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90s and y2k trends collage

Who Wore It Better: the 90s or Y2K?

They’ve both made notable reappearances in the trend cycle this year, but which era triumphs in the battle of the decades?
By: Maddi John

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Who Wore it Better: the 90s or Y2K?

Who Wore it Better: the 90s or Y2K?

They’ve both made notable reappearances in the trend cycle this year, but which era triumphs in the battle of the decades?

By: Maddi John

Scrunchies versus hair clips. Velour versus denim. Flared versus Baggy. As far as fashion is concerned, what goes around certainly does come right back around, as trends from both the 90s and 2000s have found their way back into our wardrobes in the last few years. But with so much nostalgia in the air, deciphering which trend came from which era can get lost in translation. Come along with Liberty as we decode the decade's fashion trends. The question is: will you return to the baguette bags and crop tops of the 90s, or the low rise jeans and micro mini skirts of Y2K?


The Baguette:

When it comes to an IT-bag that endures, the baguette bag is a top contender. It was back in the late 90s that the baguette bad first became a cultural phenomenon, loved by Carrie Bradshadw in Sex and the City. For an after-hour companion that fits all your on-the-go essentials in, opt for Liberty’s Betsy Shadow Show shoulder bag - a recycled polysatin plus one boasting a reimagined take on the classic 90s silhouette. Or jump on the Barbiecore bandwagon with JW Pei's pink option that features a floral check pattern that'll transport you right back to the 90s.

JW PEI Becci Recycled Shoulder Bag, £60
Liberty Betsy Shadow Show Shoulder Bag, £375
JW PEI Becci Recycled Shoulder Bag, £60

Cropped Up

While both the 90s and 2000s were partial to a crop top, it was the celebrities in the 90s who gave this trend such staying power. Everyone from Kate Moss to Gwyneth Paltrow were seen in a midriff-revealing number back in the 90s, and with its versatility, it’s no wonder the crop top is still around. Whether layered under a cable knit or paired with matching jeans (double denim is a yes from us), Gimaguas' Yamacha Top, £105, captures the essence of 90s with its indigo-denim dye and embossed stud detailing. For a dose of colour, look to Paloma Wool’s Damasia Crop-Top, £115 – a cotton crop top with a unique rippled water effect and flattering U-shape neckline.

Paloma Wool Damasia Crop-Top, £115
Gimaguas Yamacha Top, £105
Paloma Wool Xela Top, £100

Big and Baggy

With comfort dressing back on the cards since lockdown, the runways have recently rediscovered the motto the bigger, the better; styles seem to be getting, bigger, longer and a lot like the styles popularised by iconic hip hop idols from the 90s. One of the prevailing fits of the decade was baggy pants, and more specifically, oversized jeans which have made a favoured return to street style this year. Distressed and relaxed, the Frame Le High’N’Tight Wide Leg Jeans, £255, are the perfect nod to the 90s with their wide-leg silhouette and faded-blue denim. As for the oversize sweatshirt look, Acne Studios’ Bubble Logo Sweatshirt, £350, is a trendy playful fleece, that can be worn over cycling shorts for those looking to recreate Princess Diana’s famed athleisure style.

Acne Studios Bubble Logo Sweatshirt, £350
Frame Le High’N’Tight Wide Leg Jeans, £255
Ganni Oversized Tech Puffer Jacket, £395

The Slip

Where partywear is concerned, there is no dress more emblematic of the era than the slip dress. With its silky satin touch and thin spaghetti straps, the slip is one of the more minimalist styles from the 90s, but daring all the same. Supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell are among many to have fortified the never-ending appeal of the sleek slip-on. The Acne Studios' Satin Dress, £380, is effortlessly sleek, but for a more contemporary take on the slip dress, look to Rixo’s Benedetta Dress, £395. With its delicate georgette overlay and embellished neckline of roses, this flattering piece makes for a unique addition to your evening edit.

Rixo Benedetta Dress, £395
Acne Studios Satin Dress, £380
Paloma Wool Chantal Dress, £125


The Micro Mini

Oh, the mini-skirt. When cult chick flicks Clueless and Mean Girls hit the movie screens, mini skirts became a hot topic in the 2000s. Typically styled with a crop top and Ugg boots, the mini skirt was vast and varied, ranging from denim and leather materials to pleated and low-rise styles. For a mini number that pays tribute to the trend honourably, Acne Studios’ Brown Corduroy Mini-Skirt, £300 is a playful piece with a speckled brown print made from soft cotton corduroy. Style with knee-high boots and a polo-neck top to fully adopt a retro-infused look.

Acne Studios Brown Corduroy Mini-Skirt, £300
House of Sunny Victoria Plaid Mini-Skirt, £75
Acne Studios Denim Mini-Skirt, £350

Get Low

One of the more controversial trends to arise from the Y2K closet is the low-rise trouser. While Rihanna, Britney Spears and Destiny’s Child might have praised the notorious hip-hugger style, this denim trend didn’t last long past the early 2000s, with skinny jeans and high-rise fits taking its place. Love them or loathethem, the fashion cycle has spoken, and low-rise jeans are back. If this is the trend for you, Ganni’s Iry Jeans, £215, are a staple blue pair that will liven up your daily denim edit with their flared leg and vintage-wash detailing. For a relaxed fit, look to AGOLDE's Low Rise Baggy Jeans, £270, that sit low on the hips with an elongated, wide leg and baggy silhouette.

AGOLDE Low Rise Baggy Jeans, £270
Ganni Iry Jeans, £215
Gimaguas Cross Trousers, £120


As the most practical trouser of all, it's a wonder why cargo trousers ever went out of style. Utility and practicality are what made this functional pair of trousers popular in the early 2000s. Worn oversized with excess pockets, reinventions of the classic cargo have been featured in many stellar street-style moments. Crafted from blue and white denim, the Gimaguas Denim Cargo Trousers, £120, add a utilitarian edge to the classic cargo with their relaxed, flared shape and low-rise waist. For a more neutral look, look to the alternative colourway – a creamy white cargo that’s easy to style with patterns and prints.

Gimaguas Denim Cargo Trousers, £120
Our Legacy Trekking Cargo Trousers, £270
Gimaguas Denim Cargo Trousers, £120

Eye-Catching Shades

The aughts were a bold time for eyewear. Oversized, rimless, wrap-around sunglass styles are all emblematic of the Y2K era and made a notable comeback early this summer. Like many of the 2000s trends, sunglasses from this decade lean on the kitschy side, with coloured lenses and fun frame shapes being the go-to shade. For a popular Y2K pair, opt for Gucci’s Rectangular Acetate Sunglasses, £255, which feature a rectangle-framed silhouette and iconic logocentric temples. Or if you’re following the aughts’ more-is-more motto, try Loewe x Paula's Ibiza Flower Sunglasses, £310.

Gucci Rectangular Acetate Sunglasses, £255
Le Specs Slinky Sunglasses, £75
Loewe x Paula's Ibiza Flower Sunglasses, £310

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