At the beginning of lockdown, around a similar time to the Dalgona coffee trend and the international sensation of Joe Exotic, me and my friend Adam began watching films via Netflix Parties, making our way through a slew of 2000s movies to get us through those first dark few months.
Besides the often cringey plotlines and questionable endings (I stand by the fact that Nate, not Miranda, was the real villain in The Devil Wears Prada), one of the most iconic and enjoyable aspects of turn-of-the-century films was their fashion.
I’m thinking of Kiera Knightley’s sequined halterneck from Bend It Like Beckham, the slick monochromatic get-ups of the trio in Charlie’s Angels, Love Don’t Cost A Thing’s Christina Milian’s midriff-bearing tank tops, every look in Mean Girls and Jennifer Garner’s deliciously-horrendous rainbow mini dress in 13 Going On 30.
Fashion always moves in cycles
That’s kind of the beauty with noughties fashion, isn’t it? It’s so awful, it just about works. When else could you get away with wearing an argyle sweater, mood rings and doodle-emblazoned converse just to go shopping at Claire’s?
Not being old enough to remember how accurate these film portrayals were, I have only old photographs of my sisters to prove that these times truly were as the silver screen portrays – my eldest sister, aged fourteen, smiles on the cusp of a new Millenium in low-waisted baggy jeans and blonde and black striped braids a là Dirrty-era Christina Aguilera. Even I rocked a matching pink velvet tracksuit on a hilly walk back in 2007.
Almost two decades later, I’ve actually sold a few of her old clothes on Depop, and I’m not the only one – 2000s relics crowd the pages of the clothes-selling site. Fashion always moves in cycles, so it’s no wonder that entering into a decade deeply concerned with making ethical, environmentally conscious choices, we’ve gone back to the charity shops – or raiding our sibling’s wardrobes, in my case.
Fashion was one safe place that women came into their own
However, I don’t think that’s the only thing drawing us back to the fashion of the noughties. It also championed women in a time where objectification was part of everyday conversation, lads’ mags littered the shelves and women in politics were reduced to ‘Blair’s Babes’.
When it came to entertainment, however, women were at centre stage. Both sides of the pond, celebrity culture was at its peak – in the hey-day of TMZ, the golden trio of Britney, Paris and Lindsey were on the cover of every tabloid, and girl-led groups like Sugababes and Paramore ruled the airwaves.
Fashion was one safe place that women came into their own. Everyone was wearing female designers, and celebrities like Victoria Beckham and the Olsen Twins were even launching their own brands themselves. Men’s style was still restricted to the safety of a suit on red carpets and off-duty jeans and a tee. Instead, paparazzi only cared about what women were wearing, who they were wearing and where their hordes of teenage fans could buy it to wear it too.
Noughties fashion was defined by its expression and creativity
Noughties fashion was defined by its expression and creativity. It was fun. Two decades later, high-street designs have lost a lot of that vitality. Seeing a resurgence of these now-vintage pieces on online sites like Depop and Etsy, and filtering into luxury brands (check out Saint Laurent’s Spring 2020 runway), it’s exciting to find that same kind of pure enjoyment and escapism shopping now that I had rifling through my clothes as a child.
What shall I wear today? Low-rise jeans? A metallic scrunchie? A hot-pink tube top in September? All three? With 2000s fashion, the options are endless. Having lived through a year where pretty much everything else is under strict limits, the least we can do is not to restrict our fashion choices too.