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The Questionable Return of Y2K Fashion

By Kiana Moridi

From Y2K baggy jeans and baby tees paired with shoulder bags and sneakers, fashion has taken a sharp turn in recent years. There’s a sense of childlike irony, almost as if to tell fashion lovers to stop taking themselves so seriously. It’s as though the industry has collectively thrown their long, claw-like nails in the air and given up on the way fashion used to be. 


Now, perhaps this is the part where I show my age, or much worse, realize in real time that my style is officially outdated. But I must ask- what in the hell is going on in fashion right now? 


Although the 15-year-old me is jumping for joy for the comeback of butterfly clips and scarf tops, my higher self, or perhaps my ego, is a bit at odds with the deeper meaning of it all. Doesn’t the whole idea of being effortless and playful require making an effort in and of itself? A style so playful isn’t typically intended to include all body types and ages-it’s a niche style that caters to a very specific audience. Styles that were all the rage when we were adolescents can exclude body types, ages, and tastes that only a handful of people look flattering in. 


And although it’s no secret that fashion trends are a cycle of wear, throw out, new trend, and repeat, I can’t help but wonder if anyone else is just as bewildered as I am. So, we took to Instagram and asked our FLARE fans what they think about this new wave of fashion. 


Age: 26

Profession: Stylist

The current trends are just not fashionable to me. But then again, everyone has a different perspective on fashion. The style now is trending and it’s a fad. It will go away quickly because nothing about it is timeless.  Because of its crop tops and baggy jeans, it also only suits the younger generation because no one above the age of 30 would willingly want to wear these clothes. 


I honestly just hate “trends” and that’s all that this 2000s style is. And as a stylist I obviously have to utilize these trends in my job because we have to keep up to date on them, but it’s just not suitable for everyone. Maybe that’s why it gets me so heated. 

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Image by Hayden Rogers

Age: 29

Profession: Tech Consultant  

When it comes to the whole Y2K resurgence, I feel like a boiling frog, whereas it’s creeped up so slowly that it now feels like it’s happening very fast. 


When it comes to Gen Z style, I think it’s fine and I’m not sure if that’s because I’m afraid of sounding like an “get off my lawn” old man or what. But it is a little embarrassing to see folks in their 30s doing the big pants, little shirt look in order to stay with the times. I’m all about a statement piece or accessory, but putting five on at a time is a little odd. Bucket hats, rave beads, hideous sunglasses, neon crop tops, and baggy pants is just objectively unappealing to the eye.

Age: 28

Profession: Geologist 

I think the best word to describe most of the style now is “unflattering” on just about every body type. 


Image via Buzzfeed

Age: 23

Profession: Graphic Design Student  

As a whole, I think this could potentially be the most unique time for fashion. I think everyone is trying their best to stand out and not wear the same thing as everyone. However, I do think Y2K trends are about to end. It’s not as interesting as it once was when it first came back around. 


Age: 31

Profession: Chief of Staff at a Digital Marketing Agency

Style is an expression. Every choice, whether conscious or unconscious, is revealing something about who you are. That’s the view I’ve held for as long as I can remember. When I take that thesis and then put it under the lens of the current trends, I can’t help but admit that I’m just not a fan. There’s an overarching sense of irony that envelops the generation’s look, and as an outsider, the irony translates to irreverence.


What is the current generation saying with their style choices? That they don’t care about fitting in society’s box? Well the punk rock movement has been doing that for decades, but they’ve done it with their own rules and structure—even if it’s not to your taste, you can clearly see their reasoning follows form and is art in and of itself. 


I suppose my biggest problem with the current trends is that it feels uninformed. They’re toddlers playing dress up, but with none of the charm or whimsey. Nothing makes me feel older than admitting how much I fear for the next generation of fashion, but I do. I take issue with anyone claiming crocs as a fashion statement—sue me.


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Image via @anaasaber


Image via @chloefraterr

Age: 26

Profession: School Psychologist 

I see the trend cycle speeding up as a positive thing because this will hopefully make trends more recyclable. So instead of donating/throwing out things that aren’t in style anymore (for them just to come back in a few years) we’ll hopefully keep them longer because they could come back into fashion sooner rather than later. We already see that with the rise of buying secondhand/thrifting. And hopefully in turn fast fashion will go away.


Age: 24 

Profession: Photographer/ Digital Marketing 

I feel like nothing I wear can be original or “me” because I see a million people out there wearing every type of thing, and I don’t want to have internalized their ideas.


I also feel like that stress of getting dressed and wanting to be “original” in literally any way has moved me into a state of simply not caring. I’ve pretty much given up on “style” in my daily life and trying feels exhausting because of all the pressures to be cute and stylish. 

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