Fake tans, thin, dark eyebrows, Kabbalah bracelets, and headbands — these are probably a few of the early 2000s fashion trends that you knew, loved, and watched via the fashion on The Hills . They were also probably inspired, at least in part, by Lauren Conrad and her Hollywood Hills reality TV girl gang. While the simplicity of what was shown on The Hills is striking me while re-watching now, nine years after it first aired, it's the fashion trends of our teenagerdom that have me wincing and laughing.
I mean, the show was set on a fashion college campus and at one of the biggest teen magazines at the time: We were definitely supposed to be watching for the fashion. Only, I'm a little hesitant to call what I was witnessing fashion. There was a lot of very purposeful accessorizing happening, but halter tops and flip flops wouldn't get anyone hired at Vogue these days.
In my youth, I definitely layered two polo shirts and threw on a lot of black eyeliner and thought it was "fashion." While we all definitely weren't as chic as Lisa Love, looking back at the fashion and beauty trends of the early '00s reminds me of feeling OK about experimenting with my look, and a desire to express myself through clothing. The quest for the perfect printed scarf to tie as a headband lead me to thrift stores and a hella unique wardrobe. Plucking my brows within an inch of their life made me appreciate my thick, full ones now. But we made it!
LC is now a lifestyle brand magnate, I'm no longer copying every single thing I see on reality TV, and a lot of us have a bit more confidence in our own personal style. To celebrate, here are 15 '00s trends that The Hills brought to us to make you reminisce and also feel a little secondhand embarrassment:
1. There Were A Lot Of Headbands
Like, a lot.
When you're an intern and going through college, I guess doing your hair isn't at the top of your priority list — even if you're working at Teen Vogue.
2. We Always Want To Look Our Best For Lisa
"The Teen Vogue style is all about the mix," which means, not being so "matchy-matchy" because "the Western look is done" mixing up a girly top and white jeans with a structured blazer. This is actually still good advice, thanks Olivia.
3. Lining The Top And Bottom Lids Was Practically Mandatory
Neither you nor LC were ready to leave the house without a solid black ring around your eyes.
4. If In Doubt, Accessorize With A Long String Of (Probably Faux) Pearls
I know it wasn't just me who threw on a strand of imitation pearls over cute day dresses and concert t-shirts for an instant "ladylike edge." Lauren could probably afford the real thing, but mine were totally thrifted and I thought it made me so alt.
5. You Know You're Becoming An Adult When You Have Good Highlights
Going from a brash, brassy color and graduating to a proper dye job with good, subtle highlights is a sign of growing up. It's definitely no coincidence that LC's hair got better as she got her crap together in life.
6. Kabbalah Bracelets Used To Be A Fashion Thing
Remember the days when you used to check a celeb's left wrist to see if it had a thin, red string bracelet? Thanks, Madonna.
7. The Easiest Way To Show People You Were "California Cool" Was To Throw On A Giant Scarf
Mary Kate Olsen started the oversize trend, but a big set of sunnies with a breezy scarf was definitely a West Coast style staple.
8. Black Was The Only Acceptable Nail Polish Shade
Whether you wore it perfectly manicured and glossy or matte with a purposefully distressed look, your nail polish drawer probably contained only different shades of black and a Sharpie for touchups.
9. Liberal Self-Tanner Application Was Encouraged
I get wanting or feeling pressured to have a great, dark tan when you live in California. However, we were all a little overzealous when self-tanners became more widely available in new formulas. We forgive you, Audrina.
10. Two Words: Bang Braids
When it was time to retire the headbands, LC had to keep her hair off of her face somehow. Honestly, if you didn't rock a bang braid were you even alive in the '00s?
11. Eyebrows Were... Sparse
Lauren always had great arches, but I can't help but be glad that we've embraced a less harsh, fuller brow.
12. Velour Sweatsuits Were Inescapable
Even if you just wore it around the house and didn't try and turn it into a fashion statement, you probably owned one of these little slices of the '00s.
13. Visible Bra Straps Were Sort Of Acceptable
Thin-strapped, cami tank tops were just about everywhere and visible bra straps, or the even more conspicuous clear ones, were everywhere.
14. Your Dude Wasn't Fashionable Unless He Had Dog Tags
Bonus points if they were embellished.
15. Editors In All Black Will Always Be Chic
No matter how many youthful fashion missteps get made and how many styles and trends are experimented with, fashion editors will always be the voice of reason and our sartorial anchors.
Images: MTV(20); Giphy(7)