going to the gym without a sweatband around his head and sweatband cuffs on each wrist. If you wanted to be seen as an athlete, you wore them constantly. You might also put on a pair of legwarmers. The primary purpose of these items made from stretchy material was to absorb sweat.
They were available in numerous colors, with red, white, and blue headbands being trendy. Some cuffs even had a small image on them or a motivational message. Some also had the name of an athletic company, such as Addidas or Nike, stamped on them.
Bootcut jeans were immensely popular when the decade started. These low-rise jeans usually had the manufacturer’s name sewn on the back pocket. They were often worn with a V-neck shirt and Oxford shoes.
The flowy bottom and larger cut of these jeans meant that men with many types of body silhouettes looked great in them. While dark denim was trendy in the early part of the decade, lighter-colored and distressed jeans became more popular as indie and emo music took over. At the end of the decade, many men went back to wearing plain bootcut jeans.
Now that you have an idea of what men and women wore in the first decade of the 21st century, I will share some tips about how to put your own 2000s outfit together. Therefore, you will want to keep reading.
Remembering these general tips can help you make the proper final selections on what types of clothes you should wear.
Choose the look you like the most
There were many different looks in the 2000s, so spend some time choosing the look you want to portray. For example, you could dress in bright colors, wear a children’s character t-shirt and butterfly barrettes, and be part of the scene group. Alternatively, you could be part of the indie scene and wear mostly black.
You may also want to consider which part of the decade you want to focus on as clothes became much more conservative as the decade went on. For example, at the beginning of the decade, gravity-defying low-rise jeans were accepted in most places, while most people dressed in business suits before the decade was over.
Pay attention to small details
Paying attention to small details will help you put the right outfit together. For example, you might want to wear a graphic tee with a metallic design on it if you want to look like you are happy to be living in a new century, while wearing a tall white tee presents a gangster look from the middle of the decade.
You will also want to consider your shoes carefully. Nike ruled most of the decade. In the early part of the decade, Air Max Plus took center stage, but many people were still wearing Air Jordans. By the time the decade closed, Nike Yeezy was winning the sneaker war.
Start with items already in your wardrobe
The fashion looks of the 2000s keep repeating themselves, so chances are that you already have items in your closet that resemble those worn in 2000. For example, you probably already own ballet flats, thin-strap sandals, or low-profile sneakers. You may also already own a long tee or one with a metallic design. You may also own a pair of low-rise or bootcut jeans.
Use these as starting points for your 2000s outfit. Then, look in the closets of the people who live with you to see if you can find items you can wear. Of course, you will want to have their permission. One of my favorite ways to add items to a 2000s outfit is to go thrift store shopping. I love the thought that the money I spend helps some worthwhile organization.
Copy 2000s fashion icons
There are an incredible number of fashion icons from the new century’s first decade, so you can get great ideas to copy from studying their outfits. While I will have more to say about these icons in the next chapter, you may want to consider copying Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, or Beyonce if you are female. If you are a guy, consider Kayne West, Aaron Carter, Garth Brooks, and numerous popular bands.
Consider double denim
There is no need to stick to wearing just one denim piece. Men, you can easily wear a denim blazer over a denim shirt with your denim jeans. Try to stick to one shade of denim when recreating a 2000s look regardless of how many pieces you wear.
You can even add denim accessories to your outfit, like carrying a denim purse or wearing a denim hat. If you choose to do double denim, pick out your footwear carefully. Western-style boots can be a great choice or opt for flat sandals if you are wearing a long denim dress.
Find the right pair of jeans
Jean styles evolved during the first decade of the new century. Therefore, it is essential to pair the right tops with the correct jeans. Low-rise jeans were prevalent in the first couple of years of the decade, and you will want to pair them with a sparkly t-shirt, like one with metallic graphics on it or even one with crystals attached.
Towards the middle of the decade, colored jeans were popular with those in the scene crow, while black ones were popular with lovers of emo music. At the end of the decade, bootcut jeans paired with oxford shoes and a button-down shirt were popular with guys while women wore a pretty blouse with theirs.
Put on the right makeup
Dark pink blush was a popular makeup color in the 2000s. The blush was generously applied with a rough hand. Women plucked their eyebrows into a high arch, leaving only a thin line. Dark eyeliner was used to create a smudgy look that encircled the eye. Dark blue and white were favorite eyeshadow colors and frequently appeared together.
Finally, women added high-contrast lip liner. Most women constantly carried a tube of lip liner with them, and they reapplied it often. They also wore body glitter everywhere, especially on special occasions. Faux tans were frequently created with bronzers.
Fix your hair
Side-swept bangs held back with matching multi-colored barrettes are perfect for an outfit from the mid-2000s. On the other hand, you might use a crystal hair clip to pull your wavy hair back to the back of your head.
Letting your hair hang naturally to fame your face was also a popular option. Many women added random braids or spiral curls to their hair. At the end of the decade, women wore their hair short and fixed with gentle waves in a very professional style.
Men also wore many styles during the 2000s. The shag was a popular cut when the decade was new. While many men did not commit to a mohawk, a short faux mohawk was a popular choice. Some men shaved off all their hair while others almost looked feminine in their side-swept bangs.
In the next chapter, I will give you some specific ideas on what to wear if you want to recreate a 2000s outfit. Therefore, make sure that you keep reading.
You may even find yourself naturally drawn to the outfits that some groups wear more than you are to others. Yet, you may be confused about putting it together in a finished package. This chapter will help.
2000s fashion outfits for men
While we will start out looking at men’s outfits, women, you will be right behind them. Especially if you are going to a 2000s party with members of the opposite sex, you may want to read both lists to coordinate outfits.
Even if that is not the case, you never know when someone of the opposite sex may ask you if you think an outfit would look great for a party. Therefore, I encourage you to read both lists to understand better what men and women wore in the 2000s.
Cargo pants + tall tee
While you might not be running from the police, a white tall tee and cargo pants are a perfect 2000s look. You may even want to consider cargo pants that unzip at the knee. Make sure that they are baggy on you. Then, wear them with a leather belt.
Stay authentic to the decade by wearing options where the pockets close with a flap, Velcro, or a zipper. Brown and black were the most popular colors. Wear them with your low-profile sneakers. You may want to wear a faux mohawk or slick your hair down when wearing this outfit.
Polo shirt + dress shirt + bootcut jeans
Steal a page from the mid-to-late-2000s playbook by wearing a polo shirt over a dress shirt. There is no need for a tie, and a millennial pink polo shirt over a white dress shirt is a fantastic option.
Be sure to leave the buttons undone on your polo shirt so that the dress shirt plainly shows, and fold the collars of both shirts down on top of each other. Grab your bootcut jeans. In this case, it is best to wear those in a dark shade of denim. This is a great outfit to wear with your low-profile tennis shoes. Up your game by choosing options from Nike, Addidas, or Converse.
Turtleneck + leather jacket + durag
A turtleneck is a fantastic option for your 2000s outfit. Choose options that fit close to your neck instead of the ones with a mock turtleneck collar. Then, wear it with your cropped leather jacket. A motorcycle jacket with a shine to it is ideal. Distressed jeans are a great match.
You can choose ones with large rips or that look like they have had bleach spilled on them as long as they are low-riders. Complete the outfit by putting a durag on your head. The best option is one matching the color of your turtleneck, but one in an opposite color will also work.
Denim jeans + denim blazer + denim shirt
Regardless of what color of denim you choose, every piece of your wardrobe should be the same color, except for your shoes and your belt. Start by putting on a denim button-down shirt. Then, top it with a denim blazer. Ideally, it is a little longer than usual.
Then, put on your denim jeans. If you choose distressed ones, your shirt and blazer should also be distressed, or you can select options that are not distressed. You should not mix distressed and non-distressed.
You can choose to wear this look with your low-profile sneakers or western boots. Add the final touch to your outfit by wearing a matching denim cowboy hat or a trucker hat.
Rugby shirt + cardigan + khaki pants
Rugby shirts are a great choice if the weather is cooler because their cuffs will help you stay warm. You can choose any color combination, but yellow and blue stripes are a fantastic choice. Wear them with your khaki pants.
Ones that stay a little low on your waist are a great choice. Then, put a button-down cardigan over it. One in a neutral color is a great option. Your brown penny loafers are a great footwear choice and will add to this outfit’s preppiness.
Tracksuit + t-shirt + sneakers
A nylon tracksuit is an ideal choice for a 2000s party, and they are ultra-comfortable to wear. You can choose one that zips up the front, but the most popular choices are pulled on over your head. You can give it an athletic twist by wearing a sweatband around your head and cuffs on your wrist.
The option is yours to wear a tracksuit that is one color or opt for a different color top and bottom. Receive bonus points if it has black stripes around the neck and elastic at the bottom. Wear it over a baggy t-shirt. White ones with a V-neck or a crew neck are an outstanding option. Then, put on your low-profile sneakers.
2000s fashion outfits for women
Women will also find it incredibly easy to dress in 2000s fashion. If they are headed to a party with a guy, you may want to coordinate your outfits. But you have many more choices than the guys in what you can wear.
So do not be afraid to strike out on your own. In the first part of the decade, metallic and crystals were popular choices, but the color of clothing mellowed out a little as the decade wound down.
Velour tracksuit + graphic t-shirt + sneakers
While velour tracksuits were initially designed for women to sleep in, ladies discovered how ultra-comfortable they were to wear and started wearing them in many places. Select an option where the top and bottom match. It should zip down the front. Then, pair it with a graphic t-shirt.
A short-sleeved one is best unless the weather is brutal. One with some metallic geographical pattern is a great choice. You could also select one with word art on it. Then, opt to wear your low-profile sneakers. Braid your hair on both sides and add some crystal barrettes to your hair.
Dress + jeans + square-toe sandals
One of the most confusing trends of the 2000s was to wear a dress over jeans. The best option for a dress is one with an asymmetrical hemline, but you can also choose empire, A-line, and other styles of dresses.
Towards the early part of the decade, options made from shiny fabric were often worn, but cotton dresses became popular later. Then, wear your jeans under the dress.
Bootcut options are best, and you will want to choose a choice that does not show signs of distress. Options stopping about your ankles are ideal because they will show off your square-toe sandals.
Denim long dress + ballet flats
Take some fashion cues from Brittney spears by wearing a denim long dress. It is easy to recreate her dress from thrift store blue jeans if you cannot find it in your closet. This dress had a straight cut and dragged the floor.
While the main dress’ color was light blue, the designer added patches of deeper blue to it. One with a corset top would be adorable. This is an ideal dress to wear with your ballet flats, so consider a denim pair. Then, wear a denim headband on your hair. You may want to leave some pieces hanging down to frame your face.
Crop top + low-rise jeans
Crop tops were trendy at the start of the decade, and they look ideal when worn with a pair of low-rise jeans. Opt for jeans as low as you feel comfortable wearing, as many defied gravity in how women kept them in place.
You can choose between several different styles of crop tops. For instance, you may want to consider options resembling muscle shirts on top or select options with spaghetti straps. You may also want to consider incredibly skimpy stretch options. Grab your tinted sunglasses before heading outside.
Children’s character t-shirt + colored jeans
Become a member of the scene crowd by wearing a t-shirt with your favorite children’s character on it. Hello Kitty, SpongeBob, Scooby Do, and Jimmy Neutron are all great choices. The more colorful the t-shirt, the better. Then, wear it with a pair of colored jeans.
Usually, the best options are a shade or two darker than the primary color in the shirt. If the weather is cool, wrap a colorful scarf around your neck. A bright baguette bag is a great purse to nestle in your armpit. Wear your hair down and put a row of colorful butterfly clips in it.
Sweater dress + tiny-strap sandals
A sweater dress was an option many women loved in the 2000s. You can find these dresses with and without belts, so decide if you want your curves to show. Some sweater dresses had cowl-style necks, while others had boat-style necks.
Some even had small V-necks. There are at least two shoe styles that will look great with a sweater dress. You may want to consider platform sandals with tiny straps. These dresses also look marvelous with gladiator sandals where the tiny straps are so tightly pushed together that the openings look like cutwork.
Going to a 2000s party dressed as your favorite celebrity can be a great option. You may also want to study these people to draw inspiration from them whenever you need to put a 2000s outfit together. Since many had long careers, you must consider what they wore in the new century’s first decade. Therefore, you should keep reading.
If you are a visual learner, you may still have questions. Looking at the clothes chosen by fashion icons can help. Consider these fashion icons of the first decade of the 21st century.
Brittney Spears is an outstanding example of Y2K fashion. You saw her often in the first few years of the 21st century, sporting low-rise jeans and a crop top, and the jeans were often distressed. Britney often wore chunky jewelry with her outfits.
Her crop tops were usually silk, so you could easily fashion your own from scarves. They often had straps about two fingers wide and were designed to draw attention to her bust. She was seldom seen without her sparkly lip gloss, while her hair was often fixed with a few curtain bangs.
In the first part of the decade, Beyonce was often seen in low-rise jeans and a dark V-neck sweater. She may have had a scarf wrapped around her neck and be sporting tiny-strap square-toe sandals. On the other hand, she might have worn a lacy cold-shouldered top with the same stonewash jeans.
You can easily recreate this look by wearing top options that show a little of your belly. Then, grab your gold bangle bracelets and simple gold drop earrings. Anke boots with a pointy heel or nude sandals are perfect footwear choices.
Naomi Cambell continued to be hot as a supermodel throughout the 2000s. She was often spotted wearing a bubble dress over denim capri pants. For her 32nd birthday, she cut the cake in an animal-print mini dress with black trim.
Like other stars at the time, she was often seen wearing tiny-strap square-toe sandals. She was often seen in lacy catsuits with gloves and a turtleneck collar. Naomi loved wearing straight-cut formals, often in gray or black with animal print designs on them. Escaping the need to wear a necklace, most of these dresses also had a high collar fitting tightly around the neck.
Hip-hopper Jay-Z established his own clothing company in 1999, and many men wore his clothes or wanted to throughout the early part of the decade. The statement look from the company he named Rocawear was a vintage football or basketball jersey worn with a gold statement necklace over baggy cargo pants with sneakers.
Men might also put on a button-up shirt in a muted color and wear it with a cropped denim jacket. Then, put on a pair of black jeans. If you lived in the 2000s, you might wear a nylon tracksuit from this company.
Better known as Hannah Montana during the 2000s, Miley Cyrus became a pop music sensation. She often mixed cowboy boots, a sparkly top, and a studded belt together in one outfit. She also often wore a peacoat and a flat cap together.
Usually, the jacket was a pink leather option. Especially as a teen around 2005, she often wore tank tops that showed a bit of skin with her blue jeans and sneakers. More so than any other fashion icon, she is responsible for the trend of wearing dresses over jeans.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Playing Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” brought instant fame to Sarah Jessica Parker, and her clothes were not much different than you saw on Bradshaw during HBO’s series. She often appeared in nipped-in-waist dresses that were ideal for showing off her curves.
Parker’s style was to wear pieces others were afraid to wear, and many were made from shiny materials. She also often wore a denim crop jacket with a white t-shirt and jeans. Parker loved many styles of shoes, but one of her favorites was white ankle-high boots with pointed toes.
Kanye West released his debut album “College Dropout” in 2004, and he desired to make fashion an essential part of his image. For the release, he wore a rugby shirt with a popped collar over a crew-neck shirt. He also wore a huge gold statement necklace.
By the time he released “Late Registration” in 2006, West had moved on to wearing a tuxedo and suits over shirts revealing his chest.
By the time he released “Graduation” in 2007, he had moved away from the preppy look and was wearing designer streetwear. He often wore boldly colored neck scarves. In 2009, he collaborated with Nike to release the Nike Air Yeezy.
I hope you will continue reading as I have some concluding thoughts to share. I will also give you a chance to ask your questions as we conclude our tour of 2000s fashions.
I do hope that you have enjoyed learning about 2000s fashion. If you have, please share this post with someone who may enjoy learning about the many different outfits from this decade.
While I have tried to break down many different looks so you can easily understand them, that is not always the outcome. Therefore, feel free to ask any questions you may have.
While waiting for my reply, please take a few moments and check out some of our other posts. Each is filled with information that you will want to know.