17 Ways Early 2000s Fashion Proved This Truly Was The Most Embarrassing Era

May 03, 2019

Back when I was growing up, I was obsessed with fashion. Well, kind of. It was more like I was obsessed with Delia’s catalogs because the models in there seemed to have the quirky life I always wanted. But looking back, maybe it was a good thing that I wasn’t all-in when it came to style. Because the things that were super cute back then just wouldn’t fly today.

While I like to say that I’m all about the ’90s (arguably the best decade for music) there’s something to love about the early 2000s as well. This was the decade when pop culture was at its finest. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake broke up, and it was a big deal. In 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released and the world first laid eyes on Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol just a year later, and we all copied (or, tried to copy) her streaky blonde hair soon after.

But, fashion just didn’t live up to the hype.

Listen — right now, ’90s clothes are making a comeback. Just walk into a Target and see. I would seriously be surprised if we started seeing 2000’s fashion back anytime soon.

Need proof? Here are a few images to remind you what it was like to grow up in the early 2000s.

1. Multiple Plastic Bracelets

Whenever you walked somewhere, you heard the “clink clank” of your 90 plastic bracelets.

They didn’t have any specific meaning, but you figured that the more you had, the more punk people thought you were.

2. Cargo Pants

At least you could always switch into cargo pants. These pants carried literally everything, which for women, was a big deal.

Unfortunately, now they had a hard choice in front of them — low rise and no pockets, or cargo and 90 unnecessary pockets?

3. “Clever” T-Shirts

“Word shirts” were really big in the 2000s, until people overdid it. Seriously.

These days, people have found better ways to communicate.

4. Dresses Over Jeans

To be fair, the early 2000s were all about “shirts that were either too long or dresses that were too short.” I had a bunch of these in my closet that I couldn’t identify. Was it a dress? Was it a shirt?

Who cares — just throw some jeans on and you were good either way.

5. Leopard Print

Animal prints, in general, were pretty big in the early 2000s.

Our girl Christina Aguilera could pull it off, but she’s one of the few.

6. Bright Colors

There’s nothing wrong with adding some color to your wardrobe. But in the 2000s, we all looked like pieces of bubble gum.

We also weren’t afraid to pair two extreme colors together, especially since we all knew it’d get us noticed.

7. Extreme Denim

Listen, I don’t want to double up on Britney, especially since we all secretly wished we could be her. But, this double denim look she’s sporting with Justin is very, very bad.

8. Juicy Couture

Athleisure is really big right now, and maybe we can blame Juicy Couture for that. You were nobody without a velour tracksuit.

9. Platform Sandals

Sure, you may have seen some of these in the late ’90s (thanks, Spice Girls!) But platform sandals were still pretty big in the early 2000s.

Why not? They added a little height and weren’t uncomfortable.

10. Capri Pants

Listen, I get it. Sometimes, it’s too warm for pants but too cold for shorts.

Capri pants were so big in the 2000s that everyone had a pair. But, why?

11. Tube Tops

I owned two tube tops but never felt confident in either. Probably because it was literally a piece of unflattering fabric.

Sometimes, a girl just has to have straps.

12. Long Duster Sweaters

Honestly, I still have a few of these hanging around. They’re not the worst thing to happen in the world of fashion. They’re just a little clunky, and pretty much the nonverbal way of saying:

“I just want to stay on my couch and read all weekend.”

13. Studded Belts

These were everywhere. But weirdly enough, they seemed to weigh my pants down even more, since they were so heavy.

14. Low Rise Jeans

Wearing a studded belt and low rise jeans was almost asking for trouble. Seriously. Early 2000s fashion was often uncomfortable.

And when I say low rise, I mean “these jeans were not made for people with asses.”

15. Lace-Up Shirts

Did you own a shirt that you had to tie? Whether it was up front, on the side, or tie-up sleeves, this look was super big back in the 2000s. Not going to lie, it was cute.

Just complicated, the second you put one of these tops in the washing machine.

16. Tiny Cardigans

You had one, and it was the perfect addition to your dress to add a little more coverage. Why were cardigans either too big or too small?

17. Bare Midriff, Always

But if there was one thing that summed up fashion in the early 2000s, it was a bare midriff.

Literally every female celebrity showed off their belly in some way, and girls tried so hard to copy the look while still adhering to their school’s dress code.