Nostalgia

The Hottest Thing In Teen Fashion Is The Stuff We Used To Wear

I bet your teen is also demanding to know why you didn’t keep your “classic” Juicy Couture tracksuit, huh.

The other day, my 17-year-old daughter sent me a picture of a Juicy Couture velour jumpsuit. You remember those, right? The zip-up sweatshirts were cropped, the pants were low, and the brand name was emblazoned across the bum.

My mind flashed back to the early 2000s when I saved my pennies to get the exact outfit she’d sent me, and I told her I’d had that outfit before she was born and wore it while I was pregnant — with a pair of Uggs, of course. I thought for a moment that might make the outfit less appealing, but I was wrong. “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES FROM BACK THEN?!” she demanded to know. At least in her eyes, I was a cool dresser at one point in my life.

Looking back now, I should have saved everything. Even if my daughter didn’t want all the “couture,” I could be make thousands selling it on Poshmark. There is something so nostalgic about seeing low-waisted baggy carpenter pants, velour tracksuits, and platform loafers again. It takes me back to my young adult days when times were simpler (or at least they felt that way to those of us who were young at the time). There weren’t cellphones, and getting ready to go out started around the time I’m asleep these days. You could wear a dress over pants and no one asked you any questions. Ah, to be young and wear baby T-shirts, baggy jeans, and butterfly clips in my hair.

We’ve all watched beauty trends from previous generations cycle in and out of fashion —bellbottoms and halter tops, boy short bathing suits, and long maxi dresses. But now it’s our turn, my fellow Gen-Xers and elder millennials, with the Y2K trend exploding among Gen-Z, thanks largely to TikTok. And it’s delightful, because hello, we own those fashion trends. They started with us; we carefully curated them. And watching our kids want to dress as we used to is incredibly satisfying. Yes, we were right! Going-out tops are cool!

Courtesy of Old Navy

Teens these days love thrifting and shopping on Etsy to get the “authentic” Y2K look — although retailers are certainly paying attention to what’s going on. You can find Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses t-shirts, blindingly bright tops, and baguette bags almost anywhere. The other day my daughter came home with the cutest pink sweatpants that said Juicy Couture down one leg. In rhinestones. If that’s not the definition of fabulous I don’t know what is. Who doesn’t want to be comfortable and bejeweled?

I’m a Gen-Xer myself and fondly remember sitting out in the sun in my backyard with my sisters thumbing through a dELIA’s catalog. So you bet your ass as soon as I saw a pair of chunky loafers in black, I had to have them. I’m so glad wide leg, baggy denim is back, and it’s about time skinny sunglasses are having another moment.

Even if you don’t love the mini-skirts of yesteryear that seem to be everywhere and looking at a platform hurts your ankles, you have to admit that just looking at an outfit with Y2K vibes takes you back in time. It’s playful, it’s fun, and if you love accessories and body glitter, this is your time to shine.

And let’s be honest here, I think we can all agree that seeing baggy jeans and pants is a welcome change from skinny jeans. Maybe I’ll order myself another Juicy Couture tracksuit.

Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.