2000s in fashion

2000s fashion is often described as being a global mash up,[1] where trends saw the fusion of previous vintage styles, global and ethnic clothing (e.g. boho), as well as the fashions of numerous music-based subcultures. Hip-hop fashion generally was the most popular among young people of both sexes, followed by the retro inspired indie look later in the decade.

Young women in Portugal with straightened hair and thick makeup, in 2007

Those usually age 25 and older adopted a dressy casual style which was popular throughout the decade. Globalization also influenced the decade's clothing trends, with the incorporation of Middle Eastern and Asian dress into mainstream European, American and Australasian fashion.[2] Furthermore, eco-friendly and ethical clothing, such as recycled fashions and fake fur, were prominent in the decade.[3]

In the early 2000s, many mid and late 1990s fashions remained fashionable around the globe, while simultaneously introducing newer trends. The later years of the decade saw a large-scale revival of clothing designs primarily from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

General trendsEdit

High fashionEdit

The leading fashion designers between 2000 and 2009 included the late Alexander McQueen, Vera Wang, Christian Louboutin, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood,[4] and Karl Lagerfeld.[5]

The rise of fast fashionEdit

The early to mid-2000s saw a rise in the consumption of fast fashion: affordable off-the-peg high street clothing based on the latest high fashion designs. With its low cost appeal driven by trends straight off the runway, fast fashion was a significant factor in the fashion industry's growth. As affordable clothing became even more important in the entrance to the new age, brands had to find a way to keep up with their consumer's new spending habits.[6]

During the year 1999, department stores such as Macy's, J.C. Penney, Kohl's and more had sales totaling $230 billion. In the years that followed, that number began to fall. By the early 2000s the rise of online retail and in-store fast fashion caused department store sales to dwindle in sales in the wake of new styles being offered quicker than ever before by retailers.[7] Retail giants of the new millennium included H&M, Forever 21, and Zara. Notably, the retailer Target found major success in collaborating with various fashion designers for affordable designer pieces available for the average consumer.[8]

This trend in fast fashion allowed shoppers to own designer items at lower prices, also allowing the acceptance and production of copycat styles.[9] Designers noticed their designs were being knocked-off, and decided to do something about it. In 2004, the retail giant H&M, a master in rolling out fast fashion, collaborated with fashion designer Karl Lagerfield to introduce a one-time collection which proved to be a huge success, as women flocked to H&M stores to own a piece of the designer's 30 selections available in the collection.[10]

Stores such as Wet Seal and American Apparel are said to be "American precursors to the fast fashion empire".[6] As well as the retail stores Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and possibly on a much smaller scale Limited Too, but in the end, stores like Forever 21 were better able to stay on top of the retail game.


The ethics of fast fashion has been the topic of numerous debates and questioning of business practices. Producing fashion at such fast rates involves less than secure worker conditions, and non-livable wages for the laborers. It also involves a lot of waste. Americans throw out 14 million tons of clothing a year, with the help of fast fashion.[11] Retailers like Forever 21 and H&M have come under fire, not only for their wasteful fast fashion practices that have grown steadily since the beginning of 2000, but for the involvement of cheap labor. The appeal of fast fashion lies in the copying of higher end brands; however, after something is no longer trendy it is on to the next, leaving clothes to go to waste, and workers to continue to live on unlivable wages.[12]

Socio-economics and the logo purseEdit

The 2000s saw social classes broken down and restructured so specifically that they became meaningless, and anyone could transcend the typical stereotypes of class with what they owned.[13] In high fashion, there was less of a top-down approach to fashion, and designers were becoming increasingly inspired by pop culture and street style. These two factors combined led to the popularity of the designer logo that was seen boldly printed on all types of clothing, but specifically purses. A logo purse was a unifier, worn by celebrities, models, and the middle-class shopper. Many of these brands had outlet stores, so the logo purse was available to even more people. Having the same branded purse as many others was a form of escapism, it was a unifying factor that let people forget how much money they made, and instead focus on being like the rest.[13]

The rise of fast fashion helped people afford a designer bag, since they could save money on the rest of their wardrobe. As the decade went on, it became increasingly popular to mix designer and fast fashion clothing.

Women's fashionEdit

Early 2000s (2000–03)Edit

Aaliyah wearing a bandana and hoop earrings in 2000

Y2K fashionEdit

  • When the 2000s kicked off, the fashion was profoundly influenced by technology. Around the year 2000, there was a monochromatic futuristic approach to fashion,[14] with metallics, shiny blacks, heavy use of gray, straps, and buckles becoming commonplace. This was called "Y2K fashion". The apparel was made to be as dark, reflective, technological, and as sexy as possible. When the original iPod was introduced in 2001, the earbuds, as well as the gadget itself, became something of an accessory for early adopters.[15]
  • Particular pieces of Y2K clothing included mesh tops, wraparound sunglasses, wireframe rectangle glasses, box-pleated skirts, handkerchief tops (often in a metallic pattern such as silver or gold for a disco feel),[16] satin skirts, leather skirts,[17] concert t-shirts with rhinestones,[14] sparkling shoes,[18] halter tops, sequinned pants (popularized by Peter Morrissey),[19] and embroidered and sequinned tops (inspired by Easton Pearson),[19][20] along with the famous pearl printed black cocktail dress by Karen Walker, which was successful worldwide.[19]
  • In the year 2000, some of the casual women's and girl's fashion trends were oversized sunglasses,[21] aviator sunglasses,[19] oversized hoop earrings,[14] jeans worn for numerous occasions[21] (such as mid-rise, boot-cut, fabric accents down the sides, fabric accents sewn into the flares, lace-up sides and tie-dye[18]), wedge flip flops,[21] hot pants,[18] denim jackets, chunky sweaters, pashmina scarves,[17] Skechers,[22] belly shirts, and tube tops.

Casual chicEdit

  • In Africa, Europe, North America, East Asia, South America, and Oceania, the early 2000s saw the continuation of many mid and late 1990s fashions due to the continued influence of teen pop stars such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, such as the military look,[23] while introducing newer more vaguely dystopian post modern trends. From 2001 onwards, women wore long-sleeved shirts with bell sleeves, cowl-neck tops, crop tops, Burberry, hoodies, flare jeans, hip-huggers,[24] low rise pants,[23][25] white jeans,[26] whale tails,[27] cargo pants[28][29] (especially ones made out of silk, satin, and velvet)[30][31] hip-hop inspired sweatpants, daisy dukes, thong underwear, and solid bright-colored tights.[31]
  • 9/11 and the mortgage crisis of 2001 impacted fashion by bringing in a new wave of conservatism. This created a rise in denim, the American fabric of the working person. Jeans became acceptable in every situation, from the supermarket to the red carpet.[32] It was a slow shift to conservatism, seen in how jeans started low-rise in reflection of the sexy Y2K style and moved through various waistlines and leg widths. As mentioned with the social classes, logos became a form of stability and comfort in fashion. There was a sense of unity in the country because all kinds of people were buying the same brands and sporting the same logos.[32]
  • Perhaps in reaction to the streamlined, futuristic, outer space-themed Y2K styles of the year 2000, distressed denim became popular in America from 2001 to 2008. Pants became lower waisted and significantly more flared than they were previously, and often featured elaborate embroidery rather than the utilitarian, no-frills style of before.[15] In the UK, it was popular for women to wear skirts over trousers, floral print shift dresses, and colors like black, purple and pink. Big, chunky shoes and sandals were popular, with thick wedge heels and imitation leather straps decorated with floral embroidery,[citation needed] while previously successful sneaker brands like Skechers declined in popularity.[22]

First-wave 1980s revivalEdit

  • Although the 1980s fashion revival was not in full swing until 2001, the first movement had started in the late 1990s and continued into the early 2000s. This first wave primarily focused on the early 1980s. Such trends that emerged during this period included denim miniskirts, ripped "distressed" jeans, denim jackets, tracksuits,[29] trenchcoats (often in pleather), puffy jackets (revived by Hip-Hop artists), and preppy polo shirts with popped collars. These remained popular until about 2008 when the revival of late 1980s fashions occurred.
  • Overall, European and American women and girls wore low-top sneakers, such as Skechers, Heelys, Adidas shoes, Reebok shoes, and Nike, as well as knee-high boots with spiked heels and pointed toes (or conversely, thick low heels and round or square toes).[23] Popular accessories of the early 2000s include white belts, aviator sunglasses, trucker hats, hoop earrings, block heeled mary janes,[31] leg warmers (worn with mini skirts),[31][33] ugg boots,[27] flip-flops, jelly shoes,[34] lace-up sandals,[26] newsboy caps, ponchos, and jelly bracelets.[35]

Sex and the CityEdit

The American television series Sex and the City impacted how women cared about fashion and how they shopped. The show depicted women as empowered consumers, each with their own independent styles that shopped based on what they wanted, not what they were told to wear.[36] The main characters became fashion icons, inspiring window displays, fashion lines, magazines, and women globally. Carrie Bradshaw, the main character, is credited for making Manolo Blahnik a household name from her obsession with the Spanish designer's high-heeled shoes.[37] Trends inspired by the show include stilettos, designer handbags (with two episodes centered around the latest "It bag"), large fabric flowers, and berets.[38]

Mid 2000s (2004–06)Edit

Model in 2004 wearing low-rise jeans, a newsboy cap, and a belly shirt
Young woman wearing dress made from African patterned fabric in 2008.

It items and 1960s revivalEdit

Many fashion trends were carried over from the '90s and early 2000s into the mid 2000s, and were quite similar. However, many new fashion trends and brands impacted the fashion industry in the mid 2000s.

Military influencesEdit

African clothingEdit

Late 2000s (2007–09)Edit

Young American woman in 2007 wearing a white miniskirt, a blue bikini top, and sunglasses

Carry over stylesEdit

  • Many early and mid 2000s fashions remained fashionable in 2007; This included items such as denim miniskirts, whale tail, hip-huggers, boot-cut jeans, tank-tops, ripped jeans, hoodies, cargo pants, white belts, cropped jackets, capris, infantile dresses, boho-chic, and Crocs.[27]

Second wave 1980s revivalEdit

Young woman in summer 2009 wearing all black clothes

Eastern and fairtrade fashionEdit

Indian couple wearing a mixture of traditional dress and Western clothing

Activist chicEdit

Men's fashionEdit

Early 2000s (2000–03)Edit

Y2K fashionEdit

  • At the very beginning of the decade, the excitement of entering the new millennium had become evident in fashion in the first couple of years, although this was only prominent in nightclub and "going out" attire. Clothing was mostly made in black, though silver was also fashionable.[15] An example of this would be a tracksuit,[16] Rockport boots, a dress shirt, a pair of pants, a camp shirt, or a jacket in a fancy metallic pattern for going out; while also including of items such as leather coats and pants, puffy vests and jackets, ribbed sweaters and shirts, and chunky dress shoes, usually in futuristic colors such as black, silver, light gray, and white.[79][80] It lasted from late 1999[79] until late 2001.[15]


Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García, Julia Roberts, and Steven Soderbergh wearing brown leather jackets in December 2001

Asian fashionsEdit

Mid 2000s (2004–06)Edit

1960s revivalEdit

Californian band Orson in 2006 wearing mid 1960s-inspired apparel

Retro movie inspirationsEdit

Business suitsEdit

Late 2000s (2007–09)Edit

Jared Leto wearing slim-fit formal wear; Popular 2008–onwards.

Throwback fashionsEdit

Ed HardyEdit

Dennis Rodman wearing an Ed Hardy shirt, and Donald Trump wearing a navy blue two button suit in 2009
  • Due to the mainstream acceptance of body modification, T-shirts, baseball caps and hoodies featuring vintage tattoo designs[128] were desirable items in the US, Britain and India, where they were worn with black leather jackets, oversized belt buckles, gold chains, and dark slim-fit jeans by celebrity trendsetters such as Jon Gosselin[129] or the cast of Jersey Shore.[130] V-neck T-shirts and graphic printed hoodies became popular among younger British men, in contrast to the designer brands with prominent logos previously worn by the chav subculture. Ed Hardy T-shirts, often embellished with rhinestones, were fashionable from late 2008 until the mid-2010s, when they fell out of favour due to their unintended popularity[131] among young clubgoers stereotyped for being thugs, jocks or guidos.[132]

Slim-fit suitsEdit

  • In the European workplace, the cut of suits changed, as the three buttoned jackets popular in the 1990s were replaced with 1950s inspired suits comprising a two-buttoned blazer and matching trousers[133] while in the US the power suit made a comeback.[134] Single-breasted European suits sometimes featured contrasting Edwardian style piping on the lapels and were often worn with slim ties and waistcoats.[135]

Youth fashionEdit

Youth fashion was strongly influenced by many music-based subcultures such as emo, indie kids, scene kids,[136] psychobilly, preppy, skater, goth, nu metal (known as moshers in the UK),[137] ravers and hip hop,[138] including the British chav, US gangsta rapper and Mexican Cholo styles of the early 2000s.[139]

Hip hop
American rapper Jay Z
Chavs and moshers
Nu metal, rave, and goth
A cybergoth with goggles, synthetic blue hair and shaved head, 2005
Psychobilly and rockabilly
Swedish Raggare, 2005.
Indie and emo
Indie rock singer Damian Kulash wearing psychedelic 1960s inspired clothing, 2009
Scene kids

2000s beauty trendsEdit



Zoë Bell in 2006 sporting a medium length hairstyle and blended highlights

In the early 2000s, women's hair was often long and straight.[172] The early 2000s featured "zig-zag partings", in which the hairline is parted in a zig-zag fashion. Hair lengths varied from below the earlobes at the shortest to just below the shoulders at the longest.[173] From 1995 until 2008 highlights and lowlights made of blonde, red, and light brown went mainstream. In 2000, highlights were soft and subtle for a sun-kissed look.[173] In 2002 bold and unblended highlights called "chunky highlights" burst onto the scene. This trend was kickstarted by Kelly Clarkson during her time on American Idol, lasting until 2006.[174] The early 2000s also continued the Farrah Fawcett hairstyle revival of the late 1990s.[175] Crimped hair was popular in the early and mid 2000s.

For black women, cornrows, dreadlocks and curly weaves were popular until the late 2000s, when toned-down versions of the Afro, Jheri curl and short pixie cuts were popularized by artists like Janet Jackson and Rihanna. Another popular hairstyle throughout the decade was the braid, rejuvenated by the likes of Alicia Keys and Lauren Conrad. Throughout the early and middle years braids and plaits would often be meticulously put in intricate patterns and would purposely be styled as a way to blend in better with women's clothing styles.[174]

In the mid 2000s, many women favored the bob haircut, as well as its longer version, the long bob or "the lob".[172][174] By the late 00's, it became unfashionable to center-part one's hair, and the side-swept Bangs of the 1980s made a comeback.

In the late 2000s, dark haired women (and even light-haired ones) favored the jet black hair, as worn by Katy Perry or Amy Winehouse with her trademark beehive hairstyle. Textured hair with volume, natural wavy hair, and the bob cut became popular from 2007 onwards in both Britain and the USA. In 2009, many women sought to imitate the hairstyle Kate Gosselin had that year, briefly bringing back blended highlights into the mainstream. This look ended up only being a fad.[174] Other popular late 2000s trends included Headbands, headwraps and Scrunchies, side ponytails, and braiding on one side of the head.


For European men aged 25–40, shorter hair styles that usually took the form of a quiff were fashionable in the early 2000s, as well as spiked hair and fauxhawks for men aged 18–30. Dark-haired young British men often had dyed-blonde weaves and streaks until the late 2000s when a natural hair color became the norm again.[176] A common haircut among American men and boys was the frosted spiky hair popularized by boybands and pop punk bands from 1997 through 2004. Meanwhile, the crew cut and buzzcut remained popular among American and Middle Eastern men from the mid 1990s until the 2010s.

Long, shaggy Mod or surfer hair became popular among many young men between 2003 and 2006 in the UK as many bands moved away from punk rock and rap metal in favor of a 1960s inspired indie or garage rock sound pioneered by groups like The Strokes, Jet, The Killers, The Hives, The Vines, Coldplay, and The White Stripes. These hairstyles gradually replaced the shaggy, grown out curtained hair popular since the late 1990s among American celebrities like Tom Cruise, Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, Alex Band, Jason Wade, Mehmet Okur and Hanno Möttölä.

By the late 2000s, many young British men opted for a clean-cut 1950s inspired hairstyle, kept in place with pomade.[177] Shaved and bald hairstyles along with beards, moustaches, stubble, sideburns, and the goatee became popular in Europe and North America in reaction to the effeminate early and mid 2000s metrosexual look, with charitable events like Movember further increasing their acceptability.[178]

Children and teenagersEdit

Swedish teenagers wearing typical late 2000s male hairstyles, 2008
Wings haircut worn by singer Justin Bieber in 2009.

For boys, short haircuts such as the quiff, the buzzcut, curtains, crew cut, and Caesar cut were popular in the early 2000s. Girls favored straight hair extensions and chunky highlights. It also became fashionable to sport curly hair with a "zig-zag" side parting and blended highlights around 2002/03.[179] Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, butterfly hair clips and crimped hair became extremely popular for preteens and teenage girls.

In the mid 2000s, longer hair on teenage boys became popular in the UK and America, including the wings haircut, influenced by the 1960s Mod subculture, and British indie pop stars.[180] Hairstyles among teenage girls experienced little change, being largely the same as they were in the early 2000s. Curly hair became less popular in Britain, while straight hair grew more dominant. Highlights remained popular, as well as extensions. Hair was often tied into a ponytail and incorporated long bangs or a fringe.

In 2009, the androgynous Harajuku inspired scene hairstyles (often dyed bright colors) and eyeliner were popular among girls and boys alike: first in Japan, and later in the US and Europe.[181] As an alternative to the scene hairstyles, many teenage girls in the US and Australasia opted for a preppy hairstyle that involved long, straight hair, side-swept and regular bangs and a side part, while boys wore basic skater hair.[182] Many girls wore headbands, headwraps and 80s inspired scrunchies with either a side ponytail or french braid falling over one shoulder.

In between 2006 and 2008, Middle Eastern teenage boys in Australia, namely those of Lebanese descent, acquired the high and tight haircut. Some tend to had the cut with a mullet.

Makeup and cosmetic trendsEdit

The year 2000, was based on the glittery Y2K inspired makeup of the late 1990s. With the turn of the millennium, the idea was for women to capture a futuristic, space-age style, with makeup including bronze specks for a metallic shine with ecstatic colors. An alternative for those who did not like metallics was a purple and brown color scheme.[183] Lip gloss was more popular than lipstick among both women and girls.[174] By the spring/summer season of 2001, this look took a backseat in favor of a more low-maintenance, natural style that showed off ones features. However, the glittery looks continued to be popular.[184] In 2002, mineral makeup broke into the mainstream with Bare Minerals, a product of Bare Escentuals. This fueled the trend for natural looking makeup, and became the standard of the 2000s.[174] By 2004, the glittery looks had disappeared.

By around 2005/06, retro-styled makeup from the 1940s had made a comeback, such as bright red lips and cat eyes. In the mid and late 2000s, lip gloss remained popular, and the "Smoky Eye" emerged, with more emphasis on eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow.[174] Another emerging trend was a more natural "less is more" approach to makeup around the same time.[185] Also around the second half of the decade, there was an increasing amount of emphasis on the perfection of complexions, with illuminators and shimmer products becoming must-have items.[172] In the late 2000s, there was a craze for fake eyelashes, started by Lady Gaga.[172] This resulted in lash tinting, lash extensions, lash embroidery, and fake lashes. Makeup styles generally became simpler and more individualistic with the rise of How-to YouTube videos.[174]

Body care and groomingEdit

The year 2000 featured natural-colored skin as the most desirable, and did not feature many body care trends other than the rise of hair removal, teeth whitening, and anti-aging creams. In the summer of 2001, the sunless tanning trend broke into the mainstream for all genders,[184] prompted by Jennifer Lopez[172] and Christina Aguilera. This included both self-tanners and spray tans. Cosmetic contacts also became more widespread among all genders this year. In 2002, botox was approved for public use and became hugely popular with women and men. By 2009, fake tanning had gone out of style in favor a pale complexion, inspired by the Twilight film.[174]

The 2000s, continued the unisex trend of bikini waxing which had started in the 1990s.[172] Although waxing in general had been popular among women for several years, it was in the 1990s that complete male body hair removal went mainstream.[186] Being considered suggestive and indecent in the 90s, male waxing became ubiquitous as a result of the metrosexual trend in the early and mid 2000s. Also during this time, it was popular to have a completely clean-shaven face, as if to make one look underage.[174] Male hair removal declined in the late 2000s.

Tattoos and piercingsEdit

Navel piercings were popular from 1995 all the way to the mid-2000s.

The 2000s continued the trend of tattoos and piercings among all genders which had begun during the 1990s. Commonplace tattoos in Europe, Australasia, Hong Kong,[187] and North America included tramp stamps and tribal arm tattoos from the early to mid 2000s, and Hindu Sanskrit or Chinese Kanji words from 2007 to 2010.[188][189] Old school tattoos depicting hearts, skulls, flowers or female figures were considered unfashionable[190] and unsophisticated for much of the decade, especially among women. However, these made a comeback in 2008 at the same time Ed Hardy accessories[191][192] and the pin-up girl look were becoming popular.[193]

In the early 2000s, navel piercings reached their peak, as did tongue rings. Other popular piercings throughout the decade include labret piercings, nostril piercings, nipple piercings, and eyebrow piercings. Piercings and tattoos reached the height of their popularity during the mid 2000s[174] but remained a common sight among young people well into the 2010s.


A selection of images related to the period.

See alsoEdit


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