People got really hyped up about Y2K. It was the turn of the century, you could finally listen to that Prince song and mean it, plus there was a lot of talk about how there was a computer bug that was going to turn everything off at the stroke of midnight, as our PCs wouldn’t be able to understand the switch from 1999 to 2000. While programming disasters were (mostly) averted, I can’t say the same for fashion. Y2K was a particular sort of era. Sure, it was a simpler time when people could still wear jeans or a nice top and trousers to a red carpet event, but there were fedora hats, Juicy Couture trackies and lots of pointy-toe heels that everyone seemed to wear with bootcut jeans (shudders).
The thing is Y2K trends are booming. Thanks to Gen Z, who didn’t experience the trends the first time around (unlike this “officially” geriatric millennial), these 20-year-old looks are now on the rise. Just today, Depop revealed, “Gen Z are flocking to Depop to find original gems from the era. Y2K is one of the most prevailingly popular searches on Depop; from April 2020 to July 2020, the [number] of searches for 'Y2K' and 'noughties' increased by over 640%.”
But today, I want to pay special attention to Y2K jeans trends because in my mind, there was one prevailing trend: low-slung. Whether flared or über-baggy, jeans always sat under your belly button, and if you wanted to flash your midriff, which had to be adorned with a belly chain, then even better. Yes, I do occasionally have nightmares at the thought of these trousers returning, but it’s happening. Being the investigative journalist that I am, I did a deep dive into the Y2K denim archives to see who did it back then and whether or not we’d wear the look in 2021. The good news is that there are plenty of Y2K jeans outfits I’d 100% wear now. Plus, I've discovered how influencers are wearing this trend now. Keep scrolling to take a look back, and then shop jeans that come Y2K-inspired.
Style Notes: The queen of wearing jeans and a nice top, Jennifer Lopez always looked incredible. Here, she proves that despite her amazing abs, you don’t have to wear a crop top. I’m genuinely tempted to try a gold chain belt next time I’m going “out out.”
Style Notes: These jeans are not for the lighthearted, as they sit seriously low. However, I do love the gold sequin top paired with the scarf. That’s a look to replicate.
Style Notes: This is classic Y2K. The belts, the low-slung jeans and the crop tops are all there.
Style Notes: Now we’re cooking. These almost-iridescent jeans have just the right amount of sparkle that would have caught my eye back when I was turning 15. While I don’t think I’d do this look in 2021, I love the denim-on-denim outfit with the pink heels. If I wanted to re-create it now, I’d opt for a classic denim jacket matched with my super-baggy jeans.
Style Notes: Another sparkly pair—this time by Britney’s “nemesis” Christina Aguilera. The lace-up sides add a really interesting dimension to the outfit. However, to keep it more for this season, I’d take inspiration from her waistcoat and invest in a denim version, as it’s a trend that’s starting to bubble up. Pair with classic loose-fit jeans.
Style Notes: Hear me out—these looks are kinda fabulous. They both include flared jeans paired with a matching jacket. It almost makes me sad I didn’t keep my Miss Sixty jeans.
Style Notes: Proof that Cameron Diaz always looked cool. The matching belt and pointy boots really gave this outfit some polish.
HOW TO WEAR THESE JEANS IN 2021
Style Notes: Admittedly, these aren’t low-slung, but they bear the hallmarks of Y2K jeans because they’re baggy. Pair with a tee tucked in and pointed mules for a more 2021 look.
Style Notes: I love this look because it feels young and fresh and still vintage. To re-create it, go for a graphic tee and wear it loose over your jeans.
Style Notes: Trust Lucy Williams to bring this look into 2021 with her hot-pink top tucked into the low-waist jeans, all topped off with a pair of chunky sandals.
SHOP THE TREND