Fashion Is Getting Dangerously Close to the 2000s

A plea to designers to pretend this decade didn’t happen

08.20.14
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Cropped pastel polos were the thing. We can probably thank Marissa Cooper for that.

You know what else was cool? Peasant skirts — low slung, white, eyelet peasant skirts that hit directly at the knee or fell all the way to the floor, and sometimes you’d wear it with a white ribbed tank. Or maybe you were more of a BP spaghetti-strap top kind of girl.

Either way you definitely had a short denim jacket that you paired with your velour sweatsuit bottoms on casual days and with your three-tiered miniskirts for parties. And belts. There were so many belts arbitrarily slung around hips that never once considered their predecessors were created to hold up pants.

If you were of the Taking Back Sunday persuasion, you relied instead on a diet of cargo pants and rubber bracelets, nostalgic cartoon references and black t-shirts with pop-tinged misanthropic statements (“I see dumb people”) in white writing.

It didn’t matter if you considered yourself Aberpreppy or Emo. Unlike the holy ’90s, there was no real sartorial divide when considering the nuances of cafeteria geopolitics — in the year 2000, everyone’s style was generally bad. It was as if an entire decade of clothing had deferred its acceptance to college and instead retreated into its parent’s basement, and what once had been cool finally started to weather, like a ’99 hangover turned chronic Millennium migraine.

Even the decade’s name sucked: “The 2000s.”

There was no ring to it.

I feel like I can say all of this because it was the first 10 years of my life where I was actually present for the outfit decision-making process. Those of us born around ’88 are always taking credit for the Blossom or Zach Morris references in our TBTS, but let’s be real. That was our parents’ beautiful insanity — they got dressed in the ’90s; we were just being dressed.

Meanwhile the 2000s were our responsibility. I knowingly spent my allowance at Hot Topic, admit to purchasing pseudo-punk bondage pants and a few years later, kitten heels. In 2005 I made multiple conscious decisions to layer different polo shirts over one another to coordinate with my flip flops, so like a little sister that no one else is allowed to talk shit about, regarding “the 2000s,” I can.

And I will. At least for a moment longer, because what this all boils down to is a plea: a plea to beg designers to pretend like 2000 – 2008 didn’t happen.

We know fashion loves nothing more than subculture nostalgia, and everyone has exhausted the ’20s flapper. Mod’s been done. So has punk. The hippie influence has become omnipresent. The ’80s have been usurped by Urban Outfitters, and the three ’90s ideals — grunge, Gap and minimalism — are all currently defining what it means to get dressed.

Which means we’re running out of decades.

We’ve even lapped some of the aforementioned twice.

The only untapped genre is whatever you call the years bookmarked by Lizzie McGuire/late Buffy/early True Blood/The O.C. It was a golden age for television but the dark age of clothing. So please, Miuccia. Karl. Phoebe. Nicolas. I beg you. Pretend it never happened. Redux the redux of the ’90s, for all I care. Bring back mullets and poodle skirts.

Anything’s better than a Marissa Cooper baby polo.

Illustration by Charlotte Fassler.

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