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Confronting the spectre of the 2000s

Cowl necks? Cheetah print? Exposed midriffs? Low… dare I say it… low-rise jeans?

That’s right. It’s exactly what you think it is.

2000s fashion is back, baby.

I didn’t want to believe it either. A few years ago, I shuddered at the mere thought of what people were wearing in the 00s. Uggs? Halter tops? High-heeled flip-flops? Abhorrent, I thought. Shameful.

But now? Now I’ve come to accept that the aughts are cool and vintage, much like the edgy 90s looks we were all trying a little too hard with a few years ago. Instead of Rachel Green, we will begin to emulate Lorelai Gilmore, with her graphic tees, fitted cardigans, and those various little hats.

Layering tank tops over long sleeves? 2000s-core. The huge, objectively ugly (but subjectively… powerful) white sneakers? Also 2000s-core. Athleisure? Even that’s 00s-inspired… it all can be traced back to those velour two-piece tracksuits (think Cheetah Girls).

I’m sure we can all recall the time in 2001 (class of 2023 included) when Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake wore those iconic all-denim looks on the red carpet. Well, would you believe me if I told you that in 2018, Rita Ora in fact wore a 3-piece denim ensemble on the red carpet—with her jeans tucked into her high heels?

H&M sells boot-cut jeans now. Also low-rise jeans. I’m not even kidding you. This is happening.

Even bermuda shorts are back. You know those shorts you used to wear before you turned 11 and suddenly the only shorts marketed to you were exactly 1 inch long? Those shorts. Hitting just above the knee. Kylie Jenner wears them now.

All this begs the question: is all fashion cyclical? Mere repetition, decade by decade? Yesterday we wore 90s-inspired chokers and turtlenecks, nervous-laughing at the spectre of our 2000s selves; now we’re unashamedly wearing 2000s outfits; will we be 2010-core five years from now? I sure hope not. In 2010 I was wearing dolman-cut sleeves, white Converse, and the same Aeropostale hoodie every day, I think.

2010 might have been the year I first wore high-waisted jeans, but to be clear, that’s only because I was a cutting-edge trendsetter (but I trust you were assuming that already). In donning those high-waisted pants—which featured five (5) buttons!—I was embracing that first subtle influence of the 90s.

Which brings me to my most worrisome question, an important question, one we must struggle with: Will we ever stop wearing high-waisted jeans? And what can I do—what can everyday citizens do—to make sure we don’t?

It’s true, people. The 2000s have returned. And so I ask you: are you going to resist, or will you let the aughts envelop you, and submerge yourself beneath heaps of denim, rhinestones, and velour?

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