We talk about the nineties a lot. (A lot.) But now, halfway into the 2010s, it’s safe to let our nostalgia for super-low rise flares and multiple polo shirts come to fruition, as we pretend we didn’t model our personal aesthetics on the style of Kristin Cavallari in 2004.
Because that’s the thing: nothing sparks our re-interest in an era like the release of something new. This week, "Pitch Perfect 2" opens to the masses, and with it, the comes the memories of what teens and/or 20-somethings wore in the high school films we saw when we were growing up. Today, we’re paying tribute to the early 2000s and everything that came along with the times. More specifically, we're taking a look at the most fashionable teen films of those glorious years (in no particular order, duh).
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1. "Mean Girls" (2004)
Whether it was their coordinated ensembles or the simple rule that Wednesdays are reserved for pink, the Plastics and Cady Heron brought teen movie fashion to new heights via pleated miniskirts, high heels, and that trendsetting DIY tank top Regina wore effortlessly. Even though, for the record, Janis’ sense of style dominated all. Consisting of Converse, tights, and layers galore, girlfriend obviously went on to pioneer the street style game -- or at least live a life a million times better than ours.
2. "Bring It On" (2000)
Never have any of us longed to pull off athletic wear more than we did after seeing this movie. (Or maybe that was just me, trying to pass off my Mod Robes as the most essential workout and/or lean-on-workout-equipment-in-gym-class item.) Adidas paraphernalia, crop tops, and cheerleading uniforms are the stuff of our current athletic trend dreams (see: the number of New Balances you see on any given day), even though nothing beat Kirsten Dunst’s short-sleeved jacket worn over what may be a bathing suit top.
3. "She’s the Man" (2006)
4. "New York Minute" (2004)
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been style mavens since they wore their first tiny dresses on Full House as babies. Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised at the aesthetic success of New York Minute, which saw the sisters take on two different style roles (one rock and/or “punk,” the other “classic” and/or “conventionally feminine”), eventually blending their looks somewhere down the middle. The true winners? The I Heart New York t-shirts, which some of us (hello!) turned into “going out” staples. You’re welcome, everybody I saw on Friday and Saturday nights, between 2004 and 2005.
5. "Step Up" (2006)
I don’t know how many of you have been to dance school, so as someone who didn’t grow up in a ballet studio, I feel safe in assuming students dressed exactly like Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s character in the original Step Up. Wearing a wardrobe of only tights, skirts over tights, dresses over tights, sweaters over dresses over tights, and sweaters and skirts, our female lead embodied more dance outfit cliches than every dance movie melded together -- and for that, we can all be grateful. As for Channing Tatum? Well, his pants were baggy and so were his t-shirts. And that’s all any of us need to say about that.
6. "Crossroads" (2002)
You’ll never find another movie in the world that features Britney Spears wearing a jean jacket or a bucket hat. Crossroads features both, together -- which almost rivals her karaoke look that none of us managed to get away with at school dances. (What’s your problem, administration?) Fortunately, with the return of the 2000s influence, we can celebrate the power of crops tops paired with crimped hair and fingerless gloves. (Just maybe not together because admittedly, that is a lot.)
7. "Save the Last Dance" (2001)
It’s important that everybody here knows we’re not celebrating the style of Julia Stiles’ character, whose outfits range from “alright, I guess” to “why is this happening right now?” (Julia, it’s not your fault: your costume designer failed you.) Instead, we’ll kneel down and give thanks to Kerry Washington, whose character not just saved Julia Stiles from looking country at Steps, but donned pieces cooler than anything any of us will ever be able to carry off. Ever. (Minus Olivia Pope, if she’s reading this.)
8. "Freaky Friday" (2003)
Behold: Lindsay Lohan’s 2000s-era breakout role. As a master of guitar and the wit-wielded word, Lohan sets the teen movie style bar high, channeling mall fashion of the era via plaid dresses, denim jackets, giant boots, and baseball tees. But what makes it better? Jamie Lee Curtis (as Lohan’s Mom), whose own blazer-heavy style evolves after she and her teen daughter swap bodies. Spoiler alert: the woman can wear anything and look like a boss.
9. "13 Going on 30" (2004)
Admittedly, 2004 is still a year many of us are coming to terms with. (See: our collections of very wide-legged pants and the flip-flops we wore with them.) However, Jennifer Garner’s character -- a 13-year-old trapped in a 30-year-old's body -- embraces the kitschiness of the decade that most of us only look back on with disdain. With plenty of bright colours, bold prints, kitten heels, and tiny bags, Garner epitomizes how the decade actually championed the same amount of loudness we associate our beloved nineties with. Also, she wears her hair in a spiked bun, and that’s a look all of us should aspire to.
10. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2005)
It is a movie about magic and impossibly-flattering flared jeans. I’m still looking for pants like that.