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Published: 2023-04-12

Fashion of the 2000s

The 2000s will go down in fashion history as the decade of mash-ups. Retro styles from past decades collide with trends from music culture. Globalization also plays its part, not only bringing Asian fashion to Europe, but also paving the way for fast fashion through worldwide supply chains.

The early 2000s (2000-2002)

The transition from the 90s to the first decade of the new millennium is gradual. Many fashion trends continue. However, events such as 9/11 quickly leave their mark on the fashion world. At the same time, the Internet, as a ubiquitous new technology, sets new accents in both the design and consumption of fashion.

Y2K fashion - futuristic, metallic, sexy

As the decade begins, fashion is also influenced by new technologies. Monochrome, futuristic garments in shades of gray, shiny black or metallic colors aim for a dark and technical look - with maximum sex appeal, of course. Mesh tops, rectangular sunglasses with metal frames, boxy skirts, leather skirts, rhinestones or halter necklines are common. Y2K, the acronym for the year 2000, which is actually a computer problem, fits perfectly with this tech-inspired trend.

80s revival - first part

By the end of the '90s, the first '80s revival was underway, building on the early '80s. In addition to tracksuits, the trend is towards the opulent use of denim fabrics, trench coats and polo shirts. The velour tracksuits of Paris Hilton and others are unforgettable. This trend will be replaced by the second wave in 2008, when the fashion of the late eighties will be in the focus of the it-girls and -boys.

Casual and leisure wear- casual and sexy

Many trends from the 90s continued into the 2000s due to the continued influence of pop stars like Britney Spears. Starting around 2001, low-rise pants, bell-bottoms, silk or satin cargo pants, or even white jeans paired with crop tops or hoodies became popular. Belly-free outfits add a lot of sex appeal. Women often wear skirts over pants, wrap dresses with floral patterns, rugby shirts and even functional jackets enter everyday life.

Sex and the City - empowerment and fashion trends

The US series "Sex and the City" has had a significant impact on women's consumer behavior. As self-confident shoppers, they no longer buy what is imposed on them, but follow their own individual style. Of course, the series also sets its own fashion trends - high-heeled stilettos and designer handbags are just two examples.

Fast fashion - the rise of disposable fashion

In the early to mid-2000s, mass consumption of cheap fast fashion spread throughout the industrialized world. In rapid succession, manufacturers adapted fashion from the catwalks of haute couture to be produced as cheaply as possible in third countries. After a journey that often takes the product once around the globe, the articles arrive at H&M, Zara and Co. to supply fashion-conscious consumers with cheap mass goods.

Puffy jackets - not just for hip hoppers

Padded puffer jackets in oversized sizes are no longer just popular with hip-hop followers. In bright colors, the warm down jackets combine functionality and fashion consciousness. They are everywhere at the beginning of the decade.

Jeans - return to denim

After 9/11 and the financial crisis, classic jeans are back in fashion. The working-class fabric is suitable for virtually any occasion. Throughout the decade, trends change in both waist height and leg width. At first, low-rise, flared jeans are in vogue, before super-tight skinny jeans are rediscovered in the middle of the decade. Even denim overalls are often seen on the red carpet. In the end, denim jeans may be one of the decade's few consistent fashion trends.

Clean chic - simple and discreet

Simple cuts and muted colors characterize this look, which is a clear contrast to the 80s revival with its bright colors and artificial materials. The matching outfit is a sleek look hairstyle or a short haircut and, of course, subtle makeup.

Y2K fashion 80s revival - part one Casual and leisure wear Sex and the City Puffy jackets Jeans Clean chic

Fashion Mid 2000s (2003-2006)

By the middle of the decade, the trend toward a retro look was unmistakable. Above all, the chic of the sixties made a comeback on the catwalks of haute couture - and later on the mass market. Sex appeal is not neglected either. Figure-hugging jeans, thongs and waterfall shirts show a lot of skin.

60s revival - the boho chic

The boho look is a departure from the grunge look of the 90s. Britpop and garage rock bands from the UK bring fashion culture into the mainstream, sparking a fashion revival of the sixties. This includes, for example, light bootcut jeans, vintage shirts, military uniforms, velvet sports jackets, parkas, tweed jackets or western shirts, as popularized by the White Stripes. These days, however, vintage items are no longer bought cheaply in oversize at thrift stores, but in exclusive boutiques. No wonder the style in Paris is called bobo, short for bourgeois-boheme. The high-priced vintage look is often complemented by exclusive designer pieces.

Thong Underwear, Waterfall Shirts and Crop Tops

Low-rise jeans are a perfect match for belly-free shirts. A daring thong underwear is often seen peeking out from under the waistband. Jennifer Lopez and other pop stars make a fashion statement with the chain-shaped waterfall shirt with a plunging neckline and narrow fabric trim at the back. Lots of bare skin is certainly the trend here.

Military Clothing and Pirate-Style – Protest and Pop Culture

This trend has been seen in the UK since around 2005 and will continue until the end of the decade. The preference for military clothing is not only driven by the retro trend of the 80s, but also by movies like Pirates of the Caribbean. This includes harem pants, hussar jackets, uniforms, and even riding boots. But also forms of protest like the Palestinian scarf find their way into the fashion world as a rejection of the war in Iraq, while Che Guevara's clothing style is celebrated as an icon of alternative youth and young adults.

Polo Shirts and Basics - Simple and Stylish

Brands like Abercrombie & Fitch are flooding the market with stylish polo shirts. To really be on trend, the collar is important. Alternatively, the V-neck is spreading through American Apparel and other brands that make affordable basics available everywhere. After all, monochrome basics can be combined with any extravagant outfit - and should be a part of every wardrobe.

Retro Movies - Even More Revivals

Movies from the 60s and 80s also set new fashion trends in the 2000s. The stars of Top Gun and Midnight Cowboy are the role models for the renewed popularity of muscle shirts and hooded sweatshirts, cargo pants and pilot jackets.

Blazer and Shirt - Casual in Everyday Life

The combination of a casual blazer and a simple T-shirt is perfect for any occasion. Even bold all-over prints or the ever-popular Ed Hardy shirts seem made for this style. As an alternative to the T-shirt, hoodies can be worn under a blazer for the perfect combination of casual and chic.

Business Suits and Their Alternatives

In addition to classic business suits in muted colors or pinstripes, Nehru jackets and shirts with choker collars, as popularized by the Beatles, James Bond, or films like The Matrix, become increasingly popular as an alternative to suits. In the U.S., however, the casual look dominates in the middle of the decade, with subtly striped shirts and chino pants, wool sweaters, or sporty jackets.

60s revival Thong Polo shirts and basics Retro movies Blazer and shirt Business suits

The Late Years of 2000s Fashion (2007-2009)

Most of the trends from the early and mid-2000s are still wearable at the end of the decade. These include boot-cut jeans, tank tops, cargo pants, boho chic and denim miniskirts. In addition, the fashion world rediscovers India as a source of fashion sophistication, and nerdy geek chic takes hold.

80s Revival - Part Two

While the first revival of the eighties took place at the beginning of the decade, the trend now goes to the bright colors of the late eighties. Headbands, knit sweaters, denim skirts with tights or the Wonderbra are back. XXL shirts, spandex leggings, cuffs and crop tops are back, as are Hawaiian shirts, V-neck sweaters and black leather jackets.

Asian Fashion - Harem Pants and Mangas

Ethnic fashion from India and the Middle East is back in style for summer 2007. This includes harem pants, sarongs, saris and even the kurta. This trend is not only inspired by Bollywood movies, but also by pop stars like Shakira, who has achieved international success with her belly dancing. Younger women, in particular, are also inspired by Japanese pop culture with manga and J-pop, wearing sailor dresses, Lolita outfits and petticoats with knee socks.

Slim Fit Suits

Toward the end of the decade, the cut of the classic suit changed almost everywhere in favor of a slimmer, more body-hugging fit, while in the U.S. the broad-shouldered power suit made a brief comeback.

DIY Fashion - Handmade is in

As an evolution of the vintage look into boho chic, and fueled by the financial crisis of 2008, there is a growing trend toward DIY. Handknit sweaters are all the rage, but scarves and homemade clothing are also in.

Geek Chic - Grandparents' nerdy look

This look is a bit nerdy and always looks as if the wearer has raided their grandparents' wardrobe. Big glasses, horn-rimmed glasses are just as trendy as buttoned-up cardigans and loose-fitting corduroys.

80s revival - part two Asian fashion Slim fit suits DIY fashion Geek chic

Beauty Trends in the 2000s

Of course, the devil is in the details when it comes to creating the perfect outfit. You have to make sure that your hairstyle is up to date and that your shoes and accessories are a hit or a miss when it comes to joining the elite circle of trendy it-girls and -boys.

Hair - versatile with colored streaks

In the early 2000s, women tend to wear their hair long and straight, with lengths between the ears and the shoulders. Streaks provided a sunny look before Kelly Clarkson started a trend in 2002 with much more visible streaks. Clips and barrettes complete the look. Farrah Fawcett's feathered hairstyle is still seen at the beginning of the decade, while stars like Jennifer Lopez set trends with ballet-inspired updos. Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson are confidently sporting cornrows, dreadlocks and shorter versions of the "afro. The bob is absolutely en vogue in the mid-2000s - from around 2007, mainly in deep black and, towards the end of the decade, with a side parting rather than the out-of-date center parting.

In the early 2000s, men often wear short haircuts, some in the style of pop punk and boy bands, some in spiked styles, some in Iroquois cuts, and some with bleached ends, until natural hair colors come back into fashion at the end of the decade. From 2003 to 2006, the hairstyles of the mods and the long hair of the surfers became more common. By the end of the decade, British men were increasingly using pomade to hold their stylish short haircuts in place. Sideburns and goatees are also popular as a counter-movement to the metrosexual look of previous years. And, of course, there is the iconic Justin Bieber hairstyle, which has been an absolute statement hairstyle since 2008.

Make-up - as versatile as the decade

At the beginning of the new millennium, the glittery makeup of the 90s still dominates as part of the futuristic and bizarre Y2K trend. As an alternative, brown and purple shades are more likely to be combined with lip gloss than lipstick. After the glittery Y2K makeup disappears from the scene around 2004, the bold styling with bright red lips and cat eyes from the 1940s makes a comeback. Soon, however, the smoky eye disappears in favor of eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow. Toward the end of the decade, Lady Gaga heralded a new trend toward more artificiality with false eyelashes, which were further enhanced by eyelash extensions and tinting.

In addition, the demand for self-tanning products skyrocketed during this period, a trend that will continue until about 2009. Botox and waxing for both men and women also reflect the desire for the perfect body.

Jewellery and Accessories - Details for the Party Outfit

Popular accessories include mini shoulder bags (called baguette bags), aviator or other oversized sunglasses, and oversized earrings. Livestrong silicone wristbands are popular, as are trucker baseball caps, preferably Von Dutch. Crosses and rosaries, as well as shutter shades - sunglasses with striped plastic instead of lenses, which Kanye West made into an absolute trend - complete the party styling.

Necklaces and bracelets made from shells are perfect for the summer look. Wide decorative belts are reminiscent of the '70s, while eye-catching necklaces are the perfect complement to elegant evening wear. A slender chain belt also works well.

Trends from the '90s, such as the G-Shock, which was a must-have at the beginning of the decade, continue. Wristbands and headbands are no longer limited to the fitness context, but are worn by hip-hop stars such as Nelly and by the emo scene as a fashion accessory.

Tattoos and piercings - a trend that began in the 90s continues into the 2000s. Tribal motifs remain as popular as donkey antlers, but by the end of the decade, Chinese characters, Sanskrit, and, finally, an old-school Ed Hardy look have replaced the large motifs.

Fedoras - felt hats with wide brims that fold down slightly at the front - fit both men and women, judging by Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and company.

Tn the 2000s, practical messenger bags became popular in parallel with fixie bikes. Carried over the shoulder on one side, these bags replaced the classic backpack, only to be replaced by it.

Originally designed to protect against the cold, scarves have found their way into everyday styling and are often part of a skinny jeans, blazer and shirt outfit. They also serve as headwear to keep hairstyles in place.

Shoes - Mostly Flat and Comfortable

Flip-flops in every imaginable color and shape are undoubtedly one of the enduring fashion trends of the 2000s. Sneakers by Nike, Adidas or Reebok are still in fashion as part of the 80s revival. Ugg boots in suede with lambskin lining and PVC ballerinas are also popular. The high heels that were so in at the beginning of the decade are replaced by flat ballerinas, pumps with small heels, gladiator sandals, boat shoes or chucks, and opulent platform shoes. Angular toe tips often provide that certain something.

Men in the 2000s wear Budapest, sneakers, Converse All Stars or pointed Winklepickers. In any case, the choice of the right brand is very important to be really "in". It is not uncommon for the entire outfit to match the color of the shoes and not vice versa.

Fashion Icons of the 2000s - Popstars Instead of Models

While supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer set the fashion trends in the 90s, in the 2000s it is music, film and television stars who are setting the style. The following list is just a small selection of the most fashionable trendsetters.

The Most Popular Designers of the 2000s

High fashion provides the role models that soon reach the mass market through fast fashion. At the same time, the phenomenon of collaborations between the world's top designers and renowned fashion brands such as Puma, Diesel and even H&M appears for the first time in the 2000s.

Christian Audigier – Ultimate Trendsetter of the 2000s

The French designer made his breakthrough as head designer of the Von Dutch brand, setting a fashion trend with trucker baseball caps that didn't even stop at Hollywood stars and celebrities. Even more popular in the 2000s, however, was his collaboration with tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy, which resulted in the Ed Hardy label, which seems to have become omnipresent this decade with its large, colorful prints.

Karl Lagerfeld – Entry into Fast Fashion

Karl Lagerfeld has not only been making a name for himself since the 2000s, as he has been head designer at Chanel since the 1980s. But in 2004, the sought-after eccentric became the first top designer to launch a collection at H&M, crossing the line between the expensive, exclusive designer fashion of haute couture and the cheap, mass-produced goods of fast fashion. No wonder the first collection sold out in no time.

Marc Jacobs – Revival of the Eighties Dresses

In 2009, the designer brings the party dresses of the 80s back to the runway. But as creative director of LVMH, he no longer just dresses celebrities, he also develops his own lines, making him a celebrity in his own right. As a result, he was able to recruit personalities such as Stephen Malkmus and M.I.A. for his campaigns.

Alexander McQueen – On Stage with Lady Gaga

The British designer broke through with his own fashion label in the early 2000s. In 2006, he began a sports collaboration with Puma, but it was his stage outfits for Lady Gaga that made the biggest splash. In 2010, the world-famous designer, one of the most important icons of his time alongside John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood, took his own life.

Diane Von Furstenberg – Comeback of the Wrap Dress

The designer's wrap dress made a comeback in 1997. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jade Jagger wore it on red carpets before it returned to stores in 2003 due to its growing popularity.

Fashion Trends of the 2000s - A Continuation of the Nineties

As is often the case, music cultures influence fashion trends beyond their own scenes. In the 2000s, the hip-hop style is still present in the mainstream, and the distinctive ravers are still making a statement. In addition, indie and emo are revitalizing the fashion world.

Rave Culture - Tattoos, Piercings and Plastic

The fashion trends of the 1990s rave culture continue into the 2000s. Bright colors and spiky hairstyles, colorful dreadlocks or even bald heads are still popular. Piercings and tattoos, midriff-baring tops and latex pants that emphasize the toned body and bare skin are still characteristic.

Indie and Emo - A Continuation of Brit-Pop Plus Hipness

Indie pop from England and North America has been conquering the charts - and the fashion world - since the mid-2000s. The stars of the scene are inspired by the fashion culture of the 1960s, as well as by second-hand clothes or clothes from the Salvation Army. Band shirts with blazers, skinny jeans and narrow ties are just as much a part of the indie style as black-painted nails and cardigans. Closely related is the hipster fashion that developed in the USA at the end of the 2000s. Here, vintage clothing is more an expression of an ironic statement than a symbol of counterculture.

Hip Hop - Biker Jackets, Sneakers and Tracksuits

Hip-hop culture made its fashion mark in the 90s by entering the mainstream. In the 2000s, the culture experienced a retro trend with baggy jeans, basketball jackets, sneakers, sweatpants and tracksuits, baseball caps, down jackets and quilted jackets, and trucker baseball caps. White youth, in particular, imitate the gangsta lifestyle with expensive designer clothing, gold jewelry, and dark jeans, but they rarely achieve the street credibility of real gangsta rappers.


What started out as a continuation of the 90s quickly turns into a much more conservative look with 09/11. With the advent of new technologies - first and foremost the Internet with platforms like MySpace and YouTube - the importance of celebrities in spreading new fashion trends increases enormously. And with the constant availability of online stores, shopping habits are also changing - fashion is becoming faster, cheaper and more global. As a result, hardly any trend of the body-conscious decade lasts longer than two years, always with a nod to past fashion decades.


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