Butterfly clips and mood rings: how to incorporate more-is-more Y2K trends


TORONTO – Take a look around and it’s hard to miss: the more-is-more esthetic of the turn of the millennium is having its comeback.

What was until recently a bugaboo of the fashion world is popular once again, in line with the oft-cited 20-year trend cycle. Bootcut jeans, bucket hats and baby tees have seen a resurgence among the style cognoscenti over the last several years, and the fad has now made its way to the masses.

“Y2K fashion is excess. It’s very embellished; it’s very bright and bold,” said Hina Low, a size-inclusive Toronto-area stylist who works under the name Heensie.

For people in their 20s and 30s, Heensie said, so-called Y2K style serves as a reminder of childhood. Many of the celebrities seen sporting the trend, from model Bella Hadid to rapper Ice Spice, are in that age group.

“It’s escapism through nostalgia,” she said.

But those hoping to hop on the trend need not go all-out, she added.

“There’s little nods to it,” she said. “Silhouette has become a big thing. There’s a lot of cropped shirts, and micro cardigans and little camis with oversized bottoms — oversized trousers, cargo pants.”

Heensie said the most accessible way of incorporating the style into your existing wardrobe is through accessories.

“I had a client who wanted a mood ring. That’s so fun, right?” she said, adding that others have sought out tiny, colourful sunglasses and butterfly clips.

Ahead of the Juno Awards earlier this month, The Canadian Press asked artists how they felt about 2000s nostalgia, and whether they’d incorporate it into their wardrobes.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

Andrew Phung, actor, “Run the Burbs”

“It makes me feel like I still got it. I’m like, ‘I know that, I’ve had that, I can do that,’ whereas if it’s a fashion that you don’t get and it’s a bit too far out, you don’t connect to it. What I love is the bringing back of some baggy jeans. Jeans were getting too tight and too low cut at a certain point.

What I don’t know I love back is sweater vests. But I was a huge lover of the sweater vest. I loved it so much, so I’m just unsure if I’m ready to welcome it back. But I’m not going to hate. If you want to bring it back if you want to rock it, do it. I don’t judge you in any way. …I’m just not sure if I’m ready to go back to that point in my life.“

Rêve, singer-songwriter, “CTRL + ALT + DEL”

“I love that Y2K fashion is coming back. I think it’s so fun, I think it’s so colourful. It reminds me of ‘90s rave, and I always cite that as one my biggest influences. I love the hairstyles from that era. The spikes and the colours…I could never get into bucket hats because they never looked great on me. But people look great in them.”

Dom Vallie, rapper, “Been Himma”

“Being a 2000 baby, I’m all for it. That’s my era. If they bring it back, I’m down for that. Ice Spice, I see you, girl! It’s bright and loud, and stepping out of the boundaries of just normal clothes and making it fun. I like making things fun.”

Haviah Mighty, rapper, “13th Floor”

“I feel like it’s street style, which crosses over with hip hop style. I also feel like everything kind of comes back…I think it’s really, really dope. We’re seeing millennials, but whatever comes after me…Gen Z, they’re dressing old school compared to how even we dressed in high school, because it means they’re finding roots, like having vinyl players when we had MP3s, wearing flare bellbottom pants, when we had moved to straight jeans. It’s cool to kind of see it come back. It just shows that the culture that came before us didn’t die.

Kirk Diamond, singer-songwriter, “Reggae Party (feat. Kairo McLean and Finn)”

“I won’t be doing it. I definitely will not be doing it. I saw pictures of me in the early 2000s, and I would not. I look like I just closed my eyes and dipped, and whatever came up, I threw on. Pants were five times my size, same with my shirt. I was swimming.”

Preston Pablo, singer-songwriter, “Flowers Need Rain”

“I actually just did a music video shoot recently where I was dressed up in a bunch of Y2K type stuff. I was born in 2001, so that year for me is also nostalgic. I was growing up during it…It just looks cool, bro. It just looks fire.”

Tate McRae, singer, “I Used to Think I Could Fly”

“Sometimes fashion gets a little basic as time goes on, and I feel like Y2K was so bold. You never knew what to expect. I feel like my whole fashion was influenced by the ‘90s and that whole era of pop stars and celebrities and I feel like I look to that for reference all the time…Our best looks are always gonna come back around in 15 years.”

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2023.

-with files from David Friend


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