13 Trending Y2K Items That Are Making A Comeback

Felt old just writing this article :')

Cover image via @sooyaaa___ (Instagram) , @nabby_gyads (Instagram) , @onescamera___ (Instagram)

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Have you noticed a recent influx of youngsters dressing as if they just stepped out of a Disney Channel and MTV show from 2005?

That's because Generation Z (also referred to as Gen Z) is embracing nostalgic pieces from the good old days. If you're unfamiliar with the term, Gen Z comprises individuals born between 1995 and 2012. 

What is this Y2K fashion we speak of?

Think Mean Girls, Sex and the City, Legally Blonde, and The Simple Life characters donning pleated miniskirts, mini baguette bags, and velour tracksuits. They were just a few of the many icons that inspired the era of early 2000s fashion.

Here are some of the many nostalgic items that Gen Z is currently rocking:

1. Cargo pants (and skirts)

Image via UNIQLO

Remember when everyone walked the streets feeling cool in cargos? These were the it pants featured in every hip-hop music video and dance movie. Many of us might recall trying to replicate the characters' outfits from movies, like the Step Up franchise. These well-loved pants will always look good on anyone as they're practical, comfy, and can be worn for most casual settings.

2. Velour tracksuits

Image via SKIMS

Juicy Couture pioneered the trend of the velvety-soft, two-piece set bedecked with Swarovski crystals. In its early days, the cosy tracksuit was championed by none other than Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, the OG trendsetters who have successfully revived its iconic look.

You can dress them up or down for a day at the gym or a casual night out with friends.

"It's the perfect blend of 2000s nostalgia and present-day loungewear," Kim told Vogue.

3. Digital cameras

Photo samples that were taken using vintage digicams

Image via @onescamera___ (Instagram)

Remember how we used to beg our parents for an iconic digital camera? Once the phase was over, we left them in our drawers to collect dust, never to be seen again because "Who needs a digicam when we have smartphones?".

Well, guess what? Every Gen Z wants one now. Thanks to TikTok, coupled with a yearning for nostalgia, they’ve discovered just how amazing digital camera quality is compared to that of a smartphone; they have the capability to produce dreamy, vintage-style, aesthetic photos that smartphone cameras are unable to capture.

4. Corsets

Image via Evonne Saw

This garment is giving versatility. Modern use of corsets have been used as statement belts layered over long-sleeved shirts or styled with casual pants to ramp up streetwear.

Today's versions are undoubtedly more breathable and flexible, enhancing one's natural silhouette — a stark departure from the spine-damaging corsets seen in the Regency and Victorian eras. Plus, their chic style will take your #ootd game to another level.

5. Lip gloss

Image via Fenty Beauty

Admit it, we used to love these back in high school — until the wind blew and made our hair stick to our lips, stopping us from using them altogether. It seems that there's now an appreciation for these little tubes of shimmering nostalgia, though. 

Lip gloss made a comeback post-pandemic, thanks to the movement towards more minimal makeup. Glossy, plump lips are a quick and easy way to enhance any look.

6. Butterfly clips

Remember how our mothers used to put these in our hair when we were still kids?

Similar to the giant claw clips that gained popularity around 2021 to 2022, the Gen Z fashion starter pack is incomplete without these miniature butterfly claw clips. Tiny but packed with personality, they have become essential in completing the various TikTok subcultures, from soft girl aesthetic to K-pop girl.

Elevate your look by adorning your hair with these clips and adding some shimmery makeup to channel your inner '90s J-pop princess vibe.

7. Handmade beaded accessories


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When thinking of colourful beads, one of the memories that comes to mind is walking into Sinma with friends and creating our own name necklaces and friendship bracelets out of an assortment of alphabet beads and spacers.

Colourful and delightful to look at, these strings of beads are sure to bring smiles to people's faces.

One great thing about beads is that they can be customised into various forms for a wide range of purposes, including jewellery, lanyards, glasses chains, and phone chains. This not only provides extra security but also infuses a touch of personality into your everyday outfit. They make such a cute gift, too!

8. Baguette handbags

The name is a cheeky nod to the French bread because this handbag is like tucking a fresh-out-the-oven French baguette under your arm. 

We used to go gaga over these ultra-feminine bags because of how easy they were to carry around and their cute, distinctive shape. This bag was the ONLY accessory that would complete our outfit when hanging out at the mall with our girlfriends. So fetch!

9. Pleated miniskirt

Admit it; we wore this because we were either in our Anime girl era or because we wanted to look like one of the witches from Harry Potter. The A-line shape of the skirt flatters every body shape and looks sophisticated when paired with any kind of shoes or tops.

It has been proven that the pleated miniskirt has traversed the ages without ever getting old, be it on the tennis courts, or in the world of fashion, evoking timeless academia core in all its glory.

10. Baggy jeans

Image via ADOR / HYBE

Gosh, seeing baggy jeans everywhere is bringing back memories of the days when boys would wear them below their bums to reveal a bit of their boxer shorts! It prompted our parents and grandparents to shun these jeans, even banning us from wearing them at some point. Tsk tsk. 

Now, Gen Z is styling these cooler than we did back then, creating an awareness and appreciation towards dressing for comfort while appearing cool and laid-back at the same time. 

Without revealing too much boxer shorts, of course!

11. Chunky platform shoes

These statement shoes were a must-have in our wardrobes in the early 2000s. We loved ourselves a pair of chunky platforms because the extra height made us feel like we were one of the cool girls from the Disney Channel shows. There's nothing like that extra boost of confidence from a little extra height!

12. Baby tees

Image via The Face

Thanks to the hit TV series Euphoria, our favourite figure-hugging, teeny tiny baby tees with printed graphics are all the rage among the Gen Z's. Remember how we would only be considered a cool and fashionable It-girl if we wore these, and a loser if we wore any loose tees?

That was enough to prompt us to reject all the baggy T-shirts our mothers would buy for us, and beg them to take us shopping!

Image via Tenor

13. Elongated sunglasses

Image via Mango

These retro-style sunglasses are now a social media sensation. They're popular for their unique shapes and are not worn for the purpose one might expect — but rather, as cool statement accessories to complement ootds. The Gen Z's are styling them exactly how we used to — as headbands or draped on the collar of a shirt or blouse.

Now that you know which Y2K pieces are trending, it's time for a style update

Most importantly, have fun reliving some of these sentimental items that most of us grew up with!

Image via Tenor

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