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What were the best 2000s fashion trends?

October 28, 2022

The 2000s featured a wide range of fashion trends. It depended on where you lived, what year it was, what time of the day it was… it included the high school look, studded belt, tank tops, crop tops, cargo pants, halter tops, Juicy Couture, low rise jeans. Many of these were even spotted on the red carpet in the early aughts. 

That said, as ever with fashion, the look was distinctively of its time. Here is a rundown of early 2000s, mid, and late 2000s fashion trends in the Western world.

Early 2000s fashion

YK2 and the threat of the Millennium bug, along with the futuristic nature of the words The Year 2000, lead to an interest in technology. Reflecting this, as well as the film The Matrix which came out in 1999, we fell for shiny, hard fabrics. Silver, glossy black PVC, and leather suits, skirts or trousers were the outfits of choice for going out in. Those long black leather trench coats that Neo and co wear had a massive effect on teenagers, each wishing to swish around and save the future while looking cool. A full-length leather trench coat is actually pretty expensive, and of course is a look that ages fast, but there were a lot of them about.


Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss, as Neo and Trinity, gave their coats a slick hard edge by wearing them with short hair and sleek black sunglasses. But on the streets, this look blended somewhat with the Greb look, a subculture where guys and women alike had long (usually greasy if male) hair, and wore all black.


They had black jeans and black t-shirts, black biker jackets and didn’t often vary (or even change) their clothes. They didn’t really wear makeup, or perhaps just a bit of smudgy eyeliner. It was quite a low effort look, if you didn’t count the ubiquitous black hair dye. They were also early adopters of piercings, which although commonplace today, were bizarre and shocking in the early 2000s. Ear piercings were of course common, and nose studs were already a symbol of rebellion among white people. But eyebrow, bellybutton, nipple and lip rings blew many minds.

2000s fashion trends – Emos

Emo fashion. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Emo fashion. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Another sub-culture was the Emos. Short for “Emotional” they liked to listen to sad songs and were in touch with their sensitive sides. Here the look was bight hair, creative, usually asymmetric haircuts, and much better applied eyeliner. They liked their fashion choices to be quirky, and it was all a bit more considered than the Grebs. Stripy black and white tights, skinny black jeans, fishnet tops with a bra underneath, pretty little hair clips, maybe a bit of denim, too. It was a descendant of goth and punk, but with no edge to it at all.


If you wanted to look more mainstream but hyper-fashionable, a look that was surprising, because of its comfortableness (since when has fashion been comfortable?) was fuzzy tracksuits. A lot of the early 2000s 2000s fashion trends was about looking child-like and this took that concept to the hilt by using actual baby-gro fabric. Juicy Couture pioneered bright block colour velour tracksuits and women all over embraced them. Especially Britney Spears, she was keen.

Mid 2000s

Getting quickly bored of all those hard-edged looks, in the mid-00s we turned to cosy nostalgia instead. 1960s inspired clothing was all the rage for 2000s fashion trends. Cropped tops, cowl-neck tops, a bit of crochet. Jeans were light blue or colourful and low waisted, with a gently flared, bootcut leg. Dresses and skirts over jeans were a trend for quite a while, possibly to hide the expanse of belly and hips that the low waisted jeans exposed. Many-pocketed cargo trousers were also a good bulky look, contrasting with a tiny handkerchief top. Tight mini skirts were also an option.


Jewellery was pretty simple. Hoop earrings, big and small, and studs looked neat, but long dangly earrings or big big necklaces were definitely out. Surfer-type pendants on thongs looked cool. The childishness of the early 2000s lingered on in jelly bracelets and plastic rings. For women’s hairstyles, plaits, pigtails and spacebuns continued that theme.

Late 2000s fashion 

Late 2000s fashion trends carried over the looks from the first half of the decade. People started experimenting with shape and proportion a bit more though. So, instead of miniskirts, bubble skirts started to appear. Babydoll dresses and sweater dresses were popular too. There was an 80s and 90s revival, so while jackets weren’t quite so exaggerated as those 80s power suits, there was definitely an echo of that. Acid-washed jeans started to appear, neon colours, and animal prints. Ballet flats and gladiator sandals carried on strong.

Rapper Style

2000s fashion- Jay Z in 2003. Image via Wikipedia.

2000s fashion trends –  Jay Z in 2003. Image via Wikipedia.

The rappers Jay-Z, Diddy, and Nelly, all started clothing lines just before the 2000s which skyrocketed during the decade, influencing 2000s fashion trends.

Jay-Z (Shawn Carter)’s brand, which he launched alongside Damon Dash, was called Roc-A-Wear or Rocawear, and was founded in 1999. It was called after Rock-A-Fella Records, their record label. It is still going, though the rights have been sold. Nowadays, it has licensed rights to childrenswear, sunglasses, underwear, socks and just about everything else. On its launch it was a jeans and t-shirt streetwear brand.


Sean “Diddy” Comb’s clothing brand was called “Sean John” (his given name) and it was something else entirely. It was founded in 1998. His streetwear also featured denim, alongside fur coats, in an emulation of the singer’s own style. He had catwalk shows at New York Fashion Week and a huge celebrity following, and it was officially launched at Bloomingdale’s. 1,200 people, many of them celebrities like Paris Hilton, Faith Evans, Stephen Baldwin and Sophia Vergara attended his first catwalk show, and it was simultaneously live-cast by E! TV. The rapper sold the brand but has since bought it back.


Nelly – you remember Nelly? He had that song, “Hot in Herre”? – launched a clothing line in 1997 called Vokal. The beginning of Vokal was much more downbeat – the team, which included Nick Loftis and Mohammed Martin as well as Cornell Iral “Nelly” Haynes Jr, started selling customised t-shirts from the trunk of their car and at Nelly’s gigs.

The early aughts saw fashion trends revelling in what celebrities wore, specifically Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Early 2000s fashion women were in tank tops, cargo pants, Juicy Couture, low rise jeans, and flip flops. Bonus points if you wore all this on the red carpet.