During the chaos of COVID-19, is the return to 2000’s fashion deeper than we think?


As the saying goes, “everything old is new again.” In this case, I don’t mean anything highly antiquated, but rather the swift and sweeping return of Y2K fashion in the recent year. Beaded chokers, bright colors and ironically bedazzled denim has made its way back to our closets and our hearts… well, potentially. Though it’s normal for fashion trends to change as a reflection of celebrity culture and social media influencers, this return to Y2K can be even further linked to something more psychological. As a result of the turbulence and uncertainty of the past year, perhaps this return is instead a yearning for comfort, color and self-expression. 

Y2K fashion usually gets a bad reputation. Granted, the gaudy jewelry and patterned clothes can be judged justifiably. However, it seems as though this return to beads and low-rise jeans has been done in a way that incorporates the more socially acceptable aspects of this otherwise outdated fashion trend. With boutique brands populating the new Instagram shop feature, it certainly did not take long for the next wave of millennial, “zillenial” and Generation-Z fashion to feel like a wardrobe manifestation of Paris Hilton’s chaotic energy. For example, a primarily Instagram-central boutique, Colorful Natalie, utilizes Instagram influencers to broadcast their colorful tops, mini skirts and funky-patterned jeans. Phone chains, Martha Calvo chokers and “That’s Hot” crop tops aside, there is something really interesting about the return to Y2K that is worth exploring. 

It has been shown that what we wear is often linked to more significant psychological notions about what we think or feel and the ways in which we want to present ourselves to the world. Beyond the stereotypes of an all-black wearing emo angsty teen, even something as simple as wearing jeans instead of sweatpants one day can represent something about someone’s mood, mental state or even their hopes for the day. 

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