September 30, 2022 | OPINION | By Maddie Mollerus

You’re a teenager in 1999. Thinking that the world is going to end in just a few months at the new millennium, you wear any and all trends that you see at the mall — sometimes multiple at once. Why not take fashion risks while you still can? And then the end of the world doesn’t happen. Life goes on. To celebrate your extended time on Earth, you celebrate with fashion maximalism. Anything goes!

That’s my theory on why Y2K fashion was the way that it was (if anyone thinks otherwise or wants to correct me, go for it).

Y2K trends have been popping back up in the last few years, from brands like Urban Outfitters to Versace and on celebrities such as Dua Lipa and Olivia Rodrigo. The great thing about “Y2K clothes” is that they encompass a wide range of styles: grungy, preppy, sporty, chic, and more. Anyone can integrate a Y2K style into their preexisting wardrobe. Above all, these trends are fun because they’re easily recognizable and invoke nostalgia. While some of them are things that I’ll be wearing, some of them should stay in the past! So, what are some trends that are Y2Yay or Y2Nay?

Y2Yay: Butterfly everything! Butterflies are cute, flirty and ethereal. Whether it’s a butterfly halter top (a lá Mariah Carey), embroidered butterfly patch or butterfly necklace, I’m all for it. My personal favorite are butterfly hair clips (especially the iridescent ones); they’re a great touch to any outfit. If I could have my own cloud of butterflies that followed me everywhere, I would.

Y2Nay: Capri jeans. I wore this trend when I was in elementary school and wasn’t  in charge of what clothes I got and I cringe whenever I see myself wearing them in pictures. I just don’t see the point in having jeans that only go halfway down your calf. I’m also not one to care about the proportions of an outfit because there’re better ways to decide how to dress, but capris are seriously disproportional. In case you need further proof, Google “Britney Spears wearing capri jeans under a dress”.

Y2Yay: Juicy Couture tracksuits. Why did we stop wearing these? They’re comfy, they’re cute, they’re already an entire outfit, no matching required. Cold? Just zip it up. Hot? Unzip it. Velvet is an underrepresented material. I honestly can’t think of one bad thing about them.

Y2Nay: Underwear that’s visible above your waistband. I don’t think I need to explain this one…. And it goes for all people across the gender spectrum. Keep it in your pants.

Y2Yay: Baguette bags. Perhaps the most iconic item on this list, they’re ultra-trendy at the moment. These small bags that nestle under your arm match with any outfit. For the most Y2K look, go for a pastel patterned bag. Honestly, I don’t understand what they have to do with bread, but I love them (I have three). 

Y2Nay: Low-rise jeans. Like, loooooooow, I’m-seeing-more-than-I-want-to low. Not a size-inclusive style. Also, how do they not fall down?

Y2Maybe: Cargo pants. I also used to wear them when I was in elementary school, so my opinion of them is tainted. I love how they look on celebrities but I’m having a hard time separating them from fashion and something my dad used to dress me in (sorry, Dad). But if someone finds me a cool pair that I can match with my current clothes, I’ll be a convert.

Y2K trends are on the rise and have a definitive cool factor. But it also makes me wonder what people who lived through Y2K think about us wearing their clothes and recreating their trends. Is my mom laughing at me every time I wear a silk slip dress with a baguette bag? Or does she think it’s nice that I’m wearing some of the same things she wore at my age? All I know is that if my kids come to me in 20 years and tell me that they want to start shopping at Justice, I’ll say yes because I’ll be a loving and supportive parent but I will also be secretly dying inside.

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