The rise of Y2K as the biggest street style trend in 2021.

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Low-rise jeans. Bandana tops. Britney Spears. As if ripped from the faded pages of 90s magazines, the Y2K aesthetic is back both on the streets and on the runway. The pandemic left everyone stuck inside, nostalgic for a simpler time of velour Juicy Couture tracksuits and Paris Hilton’s shenanigans. Whether you think it’s gaudy, tacky or irresistibly camp, the Y2K trend is back in full force and impossible to ignore. With trends circulating as they often do, this time it was the growth of TikTok and the popularity of thrifting that prompted the resurgence of tiny crop tops and tiny bags.

Youtuber Olivia Aimes thrifting in Brussels, Belgium in May 2020

According to analytics firm GlobalData, the thrifting market has grown 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years. As we recycle clothing, we recycle trends.

#freebritney poster by @knotpaolo on Instagram

The aesthetic underlines a current cultural shift towards maximalism, in contrast to the minimalism of the 2010s following the 2008 recession. With trends circulating faster through social media, the rise of the “Free Britney” movement and Gen-Z influencers re-interpreting fashion aesthetics of the past, the cultural pulse of the 00s can be felt in the latest runway collections and the popularity of television shows such as Euphoria. But this resurgence has a notably cooler edge with Matrix-inspired leather looks and slouchy, low-rise denim that has a more androgynous feel than its skin-tight 2000s archetype.

So which 2000s trends are back in style in 2021?

Low - Rise Jeans

Missoni spring 2022 | Vaquera spring 2022 | Molly Goddard spring 2022 | MSGM spring 202 | Blumarine spring 2022

With celebrity trend-setters like Bella Hadid making the switch from high-rise, mom jeans and the trend saturation accelerated by TikTok, low-rise boyfriend jeans are the denim of the moment. A drastic change given the mom-jeans versus skinny jeans feud of just last year, but these jeans are styled in so many ways they’re incredibly comfortable and versatile in their wear.

Low-rise denim on Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan in the 90s to Bella Hadid in low-rise Louis Vuitton trousers at Paris Fashion Week 2020 and Kendall Jenner's low-rise denim street style look.

Mini Bags

Jaquemus spring/summer 2018 runway

Carrie Bradshow first spotlighted the Dior Saddle Bag on Sex and The City in the 90s and now the bag is back and on the arm of every streetstyle influencer on Instagram. The bag, shaped like a bike saddle, may only be able to hold a couple of your personal items but it carries an enormous amount of fashion cred! The mini-bag trend was also adopted by several other brands including Telfar and Jacquemus.

The Dior Saddle Bag on Carrie Bradshow in Sex and the City and Maria Grazia Chiuri's modern recreations of John Galliano's original design for Dior's Fall/Winter 2018 collection.

Full-Leather Look

Celine FW20 | Versace FW20 | On The Street | Brandon Maxwell FW20 | Louis Vuitton FW20

Leather has been elevated from a winter staple to a durable material reinterpreted for all-season wear. From iconic leather pieces like pants, jackets, and trench coats to modern must-haves, including dresses, shorts, and two-piece sets, we’re entering into a leather-centric season. Vegan leather also remains a focus for many brands as they veer towards more sustainable and ethical design. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Hailey Baldwin have also been spotted in variations of leather two-pieces and trend-coats, popularizing the trend further.

NSYNC, Reese Witherspoon and Winona Ryder in leather trench coats in the 90s to Kim Kardashian's leather Balenciaga look, Hailey Baldwin in a Balenciaga and Cassadei leather ensemble and a street-style leather look spotted at London Fashion Week 2021.

Haute Grunge

Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2021-2022

Alongside the 2000s more well-known bubblegum pop star aesthetic, the darker nineties grunge trend has also seen a rise in popularity, perhaps through the resurgence of Tumblr aesthetics on TikTok. In an update to the problematic heroin-chic aesthetic of 90s supermodels, luxury and rougher materials collide in chic combinations of plush fur oversized flannel and of course, a lot of eyeliner. With both hype brands like Off-White and legacy brands like Saint Laurent reinterpreting 90s grunge staples through a modern lens, the rocker aesthetic of 90s rock bands have made their way into the wardrobes of rappers like ASAP Rocky.

From Ann Demeulemeester, spring/summer 1997 collection and Saint Laurent autumn/winter 2003 collection to Kurt Cobain-inspired looks worn by ASAP ROCKY and featured in R13's Fall/Winter 2021 collection.


Brown Monochrome

Beige and Brown looks at New York Fashion Week

Prompted by Josh Wallin’s famous “monochromatica” TikTok challenge, Brown has emerged as Gen-Z’s favorite hue according to trend researchers on Lyst. The color is associated with the 70s and coasted through the trend resurgence of the 2000s.

Brown leopard-print looks at Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021