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Everyone’s getting nostalgic for the noughties

There’s nothing more comforting in a pandemic than returning to your mum’s sofa. To be immediately presented with a chopped-up apple and a slightly-grating lecture about the trashy shows you watch. You might have imagined yourself at least wearing a different outfit by this age, but shockingly you’ve sat down in a pair of Juicy Couture tracksuits and a Groovy Chick t-shirt. The difference is that you’ve actually bought these yourself, from Depop and ASOS, and that strangely, they cost more now. It may not be a coincidence that such trends have made a return in 2020, a year in which we have had to reconsider everything about our lives and our identity.  

Velour seems to have made the most significant comeback as Urban Outfitters now stocks a wide variety of pastel tracksuits and boob-tubes, adorned with the classic rhinestone logo. Rhinestones returned to Depop earlier this year, and although the trend is probably more about the retro noughties look, there is also something sentimental about their glittering and reflective form: your mum could never lose you in Sainsbury’s! But the combination of rhinestone and velour goes even further back into the depths of Paris Hilton’s world, who recently collaborated with Kim Kardashian on a recreation of their old velour looks. Her latest Netflix documentary gives an insight into how those years actually ran their course for her, and so the style trend carries with it not only a sense of nostalgia, but also a sense of having moved on and grown up. With the more put-together style of the 10s, we still look at low rise velour with raised eyebrows, but there is some fun in wearing nostalgic looks, even if they feel a bit silly.

Noughties hair trends have also made a return; I slipped into Claire’s the other week, making extra sure that no one I knew saw me, to pick up some colourful butterfly clips. I actually don’t remember wearing them in the noughties, but it is nice in a difficult year like 2020 to feel a bit youthful. This year has forced many to grow up more quickly than they’d like, so I’m sure that the need to feel young plays a part in these trends. Straightened hair has always been cool, but it has also only been this year that the Rachel hair from the latter seasons of Friends has come back in full force – so much so that Keratin straightening treatment has become more popular again (it does actually work, by the way – my hair is so soft!).

TikTok has been a great central platform from which the ‘Y2K’ trends disseminate; it is a new way of seeing style – more animated than Instagram and often more creative. Even the dance trends on the platform feel nostalgic – reminiscent of the ‘performances’ we used to give our parents as children, and often to similar tunes. The great pressure to be productive in lockdown can be counteracted by pastimes that serve no purpose and represent a return to childhood activities in a time before we realised that our time is worth money. 

Noughties music outside of TikTok has also been a great presence in my 2020. It was too painful in Lockdown 1.0 to listen to contemporary house or club remixes because I was so desperate to be back in the club. But ‘Evacuate the Dancefloor’ and ‘Disturbia’ don’t carry such connotations or memories, instead reminding me of kitchen dance parties with my unwilling and diabetic cats. It has made me all the more impatient for Rihanna’s next album. Making life more fun in such ways has become incredibly important in times of pub and club closures; I very quickly got sick of Zoom or YouTube workouts, and so Destiny’s Child’s ‘Lose My Breath’ became vital for my fitness.

I think the prevalence of noughties trends at this time arises from the discarding of the need to be or feel ‘cool’. Wondering what other people think of your looks or hair accessories is no longer a factor when you’re struggling to pay rent, and the light-hearted colours and fabrics of the noughties have very much done their part in lifting spirits this year. 

Image: lalababerox via Flickr