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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?

Read More: The best bags to invest in now


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.

Ganni Mini Knot Shoulder Bag, £195
Liberty Betsy Shadow Show Shoulder Bag, £375
JW Anderson Bumper-12 Leather Crossbody Bag, £650

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.

Ganni Sheer Voile Cropped Off-Shoulder Smock Top, £195
Horror Vacui Isa Mitsi Tana Lawn Cotton Scallop-Trim Smocked Top, £255
House of Sunny Sunfade Knit Cardigan, £92

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.

Uniform Bridge 1960 Red Sweatshirt, £95
Levi's Ribcage Wide Leg Jeans, £110
A.P.C. Item Sweatshirt, £195

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.

Dries Van Noten Slip Dress, £445
Paloma Wool Sora Asymmetric Two-Piece Midi-Dress, £210
Rixo Benedetta Dress, £395


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.

Paloma Wool Adaki Pinstripe Mini-Skirt, £140
FARM Rio Summer Garden Mini-Skirt, £180
Acne Studios Denim Mini-Skirt, £210

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.

AGOLDE Fusion Low Rise Jeans, £290
Ganni Heavy Denim Wide Drawstring Jeans, £235
Acne Studios Loose Fit Jeans, £320


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.

Paige Drew Cargo Trousers, £265
Gimaguas Tuva Trousers, £70
Fortela Gerry Gabardine Trousers, £270

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.

Gucci Rectangular Acetate Sunglasses, £255
Isabel Marant Acetate Angular Sunglasses, £220
Loewe x Paula's Ibiza Flower Sunglasses, £310

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