Y2K Fashion Reborn - How the 'Plastics' Continue to Inspire



Y2K is making a comeback in the world of fashion, from baguette bags to velour tracksuits, the 2000s are taking over! Thanks to the iconic pop cultural moments of the 2000s, including the major box office hit Mean Girls, we are able to once again appreciate and carry forward the classic looks from this notable era of fashion.


So, what is Y2K?


Y2K is an abbreviation for the term 'the year 2000'. This term was originally coined to describe the international computer glitch that was expected to cause extreme chaos as the year changed from 1999 to 2000. The term is now used to reference the style of fashion present during the early 2000s, which encompasses '90s style fashion with an added touch of modern glamour.


The early 2000s were notoriously known for showcasing a distinct style of clothing, this includes bejewelled baby t-shirts, tiny bags, and dare I say, low-rise jeans! Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears and the Spice Girls, who were known for making the trend popular, became infamously associated with the early 2000s, going on to influence the likes of other celebrities as well as popular culture in general.


If you're still confused as to what exactly Y2K fashion is, it might help us to refer to an example almost everyone is familiar with - Mean Girls. This film not only encompassed Y2K fashion at its height but continues to resonate with viewers almost decades later, remaining a cult classic. Let's take a look into the world of the 'Plastics' and how they continue to influence today.


The power of the 'Plastics'


Mean Girls depicts the story of new girl Cady trying to make her way through the trials and turmoils of American high school. As she begins to navigate through the various high school cliques she encounters the 'Plastics'. The 'Plastics' are the IT group, regarded as the the top of the school social ladder, with Regina George claiming the crown.

The 'Plastics' were renowned for their popularity and style; they oozed confidence whilst embodying major Y2K trends - let's look at some specific examples:

  • Velour tracksuits - one of the most memorable moments in Mean Girls has to be Regina's mother's matching velour tracksuit, played by the comedic genius Amy Poehler. Mean Girls made Juicy Couture tracksuits a Y2K staple, going so far as to influencing the generation of today.

"I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom." Amy Poehler as June George in Mean Girls
  • Tiny handbags - the 'plastics' were a major fan of the tiny handbags. Although the concept of a bag only big enough to fit your lipgloss is utterly impractical, we cannot ignore the fact that they provide us with an amazing accessory, regardless of the size. Such handbags are proving incredibly popular amongst people today, the tinier the better!

  • Baby Tees - the tight fitting tiny tee's worn by the 'Plastics' considerably influence the Y2K movement. Following the film, it became very popular to up-cycle/re-wear old t-shirts which were often smaller in size than usual.

  • Pleated mini skirts - since the 'Plastics' were only allowed to wear jeans or sweatpants "on Fridays", they often resorted to the pleated mini skirt as the main part of their ensemble. Following this, tennis skirts became all the rage and have recently sprung back into fashion due to summer quickly approaching.

Y2K in the modern age


In today's age, with sustainable fashion is on the rise, platforms like Depop are becoming incredibly popular. Such platforms are gold mine for finding stylish pieces of clothing, with the hashtag Y2K constantly trending. The hunt for baguette bags and baby tees are ever increasing, even I myself have fallen prey becoming an avid hoarder of tiny bags.


Through the use of social media, influencers are eagerly adopting Y2K fashion into their everyday looks thereby reinventing and keeping the trend current for today's generation. Platforms such as TikTok, incredibly popular with the younger populous, are giving those who weren't even alive in the 2000s a chance to experience and engage in popular culture and fashion from the time. To speak from personal experience, my 12 year old sister has recently discovered the culture of Y2K through the use of social media, sporting baguette bags and watching Mean Girls on the regular!


Due to the iconic nature of early 2000s popular culture, it's almost impossible for us to forget. The Y2K movement will continue to influence generations for decades to come. Mean Girls will forever remain a cult classic, alongside sustaining its iconic role in the world of fashion.


It is safe to say, the 'Plastics' defined an era of fashion and continue to do so.