The Return Of Cowboy Boots, And 5 Other 2000s Trends That Are Ripe For A Comeback
The Debrief: You can protest all you like, but it’s happening. At least we can be prepared.
A couple of months ago, I felt something in my waters. A stirring, vague but discernible, like the early twinges of a UTI. I turned to the friend I was with at the time, brow furrowed, and hissed, urgently, ‘I think… I think cowboy boots are coming back.’ Soothing, but firm, she said ‘No, you’re wrong, they can’t be. It’s probably just indigestion. No.’
A couple of weeks went by. Then Millie Bobbie Brown accepted an MTV Award in a pair of Tippex-white Calvin Klein cowboy boots. I held it up in the office as evidence; ‘Look!’ I cried. ‘It’s happening!’ They dismissed it as a kooky aberration.
A few more weeks. I saw photos of Alexa Chung wearing a pair in New York, with a candy pink midi dress and longline blazer. ‘Look!’ I cried. ‘Alexa! THIS IS NOT A DRILL.’
‘But that’s Alexa,’ came the reply. ‘She doesn’t count, she tried to make hairy tank tops happen. No. Cowboy boots are not back.’
That’s the thing about being a fashion oracle – it’s a little like being a dietician, or a tax accountant. Nobody wants to hear it, even when they know you’re right. Wary of being The Girl Who Cried Trend, I kept schtum for a little while longer. But I knew the truth, and so did they, deep down. And so did Elle magazine, who dedicated a whole page of the August issue to Raf Simons’ futuristic white pair with a yellow stripe and metal toe cap, calling them ‘the boot of the season’ and giving me license to stand up and yell ‘I CALLED IT’. Saddle up partner, because cowboy boots are about to burst through the high street’s metaphorical saloon doors any minute now.
I know, it doesn’t feel like it’s been long enough. And strictly speaking it hasn’t been long enough – fashion traditionally needs at least 15 years to look fresh and intriguing again, or a good 30 for scorched earth to fully regrow (shoulder pads, we’re still waiting). But these are nostalgia-hungry times, and we’re burning through trends quicker than ever.
Last time round, circa 2005, I wanted a pair of bright red cowboy boots to wear with skinny jeans, a faux fur jacket, a beret and a boyfriend who looked like Noel Fielding. This time the silhouettes are looser, and the boots are more versatile (and Noel Fielding looks like your ‘rock chick’ aunt who sings in a covers band). Calvin Klein led the way on the AW17 runway with Simons’ glossy, colour-blocked boots, worn with slouchy midi skirts, suit jackets and jumpers. Céline did it, but subtly in matte black, Marques' Almeida showed them in custard yellow with tailoring and, at the other end of the spectrum, House of Holland gave us a full-on hoedown. Gingham, cherries, stetsons, fringing, the whole damned apple pie. America might still be a worrying question mark, but we’re officially about to make cowboy boots great again.
And the noughties nostalgia train doesn’t stop there! Here are six more post-millennium staples that are officially ripe for a return. Scoff all you like, but when it happens, please remember: I called it.
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1. Baker Boy Caps
Yes, like Oliver Twist, the cast of Newsies, or Britney Spears on the Crossroads promo tour. At the time of writing, ASOS has 11 different versions in stock – and they can’t be selling them all to school kids who have to dress up for Victorian Day.
2. Layering Everything
Obviously, you know about tees and polo necks under camisoles and slip dresses – but dresses over trousers have already been quietly back on the scene for a little while now too. Putting a wrap dress on over some old ripped skinnies is the perfect two-birds-one-stone outfit, instantly removing any trace of frump from the dress and updating the jeans.
But once you’ve mastered both of those, you’re ready to unlock the next ‘00s level by doing multiple layering at once. A short skirt over a longer skirt! A short-sleeved t-shirt over a long-sleeved t-shirt! A woolly vest over a shirt! A skirt over a dress over a jumper under a shirt, over a coat! Think of it like a fashion Mille Feuille, or a kind of fabric-based Buckaroo.
3. Lace Tights
As soon as I commit these words to the internet, I will get an indignant tweet from someone telling me that they still LOVE their fancy tights and weren’t aware they’d ever gone away (I never know how to reply to these, btw – ‘Congratulations! You have successfully ignored fashion.’?)
But it doesn’t matter because soon we’ll all be joining them again in the lacy legs parade. It’s the logical evolution of last year’s surprise fishnets revival. It’s about time we forgave them all their past sins – and crucially, it’s the way you’re going to keep wearing your mules once the summer ends. Just brace yourself for the first time your pinkie toe gets caught in one of the holes.
4. Bias Cut Everything
Having recently enjoyed the unstoppable reign of bodycon, Spanx manufacturers will soon be looking around for their next cash cow – and I’m predicting they’ll find it in the return of the bias cut. Which in clothes-speak means ‘cut on the diagonal’. Remember the skirts? Primly knee-length, floral, crinkly, with a little bow on the waistband? Despite having a rich fashion heritage, the bias cut has been out in the wilderness for the past decade and a half, as punishment for making us all look about 42 at our Year Six discos. But isn’t it time we welcomed it back?
Because it is a legal requirement for every feature on noughties fashion to contain at least one reference to Sex and the City, here it comes: all those flippy-hemmed skirts and clingy slip dresses Carrie wore in season two, with strappy sandals and gold jewellery. I couldn’t help but wonder… Don't they suddenly look so right again?
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