But for every fire retro fitted you had (which naturally matched your coveted kicks), there were plenty of dudes hitting the streets in bootcut jeans, oxford shoes, and an Ed Hardy V-neck. But even the most tragic of trends left its impact on men’s closets—even if that impact is reminding guys on what not to add to their wardrobes. From the all-over BAPE hoodies, to the rise and fall of the Von Dutch trucker hat, these are the The 25 Best Trends of the 2000s
Rapper Clothing Brands
For every Sean Jean, and Rocawear; there was an Akoo, Nostic, and Vokal. Throughout the 2000’s, if a rapper had a little bit of money and was willing to attach his name to a brand, he’d send out a clothing line. While most of these lines ended up at your local T.J. Maxx and A.J, Wright (R.I.P.), this trend would evolve into some impressive, critically appreciated collections—like Andre 3000’s Benjamin Bixby. While rapper clothing lines have evolved into things like the Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 1 and 2, it’s safe to say that attempts at rapper-related clothing are mixed at best.
Whether you were coming from the court, or were cutting your wrists, sweatbands had bizarre crossover appeal. In hip-hop, they were like batters gloves in the ’90s, a bizarre sports accessory that dudes starting rocking in completely non-athletic contexts. In punk and emo circles, they had the same affect—ultimately becoming an accessory that was as ubiquitous as your local mall’s Hot Topic. Today they’re relegated back to exclusive wear during the sports that inspired the trend, but we’ll lament their role as the most athletic way to show you’re unathletic.
Streaky Hair Highlights
Your sister’s favorite boy band had them. Your auntie had them. A friend had them. For a minute, you definitely considered adding some extra light into your hairstyle. Sure, in retrospect the style looked obnoxious at best (and like a skunk at worst), but back in the early-aughts it was the way to look like you hair was sun-kissed…whatever that means.
So cheap you could buy several for a dollar, but functional and simple enough to go with basically anything, the tall tee was one of hip hop’s most visible trends in the 2000s. Sure, it was hit with controversy—mostly with people who saw the T-shirt as sign of drug dealers and African American stereotypes come to life. Tall tees were banned in clubs, condemned in the press, and used as a tool to profile individuals. But at the end of the day, isn’t it just T-shirt that’s four sizes too big?
When Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears wore their Von Dutch trucker hats, they set off a headwear revolution. As the name implies, they get their name from the big rig drivers who wore (and were most likely given) the meshed hat on their long drives. It was one of the many “ironic” fashion staples of the decade, and something that would gradually fade out as the joke of dressing like Hank Hill or Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump wore off.
Don’t lie, you had one of these on your wrist. If it wasn’t the iconic yellow, everyone had at least one of these rubber bracelets wrapped around their wrists during the last decade. Nothing makes people feel like they’re making a difference to a well-known cause like copping a bracelet and wearing it everywhere—it’s one of the key philosophies of the new millennium right? Either way, once anyone and everyone began making these for just about anything under the sun, they quickly faded out of favor (Lance Armstrong’s cheating revelations certainly didn’t help either).
Popped Collar Polos
Preppy style has been a staple regardless of decade. Who doesn’t like to exude privilege and wealth at every possible moment? With the rise and dominance of teen retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, their brand of prep Americana was in every mall (and at every cool kids’ table) during the first half of the ’00s. Around the time Kanye West dropped his first album in 2004, you probably remember catching him on TRL (R.I.P.) with his prepped out style, even popping his own collar on the cover his Freshman Adjustment mixtape. Hey, if 2000s hip-hop heavyweights Three 6 Mafia can name one of the biggest hit songs of the decade after popping your collar, then there’s definitely something to this aughts-era trend.
Shouts to Bape (and the pursuing copycats) for this one. Aside from the full-zip hoodies, Bape and Billionaire Boys Club helped to front the all over prints onto everything from T-shirts to hats. Generally involving a repeating icon or graphic, coupled with an arrangement of pastel colors, these are the types of pieces that made sure everyone knew your personal style from at least two miles away. Whether you were a fan of “Dipset Anthem,” or just were really into The Neptunes, it’s more likely than not that you had something that was completely covered in print.
Yes, only the bravest of men would dive deep into the deep-V-neck game, but we’d be fronting if we didn’t call out this as a trend. As retailers like American Apparel became more ubiquitous, the T-shirt crossed the country, overtaking the crewneck shirt as the de facto garb of hipsters and mall shoppers alike. While a V-neck’s original purpose is to operate as undershirt, the piece quickly became as commonplace as the graphic tee of the 1990s. But by the end of the decade, there were more people making fun of the V-neck tee than there were people wearing it.
Hoodies Under Blazers
Straight out of the closets of John Legend-wannabes , this is a reminder that sometimes, you really can’t dress down formalwear. A sign of a dude who really couldn’t make up his mind, it was a combination of the casual and formal; a predecessor to the modern layering games of today. Mostly worn by dudes who looked like Common in the mid-00s, it’s like dudes who wear denim, a sportcoat and dress shoes. You end up looking like a dad at best, or end up as the subject of a Kanye West rant at worst.
Geek chic is an invention of the 2000s. As traditionally nerdy pursuits and topics hit the mainstream (thanks Internet and rapid technological development), so did the desire of looking like Steve Urkel. The common move was to wear a bowtie with a J.Crew dress shirt tucked into jeans. Bonus points if suspenders made an appearance as well. As prep made a resurgence in the latter-half of the decade, dudes really thought they could make the look work in daily life. Sadly, with the rise of Sprezzatura roughly around the same time, most dudes just looked like professors at a southern university.
Remember how we talked on the bizarre fusion of influences that created the “geek chic” trend? While the 2000s saw a rise in suburbanites shopping in thrift stores, it became ever more popular to dress like your grandpa. From the end of emo music’s effect on the mainstream, into the rise of hipster culture at the end of the 2000s, cardigans made your grandparents one of the most relevant style icons. And don’t lie: you know you wanted a Comme des Garçons PLAY cardigan with the heart.
Big Face Digital Watches
The 1980s really were in full revival during the new millennium. What better way to pay homage to the decade than with a giant Casio or G-Shock. Maybe it had to do with all of the Flavor-Flav on VH1 during the decade, but the bigger the watchface the better when it came to your timepiece. Retro-meets-modern, and usually in a loud-as-hell colorway, these were the watches to rock if you didn’t make a ton of cash, but still wanted to stunt.
We’re certain that Kanye didn’t know what he started when he got the ball rolling on shutter shades. Obliviously stemming from West’s unstoppable album, Graduation, shutter shades became the de facto pointless accessory; someone would be caught wearing a pair in literally any and every public place—from senior prom, to the New Jersey boardwalk. Part of the 80’s revival of the late 2000s, the shutter shades are actually a piece that came out of archives of eyewear designer Alain Mikli. Fortunately, due to the cyclical nature of fashion (or the fact that you genuinely cannot see where you’re going wearing a pair of these), they faded out by the time Ye went into hiding post-2009 VMAs.
Airbrushed tees were a product of the ’80s, but the 2000s drew inspiration from the streets biggest artists. Brands like Ecko Unltd., Fubu, and PNB Nation, all incorporated spraypaint and street art into their clothing in same fashion or another. Ecko even had his own branded video game centered around being a graffiti artist. Even Shepard Fairey’s Obey made its mark near the end of decade, thanks in part to his iconic “Hope” portrait of Barack Obama.
Mitchell & Ness made a killing outfitting dudes in retro jerseys and fitteds, reviving old school logos in such a big way that by the time Allen Iverson was dominating the NBA, it was nearly impossible not to see him without something retro related. Yes, the style became way too oversaturated way too quickly, but there’s no denying the fact that this trend helped spawn the customizer movement we see today via Don C and Eric Emanuel.
We doubt that more dudes were wearing boots at the turn of the century, but for some reason, the bootcut jean saw an immense swell in availability in the 2000s. Fitted like a straight leg jean but with a wider opening at the base. If you think of them like the menswear answer to the ladies “flare” jean, then you wouldn’t be too far off. While they do have their purpose—mainly to accommodate wearing high rise boots—the practical nature of straight leg jeans overrides the need for jeans with an OD leg opening.
Matching Outfit to Sneakers
Getting ready was a process in the 2000s. While most guys today compliment their footwear to their outfit, its safe to say that most dudes aren’t making sure that their sneakers replicate the exact colors of their head-to-toe kit. Spurred on by more outlandish colorways and a burgeoning sneakerhead scene, guys wouldn’t just hunt for classic colorways of their favorite sneakers on release day—they’d be buying sneakers to match clothes in their closet. Of course, this meant nothing if you didn’t have the the hat to match, natch.
Easily one of the biggest brands of the decade, American Apparel’s current financial straits shouldn’t eclipse their power as the basics brand for everyone from parents to hipsters. Initially it was a pretty smart concept: provide shoppers with basics, and make it all ethically at a factory in L.A. It was a concept that was refreshing after the allover-print, color saturated-streetwear wave that Nigo rode into the States.
Perhaps it was the rise of pop punk and the Vans Warped Tour in the middle of the decade that spawned these shaggy haircuts. Maybe it was the introduction of Justin Bieber back in 2008 that sealed the style into popular culture. Either way, the shaggy, bangs-heavy haircut became such a cultural icon in its own right, it was immortalized on Bieber’s wax statue (inevitably, one of many). The style likely faded after Bieber himself cut his locks and adopted the now-basic undercut coif—a time honored tradition of a boy becoming a slightly older boy/man.
Colored Skinny Jeans
If your jeans weren’t sunshine yellow or slime green, were you really wearing jeans in the 2000s? Everyone from backpack rappers to indie rockers had at least one pair of jeans that were anything but a shade of indigo. It’s not as if these skinnies were different than any pair you’d find on the street today, but thanks to the rise of raw denim and dad jeans (and the fall of acts like the New Boyz), people kept their pants away from the pastel color palette.
The choice of VH1 reality show stars and celebrity parents alike, these brands ran amok in the mid-aughts. You’re likely familiar with the chief offenders; a combination of Ed Hardy, Affliction, and Xtreme Couture plastered their over-the-top tattoo inspired designs on nearly every D-list celeb from Hollywood to the Jersey Shore (literally). If a child star or ex-boy band/girl group were still clinging to relevancy, it’s likely they would be doing so clad in one of these brands.
Well before class was for men and swag was for boys, fedoras had a much different reputation. Around the time fitteds were hitting peak popularity, the retro headwear was gracing the heads of dudes with a more classic style (along with R&B dudes). Sure the hat isn’t out-and-out terrible, but with the saturation of trashy trillbys at nearly every big box retailer, the classic style of the fedora was tarnished beyond foreseeable repair.
For all the love that backpacks have today, messenger bags were the motion back in the aughts. As fixie bike culture began to swell, the bag of choice for bike messengers everywhere came right with it. While their practicality has never shifted, the lack of people actually adopting bike messenger positions left people opting for the easier, more universal backpack instead.
You know when you see someone wearing a scarf in the summertime, or inside a well heated building? You can blame the 2000s for that one. Keffiyehs or circle scarves, there’s little question that the rise of hipster culture is the genesis of this temperature defying trend. Like a necklace, the most common way to wear this style would be with a simple T-shirt and skinny jeans. While this was certainly more rampant during the ’00s, in no way has this trend died out. One trip to a Brooklyn dive bar with live music, and you’ll stumble across this at some point.
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