Remembering The Noughties – The Decade Of Bad Taste

Photo: J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images
The year: 1999. The date: December 31. The color of my 10-year-old vomit: a stunning pastel pink after a night of drinking not one but two (!) pink fizzy wines at my grandma’s New Year's Eve millennium bash as she and her boozy friends swung like swingers to the trills of my confusing pre-teen sexual obsession, Cliff Richard.
It was the dawn of a new age. Jesus had been dead/alive(?) for 2,000 years and we asked questions like: Will the world end? (Yes, probably.) Will I lose my virginity in this upcoming decade? (Yes, definitely, if the world doesn’t end.) Will technology consume us all? (It hasn’t yet, unless you want me to go on and on about how we’re all glued to our smartphones — but frankly, that’s cool! That’s what the '00s would have wanted!)
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The defining factor of the noughties was that it was the never-ending season of bad taste. It was just post the e-fueled, Europe-centric '90s, just pre the plague on all that is beautiful, otherwise known as normcore/athleisure/influencers. It was the lost decade: the one full of bad ideas, of bringing back shit from the past that should have died. Skirts over jeans? Inspired. Plastic hair extensions in a range of colors, clipped in by a plastic daisy? Visionary. The death of culture? Stunning.
It was the decade of celebrity, of Paris Hilton, of Britney Spears’ nervous breakdown. It's a decade on which we look back wincingly, barely remembering what and definitely not remembering why, realizing our vile misogynist treatment of all those celebrities, our absolute disengagement from current affairs, our desperation for lava lamps and blow-up chairs, trembling at how many dreadful mistakes we made. "That’s gay!" I would say in the noughties about anything that wasn’t apathetic, or made of plastic. And I’m gay!
Photo: J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images
It was a decade of reckless decisions: we had nothing left to lose. All ideas were formed, all unnecessary wars were being fought despite a larger than ever public outcry. And so we decided that it was fine to wear the ra-ra skirts of the '90s atop an '80s stonewash jean atop a '20s camisole plus a bucket hat plus a fucking Motorola Razr.
Personally, that decade would see me make some of my boldest fashion choices: remember G-Star 96 jeans? Vile. Remember Diesel jeans? Mine were intentionally splattered with paint. Remember All Saints? All my necklines were loose and baggy, for which I was a little too breast-heavy (This was pre body-positivity, okay? I’m fine with my body now!). Remember bootcut jeans atop square shoes that your uncle who makes you feel uneasy still wears Remember pre-Twitter and Instagram? Remember yearning for a Mulberry Mitzy tote? No, you don’t remember any of it? That’s because your brain was so addled from all of the shitty magazines that it retained not even a bean of actual information from the decade.
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This was supposed to be an article about noughties fashion — and yes, it was bloody good, and yes, no matter how hard you try Urban Outfitters/Dua Lipa, you’ll never quite get it right. And why? Because we’ve all woken up from our cultural wastemanship and engaged. You can’t have the noughties without the apathy; you can’t have the aughts without social media activism; you can’t have the zeros without a space in which to make a shit ton of style mistakes that only your friends can half recall; you can’t have the 2000s without an All Saints 'Jesus Rocks' studded belt.
It is a dead decade.
The truth is, you were a mess then. So was I, so was that person sat next to you on your lunch break right now at Chop’d. So you made a few mistakes? If penance is what the Lord Jesus would have wanted for all these sins, then your Saucony sneakers and your social activism and your inevitable veganism will most definitely make up for your decade of apoliticism and bad fashion choices.
Here lie the noughties.
2000 — 2010.
It was good while it lasted.
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