When I began to write this article about early 2000s fashion trends that today's kids will never know, I didn't set out to proclaim how sorry I feel for today's youth. Instead, I wanted to point out how damn lucky Generation Z is to be avoiding the list of sartorial crimes set to follow this introduction. Whether I'm talking about repurposing a clothing item into a wholly new and totally unwarranted use, or creating an item of clothing that never should have been created in the first place, the early millennium was absolutely crawling with style disaster after disaster.
Not that I can pretend that I didn't adore them all at the time, nor can I act like I don't love looking back on them with a sense of immature superiority. Still, that doesn't mean I'm wishing these trends would return so that today's kids can experience them or so my peers can have a kick of nostalgia. Instead, I'd rather write lists like these to get my fill of fashion memories.
If you ever see me rocking early '00s trends with as much vigor as those bringing back '90s fashion trends today, please refer me back to this piece of writing. Throw it in my face and laugh at my hypocrisy because as of right now, I denounce all of these 15 early '00s fashion trends that kids today will (thankfully) never know.
1. Trucker Hats
2. Skirts Over Jeans
Did anyone honestly ever think this was a good look? Because I promise I never did. Even in 2005.
3. Popped Collars
OK, so I hate collared shirts on principle, but there's nothing worse than seeing one with a popped collar. I guess Yeezus wasn't quite as into style then as he is now.
4. Casual Long Beads
For too long a period of time, wearing just a string of beads over a T-shirt — or even multiple strings of beads over a T-shirt — was considered fashionable. I took part in this trend, but looking back, I wholeheartedly regret it.
What was/is/will ever be the point of a shrug? Can anyone tell me?
6. Cuffed Jeans
I know some may take this opportunity to rip on bootcut or wide-leg jeans that were popular in the early '00s, but I'd like to remember the atrocity that were cuffed jeans. Don't get me wrong: I roll up my jeans to this day. But the fact that capri jeans were so often manufactured with a sewn-on cuff makes me feel ill.
7. Fashion Sweatbands
Again, I definitely owned an array of stripy sweatbands from Claire's that I wore on the regular. Again, I fully regret that stylistic choice.
8. Ties Not Used As Ties
If you're not using a tie on a formal shirt, what is even the point of the tie at all? Avril Lavigne definitely led the way to some disastrous early 2000s fashion trends.
9. Jeans Without Real Pockets
Jeans without real pockets are an attack on women as a whole. What's the point of a miniature pocket that's sewn onto the garment without an opening? Answer me that.
10. Shutter Shades
I actually think Kanye West pulled these off — but only Kanye could and only Kanye ever will.
11. Asymmetrical Everything
Maybe this is a personal vendetta, but I've never been a fan of asymmetrical skirts or vests. They just look like they were badly made.
12. Cargo Pants
There's nothing redeemable about this look except that Hilary Duff is wearing it.
13. Livestrong Bracelets
Remember that period during which not owning a Livestrong bracelet meant you were a heartless, selfish monster? If you don't remember, you clearly made a smart escape.
14. Colored Skinny Jeans
OK, I can't get too mad about this trend because I owned a pair of skinny jeans in every color available, as well as some pretty ridiculous blue ones with a purple lightning bolt pattern on them. But with the fast return of wide-leg pants in fashion, I doubt we'll be seeing this look returning anytime soon.
15. Embroidered Maxi Skirts
Also known as "hippie skirts" here in the UK, the early '00s take on boho chic was never going to look good, was it?
If you've read this list without the benefit of hindsight, then good for you. But through reminiscing about such a crappy time for fashion, I can't help but feel glad that I did get to experience it — if only because it makes our sartorial mishaps all the more funny.