I Dressed Like it Was 2000 Again, And It Felt Amazing

Amelia Diamond | December 9, 2016

Why were there so many layered tank tops?

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The most accurate way to describe the early 2000s in terms of fashion and pop culture is to quote Charles Dickens. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Worst because G-string thongs were worn as decoration above low-rose jeans and Marissa Cooper died; best because Fantasia Barrino won American Idol, Paris Hilton published a book, Swarovski crystals covered everything and I had a much faster metabolism.

In fact, it’s that latter point that led me to consider a new extreme diet in order to reach my second tier goal weight: The 2000s Cleanse, where I aimed to rid myself of modern toxins and terms known to cause bloat, like “’90s redux” and “millennial.”

To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Where does one even begin? I gradated from 8th grade in the year 2002 and from high school in 2006. I consider this period to be the Golden Age of the Early 2000s. Tom Anderson started the whiteboard trend; emo music was in its prime. Missy Elliott dropped hit after hit after hit. Juicy Couture was the people’s choice of athleisure. The entire world’s favorite Christmas movie Love Actually came out in 2003; Mean Girls came out in 2004. Do you know what our equivalent of this is over the most recently passed four years, including 2016? Literally fucking nothing! Beyoncé doesn’t count because she is technically a 1990s import!

But I had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was my closet.

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A little known fact about me is that my AIM and MySpace name was AmeliaandFitch, stylized with the ampersand like the brand that inspired it wherever early coding allowed. I was not about that Hollister life. No American Eagle for me. I was loyal in a creepy way. I had an embroidered moose on everything in my closet. Where there wasn’t a moose, there was a Lacoste crocodile (one for every nine hours of babysitting). Because I am deeply nostalgic and possibly a hoarder, I knew there was still some “vintage” Abercrombie hanging out at my dad’s. Bless that man’s soul, he dug through the attic and retrieved the remaining items: a maroon polo, a striped button down, a white puffer and perhaps the most important part of the A&F experience: THE BAG. In pristine condition. In keeping with my diet’s regimen, I promptly hung it on my wall.

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It is here that I would like to publicly apologize to my dad for the hours he spent in the Abercrombie store with me, asking the sales children for their assistance in finding another size, drowning in the smell of Fierce and 8, scents that linger on clothing for days like campfire smoke or, I don’t know, stripper glitter. The poor man. He endured the same thing during my earlier Hot Topic phase, but I know he liked the music in that store better. To most ears, metal is more manageable than untz-ing.

Diet snack: click “last” and then “page 74” for the June 2005 Abercrombie & Fitch playlist.

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Here is my attempt at styling an Abercrombie puffer to look like Fall ’16 Balenciaga. My apologies to you, Cristóbal.

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My Northface was easily integrated into my morning wardrobe, and proved excellent for commuting to and from the gym. So, too, was the music I listened to: a wonderfully mope-y blend of Deathcab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional and Something Corporate. I was sad, however (cheer up, emo kid!) that I no longer owned the Burberry scarf and giant black Chanel sunglasses (with the pearl CCs) and Tiffany’s necklace that I used to pair it with. It took two Christmas gifts and two birthday presents to create that gem of an outfit.

Remember that in the early 2000s, it was important to let everyone know what labels you were wearing. There was no Instagram back then. You could not just “tap for credits.”

If you are wondering about the Lacoste polo in the first photo — Marissa Cooper’s collared shirt of choice — I have, in my later years, been known to wear it for certain activities. The layering tank top underneath is a pajama shirt that I had to improvise with, but never forget: you always matched your flip flops to your layering tanks. (Raise your hand if you had a pair of Rainbows and/or are getting sick reading this.)

Speaking of my girl Coop:

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Here I am in my A&F rugby shirt that I am so glad has made a comeback from the dead. I am always sort of re-watching The OC (and Friday Night Lights) so this was the easiest part of my diet. One day can we have a Hot Dad Dueling Match? Who would win? Sandy Cohen or Coach Taylor? Don’t make me choose.

Don’t worry. I watched a lot of Laguna Beach reruns during this diet, too.

Another thing I did that was very early-2000s is commute to school (work) in a backpack. I swapped my purse for one during the course of this diet and forgot how convenient they are. I also forgot how awkward they make you run when you’re late to something (sloped forward like you’re chasing a nap) and how much they hurt your shoulders.

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I never got around to finding myself a chihuahua (the French bulldogs of 2003) like Paris Hilton, but I did wear a Juicy Couture hoodie and a pair of UGGS for two consecutive weeks. There is a reason those things were popular beyond our sick consumption: COMFORT. I think we should truly bring these back, even if it’s just in private. I’m wearing them and an American Eagle cardigan that I found in the office (I know what I said earlier) as I write this.

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To be completely honest, I’ve never so easily slid into a diet. It became, as diets are “supposed to” become, a lifestyle. Not sure what that says about me, so instead, I’d like to end this the way I began and quote a literary genius: “Where are we, and what the hell is going on?” — Imogen Heap, “Hide and Seek,” as made popular in The O.C.’s Season 2 finale.

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(^That’s the Abercrombie button down, by the way. And the face I used to make in every high school MySpace photo.)

For more guinea-pig journalism, check out The Basic Project, The Douche Diet and The Gilmore Girls Diet.

Feature photo by Krista Anna Lewis.

  • If the zipper to my jeans was longer than the box of orange Tic Tacs in my tiiiiiiiiny box purse, I was NOT INTERESTED.

    • Amelia Diamond

      oh my god those stupidtinyzippers

    • Did you ever wear Dorinha jeans?? They were so popular in Vancouver, 1 inch zippers and almost always bootcut. I even went to the warehouse sale, met the designer and got so starstruck.

    • Ha! I had too much of a butt for those jeans, but the long, layering tanks came in handy to help cover up what the jeans wouldn’t!

  • Quinn Halman

    DeathUber for Cutie

    • Amelia Diamond

      shit. genius.

  • Oh wow, thank you for reminding me that it wasn’t (exclusively) my lack of style in high school, but that we weren’t given much to aspire to.
    SO MANY LAYERING TANKS.
    Also, I wasn’t allowed to shop at A&F because their catalog was ‘basically soft core porn.’

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahahh

    • Autumn

      Oh my god same here! My parents were not about that at all. I was stuck with Gap mostly.

  • Kurie Fitzgerald

    In which you live my best life. Abercrombie Kids was soooo lit.

    • Amelia Diamond

      omg kids for the cheaper versions if you could squeeze into them ohhh yes…. my northface is from the kid’s section. sleeves are basically 3 quarter on me.

      • Kurie Fitzgerald

        yes!! in the dressing room like “ok this size 16 is going to fit” same with uggs too, my feet are tiny.

  • That purple hoodie must be H&M, right? At least it looks like mine … Also: I had no idea there was an American brand using my likeness 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      That purple hoodie is a velour Juicy zip up!! My prized possession.

      YES THEY STOLE YOUR IDENTITY!!

  • HANDS DOWN THIS IS THE BEST POST I CAN EVER REMEMBER

    • tbh i’m actually about to buy a dashboard ticket for an upcoming show…….

      • Amelia Diamond

        wait what when? i saw chris chris carrabba do a show once (but not as “dashboard”?? ) and cried the whole time

        • jan 18th in boston. pretty sure they have a NY show that same week too. i saw them this summer and was weeping. they play ALL THE HITS.

          • Amelia Diamond

            um i’m going

          • Alessandra

            did you see dashboard last year when they played with third eye blind in boston? dashboard loves the bank of america pavilion FYI so keep an eye out.

          • Nikki Prsa

            Omg literally just bought tix to their show in Philly (and started following you on IG @CJKEYS2:disqus 🙂 thank you for all of this nostalgia @ameliadiamond:disqus <3

          • maybe ill go to the NY and Philly one and then quit my job and go on their entire tour! that’s smart, right?

  • Harling Ross

    The fact that your dad had that Abercrombie bag in storage is perhaps the greatest act of preemptive parental love I can conceive of

    • Jasmin Aujla

      It’s also in pristine condition! Whatta guy!

      • Amelia Diamond

        he’s an angel. he brought a juicy bag in, too.

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    Imogen Heap = the unsung hero of The O.C.

  • Jillian Newman Zak

    A mini MINI skirt from Abercrombie, a Lacoste shirt sleeve polo paired with juicy couture knee high socks and uggs. Hair scrunched and curled and then the ends flat ironed (LOL!) with lots of black eyeliner on my waterline = my most favourite 2000s outfit. This was worn the first time I went to an all ages club after slugging back a Smirnoff ice. I thought I was sooooo cool!

    • Amelia Diamond

      omg HAIR CRUNCHED!!!!!!!! and so much black eyeliner. and smirnoff ices!!! fuck how could I forget?!

      • Lauren Nikki Philyaw

        I still have my Juicy knee highs! The one early 2000’s item I still can’t part with… that’s a lie, I still have a few pairs of Abercrombie leg warmers.

  • Charlotte

    Any post with The OC references is a winner in my book! The MR article Confessions of a Non-Hugger reminded me of Sethela’s “No more hugging. Physical contact freaks me out”.

    (Sandy always wins. Have you seen him sing Solomon Burke?!)

  • Molly D

    This is hilarious and so accurate – “one for every 9 hours of babysitting”. How about those Claire’s necklaces – shitty little gem crystals hanging on clear plastic floss <3 Nothing like one of those complementing an "EAGLE" (couldn't walk into A&F w/o getting instant diarrhea) super tight t-shirt stretched across a double-A cup.

    • Amelia Diamond

      those necklaces that would give your neck a RASH?!

      • Molly D

        yes, esp. in summer. game over.

  • Mary

    This is incredible. I had all of the same outfits and now I just wonder what we will say looking back 10 years from now?! I’m a little scared. Also I maintain that The O.C.’s Rainy Day Women is the best episode of TV ever. Seth Cohen’s line (looking out of the window holding bagels) “This weather is very…reflective of my current emotional state” comes to mind on every rainy/shitty day.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I love him so much.

    • Robin

      Amelia (or anyone) could you pleeeease try to write an article ‘from the future’ looking back on our current style era? I’m DYING for it!!!!!!!

  • firstbornunicorn

    ummm, Mariah released her Christmas album in 1994…

    • Amelia Diamond

      You know, I stared at “1994” in Wikipedia when I googled this nugget before typing it, then checked again, and thought, “Wow, I cannot believe that this song ACTUALLY came out in 2004. That’s crazy!” (I have a weird undiagnosed problem with numbers)
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/abd774aeeca7e7c354edef73e2a775ac3ba042fcf60ca11922ee770ea970cdc4.gif

      • firstbornunicorn

        hahaha, I only thought 2004 was odd because I distinctively remember dancing and singing it to my cat in elementary school, and only did that when I was that young I swear

        • Amelia Diamond

          hahahahah

  • Jillian Newman Zak

    WHO WORE MISS SXTY JEANS???

    • Amelia Diamond

      UGH I USED TO WISH

    • chouette

      OH MY GOD I had these Miss Sixty’s that might have literally not even HAD a zipper, but the waistband was at least 4″ wide and they definitely had bright purple binding on the selveges for the cuffs you could cuff about a foot high up to your KNEES hahahah

    • Merillionaire

      What about Frankie B’s? No butt crack could evade that breeze.

  • KK

    I had that exact white puffy bomber.
    My best friend was so hxc (2000s “hardcore”) about layer tanks she literally puts one on under every outfit, to this day. I don’t even think she realizes it.

    • Amelia Diamond

      It was a REALLY hard habit to unlearn.

  • Katy Kautz

    This post is everything. I saw the snap of the Ugg boots the other day on ManRepeller’s account and had a feeling something early 2000s was in the works. For Gilmore Girls fans, in season 7 Rory’s friends hosted a “2002”-themed birthday party, and it was fabulous! The consistent theme of that time we could use a bit more of these days is loyalty- whether it be to comfort, to brands, to Seth Cohen. Nowadays, it’s an environment of “so, what’s next?” instead of the tried and true, “we wear pink on Wednesdays, always, no questions asked.”

    • Never thought about that–we were very loyal to our brands!

  • Samantha Lee

    THE OC was everything that’s ever been right in this world. I needed a polo for something a couple years ago, and my last resort was going into Abercrombie. I couldn’t see anything and thought I would suffocate from the cologne and have a seizure from the music. It was basically what I imagine Hell is like, except worse.
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

    • Grace B

      i have never felt so cool as the summer i watched The O.C. (2003!!!). I thought I was SOOO hip for having seen it “earlier” than everyone else (who were also probably watching)…plus it gave us Seth Cohen!!!

  • Jamie Leland

    I vividly remember the search for my first pair if skinny jeans and, once I found them, peeling them off with great urgency every day after walking home from school in +100° temps.

    • rachel

      I bought mine the same day I bought my first pair of ballet flats. The pants were dark, the flats were pleather, and it was August in Missouri. Not a good combo haha

      • Jamie Leland

        YES. I had SO MANY ballet flats from Target. Ah, ingrown hairs and sweaty feet 😀

  • Alanis

    I like the last outfit! I would wear that today! Button-downs never go out of style, and backpacks too 🙂
    I can’t believe the early 2000s was so long ago! I remember getting my first pair of gauchos and feeling SO stylish!

    • Same, on the gauchos!!! Mine were brown with the shirred waistband.

      • Alanis

        MINE WERE THE SAME! With a cropped sweater and tank top underneath haha

      • Amelia Diamond

        omg gauchos I remember those

    • pamb

      I am so old that I wore gauchos as a tween in the late 70s. Also: olive corduroy knicker (with bronze metallic ballet flats!)

      • Alanis

        Those bronze metallic ballet flats don’t sound bad tbh!

  • Eric D.

    This brought back happy memories for me! Following you around in and out of clothing stores at the mall may not be any dad’s most favorite Saturday, but we always had so much fun! And now our attic is like an archeological “dig-site” of your teenage years! Raiders of the Lost Ark of Abercrombie!
    And you know what? You look great in whatever you wear! xoxoxoxoxo

    • Amelia Diamond

      HI DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Rosaay

        This has given me life!! Best thing i’ve seen on the internet. Can we hire your dad for occasions? Say wedding speeches or just a wee boost of love? What a legend!

        • Amelia Diamond

          you definitely can

    • Hannahloupe

      Well, this is the cutest thing I’ve seen all day.

    • Charlotte

      Okay – maybe your dad wins this challenge! And this comment section!

      • Alison

        I was going to say that Coach Taylor would win v. Sandy Cohen, but now it’s clearly Eric Diamond.

    • MTS

      BRB borrowing your dad.

      • Alexis Thomolaris

        SAME!! Can we all share him. What a GEM!

    • EmilyWilson

      #dadgoals

  • This may be the best post of all times! And yes I too secretly brought back my uggs which I wear almost every night after I get home from work… sadly the Von Dutch hat still sits in my childhood bedroom right next to my poster of Ben McKenzie

    • Amelia Diamond

      omg VON DUTCH HATS

  • Autumn

    Can you please do a post about hair styles of the 2000s??! I will forever remember that time period by so many girls having highlighted crunchy hair with straight or curling-iron-curled bangs (I call them jelly roll bangs).

    • Grace B

      remember when nobody had their hair parted? I used to practice running my hands through my hair in the mirror because heaven forbid i had it parted!

      • Amelia Diamond

        YUP.

  • Shannon Buckley

    This post is literally the best thing ever. THANK YOU! I particularly loved the Something Corporate shout out; definitely had a Punk Rock Princess-themed AIM screen name at one point. (Don’t get me started on Andrew McMahon’s luscious hair in that music video… I die.) Please do more nostalgic posts like this in the future!

    • Amelia Diamond

      omg Andrew <33

  • …asking the sales children for their assistance.. Yess!

    • Grace B

      i’ll never forget walking into A&F with my grandma in like 2004 and her surprise at the shirtless boys/male teens! that was when my little bro was all about it.

  • Kirstin Bunton

    What about the cutoff denim skirt, that was already too short and would get shorter as it frayed further? With Uggs of course! Also the bit about obvious labels, so hilarious and so true. Thanks Amelia!

    • Amelia Diamond

      the denim skirt with UGGS was the hottest “going out” look. like, to the movies.

  • My early 2000s signature outfit was, as a middle-schooler: white Hollister polo layered under a bubblegum pink Aeropostale polo, layered under an A&F jean jacket, three collars popped; A&F jean mini skirt with one of those sequin stretchy belts over (not in the loops); silver hoop earrings; “loom” choker; flatironed hair with side bangs; and Birkenstocks.

    • Kelly’s Gross-o

      But flatiron technology wasn’t what it is today, so those side bangs were STICK straight, like a swatch of dry hay glued to the forehead, right?

  • Merillionaire
    • Kate

      hahahaha yes

    • In 2004, I was a student teacher at a high school that didn’t allow backpacks. They did, however, allow girls to carry purses…big ones…like this. So the boys, who were angry that girls basically got to carry bags that were bigger than a backpack while they were stuck without such luxury, started carrying these to school too. The more sequins, the better.

      The school tried to shut it down, until a boy pointed out that “If you’re letting them carry purses so they can hold tampons, I can tell you they don’t need a bag that big. No one NEEDS that many tampons.”

      I’m pretty sure they were back to backpacks the next year. 😉

    • Sam

      I never had one but my god they were everywhere

  • Roxana

    This is hilarious.

  • Christel Michelle

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Also I would be so down to bring back Juicy tracksuits.

  • Erika Galan

    I think I had 16 pairs of flip flips (one to match every extra long Abercrombie tank top, my dear). This piece took it back to the old school in the best possible way! X

  • IMO high wasted jeans are horribly unattractive. i blame this on 2000s nostalgia for i was 25, hot and bothered in 2004, wearing a no inch in seam

  • MMR

    Love this!!! and kind of loved your last outfit… #livingin2000

    • Amelia Diamond

      a blending of both worlds!

  • Grace B

    Anyone else miss YM magazine? Or ElleGirl? Reading one or two issues over and over again was one of my favorite things.

    • Amelia Diamond

      BOTH

  • pamb

    Not only do I love that you kept some of your old clothes, I LOVE that you kept the shopping bag! i am a shopping bag collector, everything from 80-s GAP to fancy designers. When I used to work for a high end designer boutique, the fancy ladies used to throw their returns in a Gucci or (gasp!) Hermes shopping bag, which they would then ask me to throw out. Nope. I re used them and gave many to my mother, so she could carry her junk around in style.

    And here in the frigid Midwest, UGGs never went out of use (I can’t say style). Wore my raspberry classic shorts today, actually!

    • Eliza

      Same Uggs never went out of use in England

  • Krista Anna Lewis

    I forgot about the tooth-y smile myspace pic pose! How could I?!?!

  • gg

    You’re takin’ me back. My senior AP English group project was a video re-imagining of Act V, Scene II of Hamlet (aka the end, where everyone dies in rapid succession) in the style of the SNL Digital Short parody of the OC Season 2 finale, featuring “Hide and Seek.”

  • Kelly

    I love this! I remember as a 15 year old ,coming to America for the first time to visit family, and going to the Abercrombie store at the mall. I got this sick khaki bomber with faux fur trim. I was obsessed with that jacket and RL polo’s.

  • I graduated from high school in 2000, so all of this was happening while I was in college.

    While we had grown out of the A&F obsession by college (because we were now so, so broke), we replaced it with Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy sweaters and tanks in every color, and sneakers to coordinate with our outfits (because you can’t trek a college campus in flip flops in January). I think we also invented the messy bun, if I remember correctly. You’re welcome.

    Oh, and we wore crazy pajama pants EVERYWHERE. My roommate made them for us for Christmas gifts one year. Mine were purple with margaritas and palm trees on them.

    I also coordinated my flip flops with my tanks! Glad to know I wasn’t alone!

    Dammit, now I want to layer up some tanks under a cardigan (my go-to outfit of choice in 2004) and watch The Hills…..

    • Amelia Diamond

      ” I think we also invented the messy bun, if I remember correctly.” YUP

    • LJIS

      We wore the big messy bun in my high school in 1989, which was an echo of the late ’60s. Ah, to be young. I think. I’m not sure I remember…

      • Ha…so that means the messy bun was just a rip-off of something I saw my cool babysitter rocking back in the day!

  • Lindsey

    This is so crazy genius. What does it say about me that I looked at all of those outfits and thought, That’s just a normal outfit??? I think I’m still mentally stuck in that time. What is it about high school that does that to us?!

    Seriously loved this so much.

  • Julia

    White mini ruffle skirt, baby spice pink cami tanks, Tiff necklace, UGGS and “How to Save a life” by The Fray on my Myspace Bar and Grill profile page…. (that’s what my sister and I called it after massive cheap wine consumption and cyber stalking). Early 2000’s I cringe when I think about you, but deep down I will always LOVE YOU.

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahahah to Myspace Bar and Grill

  • Lauren Ciriac Wenger

    Andrew McMahon (of Something Corporate) is still incredible <3 (and my favorite musician).

  • I don’t like the 2000s trends. Thank God for now lol.

  • Kelly’s Gross-o

    The brain of my inner 14-year-old is exploding right now.

    I know that a few years back you wrote an (awesome) post about how T-Swift’s 1989 compares to lyrics from bands like TBS, Dashboard, Death Cab, Brand New, etc.

    At my high school, the kids who listened to this stuff (though we denied it because it was too mainstream, poser) were dying their hair with manic panic and using dental floss to sew their pants into skinny jeans (can you believe they didn’t exist yet???!). We called the girls who wore this stuff and made the rest of us miserable by still somehow dating the hot skaters “Hollistinians.”

    If I had only known you could do both…

    • Kelly’s Gross-o

      I also went to school on the border of Chino, California. AKA the ‘ghetto’ city that some OC character was supposed to be from.. maybe we were a little bitter.

  • Kattigans

    I’m LOLzing so hard at all of this. The fact you referenced Imogene Heap! And Friday Night Lights. I graduated 4 years after you from HS and THIS captures the very essence of my *~youth~*. Nothing really compares to the disaster, wonder, and crazy time that was the 2000s *cue the British man’s voice from VH1’s the Fabulous Life of..*

  • Sam

    They still dress like this in my central Wisconsin hometown, but with waaaay more sparkle butt jeans. It’s a time capsule

  • Magda McCann

    Thanks for this one Amelia- it made me feel nostalgic and old all at once. I graduated HS in ’02 so I get wistful for those years but I also think I carried over a lot of the ’00 style into my personal aesthetic- layering tanks have never gone out of style and I’m still rocking rainbows. Thanks!

  • patricia Thévoz Ruiz

    looks amazing…. like in 2000 !
    Great idea, will try
    Patricia from Switzerland “la Boite à Madame”, The geneva’s blog

  • This inspired me to rewatch OC for the millionth time. I had a thing for Seth Cohen and weirdly -his wardrobe, and spend the decade obsessing with early Paul Frank tees and fitting Seth’s remarks into every conversation possible.

  • Tim Brooks

    RIP MARISSA