The 2000s were a fun decade, let’s not debate about that. This was the golden era when reality TV exploded, boy bands were all the rage, the Internet finally got cool, and everyone started buying cell phones. Technology was no longer something for nerds who lived in social isolation – everybody was doing it! Fashion was all but thrown out the window and experimentation was all the rage. This was the time for millennials to find themselves, to start movements against the grain, and to build something new. Back in the days before Facebook, tech startups, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, we had to find out what was cool based on television shows and word of mouth. At this turn of the century, everyone was taking bits and pieces of what they’d seen and heard before and putting them together in patterns we’d never thought of before. Ball gowns with trucker hats. Rich girls in soup kitchens. Sparkly pet stickers combined with html. The early 2000s basically embodied the idea of postmodern fashion and style.
Although, looking back on this era, let’s be happy it’s in the past. Matching denim outfits? No thanks, unless you’re trying to be ironic like Katy Perry. Leave the baggy pants, the autotuned music, the bad hair, the frighteningly low-rise jeans, and the chat rooms where they belong. Here’s a list of 15 questionable things we loved in the 2000s that seriously aren’t cool anymore.
Myspace was the virtual schoolyard for every pre-teen to early 20-something in the 2000s. You could post everything from webcam selfies to emo lyrics to online diary entries. Weren’t things easier then? You knew exactly who your closest friends were, in order of their importance, because Myspace told you who they were on your top 8. So you wanted to have the coolest profile pic to show everyone on the interweb. You’d hit the “Refresh” button about 30 times a night just to check and see if your crush was online, and you’d message your friends like “Hey” or “What’s up” just to get a response in your mailbox. Your ultimate goal in life was to have more Myspace friends than anyone else you knew.
Back when J-Lo was Jenny from the Block, every girl owned at least one matching tracksuit set. Bonus points if it was made of velour and was an exotic colour like turquoise or fuchsia. Combined with either a fluffy pair of Ugg boots or a cheap pair of flips flops, this outfit could be worn during any season of the year. What was once an outfit fit for popcorn and movie nights spend at home now became totally acceptable to wear for a night on the town. Coincidently, this fashion trend emerged at the same time Us magazine went from monthly to weekly – finally, instead of seeing celebs all dolled up, we saw what they were wearing on a casual day-to-day. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery!
13. Pink Razrs
Razrs were cool in the 2000s. They were smooth, sleek, and flipped over to fit perfectly in the back pocket of your uber-tight, low-rise jeans. Which were, of course, flared. And maybe had those weird lines down the front. Goodbye, pocket dial! The pink ones were the best because they were such a blatant fashion statement. Complete with a front camera for the very first camera selfies and an easy-to-personalize backdrop, this was the most sought-after telly of the era. Bonus points if it was bedazzled or covered in stickers. Looking back, it really wasn’t that great of a phone, but it did what you needed it to do and it made you look pretty great while doing it. Paris Hilton had one, so that automatically made it cool. Didn’t it?
12. Boy Bands
5ive. LFO. Boyzone. O-Town. Not to mention the best-of-the-best in the magical land that was 2000s boy band pop, NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys. A young Justin Timberlake? Yes, please! Remember when he and Britney wore matching denim outfits to the AMAs? This was the best decade for boy band dance moves, cheesy lyrics, and lilting falsetto. I’d be happy to duel anyone who disagreed. No pre-teen girl existed who didn’t at least have a boy band pencil case or hidden CD. Somehow, these young men managed to bring pop music to a level that was even greater than what the New Kids on the Block accomplished. The frosted tips and ripped jeans, however, were a total disaster. And that Britney/JT denim ensemble? He totally regrets it.
11. Rap Rock
Remember bands like Linkin Park, Papa Roach, and Limp Bizkit? Back when being really masculine meant wearing more eyeliner and hair gel than any woman in a 12-mile radius? Listening to this music today, you simultaneously feel both compelled to shout the lyrics and ashamed that you were such a fan. What teenager in 2003 didn’t at least fantasize about wearing a backward Yankees cap? Chances are pretty good that if you weren’t brave enough to sport it at school, you at least took mirror pics on your giant digital camera in your bedroom at night. These bands were a great mix of pretty pop music and bitter angst, perfect for the emerging teenaged generation. The fact that these bands even had such a great run is a testament to millennials. Keep Rollin’, come on!
10. Shell Necklaces
There was nothing quite like that dreamy mid-western surfer dude with the shell necklace, right? The one who listened to reggae and played the acoustic guitar? He probably had jeans hanging down past his boxers and a light long-sleeve layered under a dark short-sleeve. What you wouldn’t have given to be his girl and wear his necklace for just one day. Somehow he made himself look so laid-back and worldly without ever leaving home. What was once a sign of vacations to better days and warmer places now just looks like kitschy and touristy. Sure, fashion is cyclical, but I don’t think these are ever going to come back into style. At this point, they’re pretty much the jewelry equivalent of a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt. Not to mention the douche factor!
9. Baggy Pants
This had to be a back-lash from 80’s spandex. What else could have possibly explained this poor fashion trend? There were many explanations for these loose fitting pantaloons for men. Some say it was an influence from the rap community. That’s pretty badass, isn’t it? Others say it was from skateboarders who needed the freedom to do tricks. No matter which decade you look at, skater boys are always cutting-edge and highly sought after. Others, yet, say it was to cover the thin frames of adolescents who were too self conscious to bare their bodies in public. Kurt Cobain, anyone? Whatever the reason, everybody was doing it, and they were trying to get the belt line as low as they could go. Most of those pants could fit both legs in one if you tried.
Britney, Britney, Britney. The 2000s Queen of Pop. Blonde, beautiful, and abs that could rival any WWE competitor. Seriously, remember that “I’m A Slave 4 U” video? She was doing 1000 situps a day to get into that great of shape. She started off so innocent as a teen but quickly moved into her role as a sultry sex symbol. She was at the top of every man’s fantasy dream list. Then, she got tired of the lifestyle of the rich and famous and decided it was time to settle down. She famously married her childhood friend for 55 hours before annulling it. Shortly after, she married her backup dancer, got knocked up (twice!), left him to pursue the life of a single mom, had a nervous breakdown, and completely shaved her head. She’s since returned, but wouldn’t you rather remember her as pre-breakdown, ultra-buff Britney?
NeoPets – the online game that was something between Tamagotchi and Pokemon – was pretty much the greatest game of the early 2000s. You could play games on the website, shop, set up your own little store and sell things you found in the virtual world, and even battle other NeoPets. At one point, if you saved up enough points, you could trade them in for real-life merch. What a brilliant marketing plan! I remember missing out on hours of sleep just to keep playing. Plus, the little pets were so cute it was hard to look away. You know how they say hindsight’s 20/20? Well I think nostalgia wears a thick pair of rose-colored glasses. The website still exists, but it isn’t very much fun. It’s better to stick with your fond memories.
In the year 2000, Budweiser released a series of commercials showing a group of friends calling each other and yelling, “Whassup?” into the phone. The campaign was debuted at the Super Bowl and within days, everyone you knew was yelling this out in classrooms, on buses, or even at the dinner table. Budweiser won just about every advertising award that year and to this day most of us still get the reference. This was a time of camaraderie, laughs, and simple beer. Even Scary Movie parodied it! Recently, Adam Sandler brought it back in the 2012 film That’s My Boy, but not because it was in vogue. He used it as a reference to how outdated his character was. So let’s leave this in the 2000’s, shall we?
The emergence of Napster completely changed the music industry. It was a peer-to-peer file sharing network that let anyone get any music file that existed in someone else’s library for free. It was founded by three college guys – one of them was Sean Parker, who also worked on founding Facebook. And just like Facebook, it was originally intended for college kids but soon spread across the globe. This was the place to find real people who were into all the same weird kinds of music that you were into – you were no longer alone! And there was a chat option, too, if you wanted to actually talk about the tunes with a total stranger. A judgment-free virtual zone! Then Metallica sued Napster for copyright infringement and they went bankrupt. Rock and roll, right?
4. Paris and Nicole
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were arguably the most famous besties in all of Hollywood history. Two wealthy, beautiful, blonde, socialites? What’s not to like? They starred in the hit TV show The Simple Life which depicted the two rich girls working regular, day-to-day jobs like normal people. Amazing, isn’t it? The idea of two young women working crappy, low-paying jobs? What a change from the world we live in. This was so popular it was renewed for five seasons. Reality TV is so weird! Anyway, they did the work even though they didn’t really want to, had fun doing it, and looked great in every shot. Well, great for 2001! The Simple Life was pretty much a documentary into 2000s style with their skunk hair, platforms, trucker hats, studded belts, and crop tops.
3. Ultra Low-Rise Jeans
First there was the low-rise jean, then there was the ultra low rise jean. The ultra low-rise jean trend pretty much only flattered those with abs like Britney, but everybody was into it and the lower, the better. One-inch zippers were as long as we were willing to go. The intention was to be three inches below the belly button and sit “comfortably” below the hips. Crop tops looked great with these if you were ripped but if you had even a shadow of a love handle, it was inevitably displayed loud and proud for the world to see. Bending over was a task – crack attack! And if you wanted to get really trashy, you could always pair your ultra low-rise jeans with a brightly colored G-string. As Paris would say – That’s Hot!
2. Frosted Tips
Sure, we all thought frosted tips looked good at the time. Pretty much every boy band rocked these and even a few guys in your high school. There was something about that California sunshine that everyone wanted to get a little bit of. What looks more sun kissed than a bit of blonde highlights in the hair? The problem with these was that they looked so unnatural that they were pretty much an eye sore. If Justin Timberlake couldn’t even make them look good, we had a serious problem on our hands. Remember the finale of the second season of How I Met Your Mother? Marshall accidently got frosted tips and it was one of the worst things he could imagine on his wedding day. So bad that he shaved a reverse Mohawk just to compensate.
1. Trucker Hats
Who made the trucker hat famous – was it Paris and Nicole, or did it come from a little further up north a la Avril Lavigne? The famed hat had a cloth front, a wide brim, and a mesh back. Britney Spears had one. Ashton Kutcher had one. Every single hot celebrity was photographed wearing a trucker hat at least once in the early 2000s. You could get them in any color imaginable with anything from an expensive Von Dutch logo to a cheesy Wish I Was Sleeping logo. This fashion trend went from high class to low trash in record speed. Today you can either find trucker hats in discount bins around the country or, ironically, on the heads of those who transport good across the country via the Pan-American Highway.