How to get the look? Y2K fashion makes a comeback

When you think of the 90s, celebrities such as Hilary Duff, Britney Spears and Destiny's Child come to mind.

They are also icons of Y2K fashion – bringing us back to a simpler time when technology was slowly on the rise and all we had were flip phones.

As fashion works in cycles, trends such as loud and colourful skirts and tops are making a comeback.  

Inspired by the mid-1990s and early 2000s fashion, Y2K fashion highlights the retro mood while also mixing bright colours such as pink, purple and yellow.

This style typically involves body-hugging clothes such as mini-skirts, cropped tops and low-rise jeans. Throw on a pair of hot pink heart-shaped sunglasses and you are ready to roll!

So, why is Y2K fashion trending?

Our sudden obsession with the Y2K aesthetic may be due to same pressures people felt in the late 1990s, when people both were anxious and eagerly look forward to the rise of technology, according to media reports.

With the ongoing pandemic forcing us indoors while depending on technology to cope, it is no surprise that we wish we were back to simpler times.

"Personally, Y2K is one of my favourite fashion genres as it brings about nostalgia," Republic Polytechnic (RP) student Shauna Liang said. "It has a unique and modern vintage vibe to it and is often colourful."

Some argue that due to rapid technological advances in the 90s, many were hopeful and cautious of the future as it has the potential to change lives. This is seen through the changes in music, films and bold fashion sense.

This boldness is evident in the colours used according to RP student Leah D'Cruz. The 23-year-old said: "Honestly, the colours are what got me into Y2K as it is so bright and 'out-there'. Many people would find it ugly, but I think it really depends on how you style it."

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Liang, 20, felt there are not many in Singapore who are bold or daring enough to wear Y2K fashion. "[It] makes it more special when I see someone with that fashion sense," she said.

Besides the nostalgic Y2K aesthetic, thrifting also plays a significant part in the rise of Y2K fashion according to D'Cruz.

"I think thrifting plays a part in Y2K as most of the clothes are considered old and hard to get in modern-day stores," the 23-year-old said.

Thrifting has been in-demand as youths explore new and adventurous styles.

Lasalle student Joselle Guevarra Esquierdo, 19, said: "Thrifting has made me think out of the box when it came to styling my everyday fits. It helped me put together more interesting pieces and experiment on different styles."

She also mentioned that most of her clothes are thrifted or have been passed down to her from her mother. Following her love for thrifting, Esquierdo, together with her business partner, owns an online thrift store, thriftxchange, that sells pre-loved and reworked vintage items.

"My business partner and I have very different and distinct styles so I think one of our strengths is that we don't only cater to a certain group of people. We love experimenting on odd pieces and making them work," the Lasalle student said.

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Y2K style recommendation

To get started on your Y2K fashion journey, you will need some tips on what exactly to look out for. Apart from low-rise jeans and cropped tops, which you must be familiar with by now, other Y2K items such as mini skirts and tank tops are must-haves.

"I would suggest getting loads of mini and maxi skirts, and pair them with either a plain/coloured halter top, or a halter top with prints. Tanks tops are also great to match with any bottoms to achieve that Y2K street fashion look," Liang said.

Meanwhile, Esquierdo recommended a pair of platform boots and a basic black cardigan if you are looking for something simple.

She added: "They're both very versatile and essential when exploring Y2K fashion, but preferably in bold colours or with patterns!"

Interested in Y2K fashion? Now, where to buy them

For those who rather stay at home instead of spending hours looking through the racks, we've got you! You can get your favourite Y2K fits from anywhere, be it online or offline.

1. Lucky Plaza

Opened in 1981 and situated right in the middle of Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza is the place to thrift-shop to your heart's content. The mall offers a wide range of shops from electronics to fashion but don't forget to make a pit stop at Jollibee to refuel before you leave.

Lucky Plaza Bazaar, #06-14

Thrifting SG, #06-18

2. Shopee

For those of you who'd rather stay indoors amid the pandemic, not to worry, Shopee has many listings of affordable Y2K-style clothes.

Screengrab from Shopee

3. Carousell

It's no surprise to everyone the many hidden gems listed on Carousell. A quick search of Y2K fashion on Carousell will immediately thrust you into a Y2K heaven.

Screengrab from Carousell

Now that you have gotten your inspiration, don't forget to couple your outfit with a pair of sunglasses or headband to complete your Y2K look!