Out with the old and in with the older – Gen Z is bringing back Y2K fashion. Wide-legged pants, cropped baby tees, butterfly and claw clips, and other early 2000s fashion staples are making their way into young adults’ closets.
Millersville University’s Yasmeen Bekhit, a graduate student in the school psychology program, was recently featured in an article from the Associated Press about the topic. Bekhit shared her advice and expertise, and since then, the article has been shared in numerous online publications.
“I feel super excited to be featured,” Bekhit says. “As a woman who wears the hijab, I value representation of different cultures and backgrounds in the media.”
“I remember seeing women wearing the hijab in a Target ad a couple years ago and thinking it was the coolest thing,” she continues. “The opportunity to bring light to my style and the way I wear the hijab was very special to me.”
Bekhit shares that early on, her mother inspired her fashion sense. “My mom was the first influence I can remember inspiring me to always dress how I want. The Y2K fashion style influence comes from the nostalgic feelings of the shows I used to love on Disney Channel, music I would listen to and now social media posts on TikTok and Instagram.”
Social media has encouraged the style’s return, with #y2kfashion and #y2kaesthetic having 1.7 million and 1.6 million posts on Instagram, respectively. On TikTok, videos marked #y2kfashion have racked up over 2 billion views.
“Social media has surely influenced the wave of Y2K, but in general, I think fashion trends never truly die out. It’s more of a cycle, and when more and more people are rotated back in the cycle, we see the fashion styles get labeled as trends until they’re cycled out again,” says Bekhit. “That’s why I wear what I want. Whether it’s ‘trendy’ or not, if I like it, it’ll never be out of style.”
When assembling an outfit, Bekhit has a logical first step: she checks the weather. “When it’s warmer out, mesh tops are my go-to piece, because they’re lightweight and easy to pair with other fabrics,” she says. “During colder days, I love oversized pieces such as crewnecks and cardigans to pair with flared or baggy jeans or pants.”
“Accessories are a big factor in my style as well, so I go for more colorful tote bags and jewelry to add to the look,” she adds.
For those who are looking to start getting into Y2K fashion, Bekhit says that buying second-hand, whether in person or on websites like Depop, is helpful for finding one-of-a-kind pieces. “Flea markets and vintage shops are another great source for finding unique pieces,” she shares. “I also love supporting small businesses that I find through TikTok and will purchase items through sellers on there.”
“My advice is to pick out an outfit or two the night before you have somewhere to be,” she concludes. “Make your life a little easier by doing this to find more joy in putting your outfit on and walking out your door with confidence. Most importantly, wear whatever matches your vibe!”