The simple life: Why the noughties revival isn’t as bad as you think

Updated on September 12 2017

Ah, the noughties. It was a time when Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were the equivalents of today’s Kim and Kourtney Kardashian. Hilary Duff in cargo pants and a newsboy cap was considered the pinnacle of cool. Let’s not even talk about Lindsay Lohan’s pre-downfall tween queen status (although we have to admit, Mean Girls really made its lasting mark).

The internet as we know it was in its salad days. We didn’t have Instagram dictating what’s cool and what’s not in the simplicity of a scroll. Heck, our form of mobile communication technology was limited to flip phones or Blackberries and their scanty three-inch screens — which, by the way, weren’t touchscreens. The first-generation iPhone was only launched during the latter part of the ’00s as a sleeper hit.

paris hilton vetements juicy couture noughties
Paris Hilton in a red velour track suit (left) and Vetements’  Spring 2017 Juicy Couture collaboration shown during Paris Couture Week.

But the massive, infectious hit we wish never happened? The Juicy Couture velour tracksuits. Spotted on the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, these unflattering co-ords were favoured by celebrities, socialites and Hollywood’s ‘It’ girls in the early 2000s.

Interestingly enough, it seems that these Juicy tracksuits are now making a comeback — a telltale sign that fashion’s creatives are currently delving deep into the noughties’ archives (a.k.a. paparazzi shots of The O.C. gang and probably stills from Lizzie McGuire) for inspiration.

It started off innocently, riding on the athleisure wave in the form of non-velvet tracksuits. But when Demna Gvasalia decided to go for the full monty by tapping on the original perpetrator itself last year in July — bringing Juicy Couture into, gasp, Paris Couture Week — it was too late. The Vetements x Juicy Couture spin-off (intact with its signature bedazzled “juicy” bum) officially heralded the inevitable return of the noughties.

The worst part is, we did see it coming. What other fashion creatives approached in a beat-around-the-bush method, Gvasalia simply declared it like it was. It’s obvious: Fashion loves nothing more than subculture nostalgia, and everyone has almost exhausted the minimal ’90s by now. Mod’s been done. So has punk. The hippie influence has become omnipresent. The ’80s have seen more than their fair share, and the three ’90s ideals — grunge, the Gap style (coined as normcore now), and minimalism — are all currently defining what it means to get dressed.

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We’ve ran out of decades to reminisce. There’s no way we can get around skipping the noughties, as painful as it may be.

paris hilton kendall jenner noughties
Paris Hilton’s 21st birthday slinky dress was the inspiration behind Kendall Jenner’s.

Soon after Vetements’ revered validation of Juicy Couture, everyone followed suit, and made it acceptable to extract raw elements from the noughties. Bella Hadid jumped on the bandwagon with a chainmail party dress à la noughties party queen Paris Hilton for her 20th birthday bash in October, before fellow trendsetter Kendall Jenner actually referenced Hilton’s 21st birthday get-up for her own a month after.

Fast forward to late 2017, and we’ve seen a flurry of 2000s trends cementing their resuscitation: Cargo pants, camo prints, low-rise jeans, newsboy caps, halter scarf tops — the list is endless, really. We’ve also seen Paris Hilton getting more features in Vogue than she ever did in her golden era.

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Even Celine Dion is having a major resurgence. The songbird was dubbed the unlikely fashion icon of the year following her major couture videos with the Condé Nast spearhead and numerous Vetements sightings as part of her street gear.

beyonce bella hadid noughties
The scarf top is back: Queen Bey in the early aughts (left) vs. Bella Hadid in 2017 (right).

What the whole world collectively agreed as the dark age of clothing is undergoing a renaissance, right this second. Keep your eyes peeled this upcoming fashion month, and surely, you’ll spot more untapped pieces making their comeback from the years bookmarked by late Buffy/early True Blood/Lizzie McGuire. Opting out of the aughts’ second-coming is impossible; fashion is in too deep to back out. The only way to go is forward, and through the decade.

But have a think about it, the noughties isn’t that bad. Maybe, the reason why we’re rekindling our fascination with an era we swore to obliterate from our memories, is because it was a time when everything was much simpler — and we’re not talking about The Simple Life’s definition of “simple” here. We weren’t compelled to have our eyes glued on our screens 24/7; we dressed however we wanted to and we weren’t doing it for the ‘Gram; we weren’t dictated by what the latest street style trends were. We were just doing our own thing, basically.

In a time when information over-saturation takes place daily whether we like it or not, a nostalgic look back into the noughties may be fashion’s opportunity to take a few steps back, slacken off, and let loose. A to-hell gesture to what confines and trends are telling us to do — a sartorial cleanse, if you will. Besides, snug in Vetements’ finger-concealing Juicy Couture catsuit, our touchscreen smart phones aren’t velvet-aware (yet). Which means we’re killing two birds with one stone: Sartorial and digital detox, done in style. Bring it on — we’re ready for more, noughties.

(Main image: Rex Shutterstock; featured image: Getty)