Top 10 Cringiest Things About the 2000s



Top 10 Cringiest Things About the 2000s

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These trends DO NOT deserve a comeback. For this list, we'll be looking at trends and items that were incredibly popular in the aughts, but which could now be considered cringey. Our countdown includes Abercrombie & Fitch, Fedoras, MSN Messenger, and more!

Top 10 Cringiest Things About the 2000s

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 cringiest things about the 2000s.

For this list, we’ll be looking at trends and items that were incredibly popular in the aughts, but which could now be considered cringey.

Were these your trends back in the day? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Abercrombie & Fitch

Few retailers were as “in” throughout the 2000s as Abercrombie & Fitch. This near-luxury brand was aimed at the preppy crowd. It was known for high prices, sensual marketing, and typically shirtless male models. But looking back, the company was just rife with controversy, from offensive t-shirts to oversexualized clothing. The company was also slapped with numerous lawsuits. And in 2006, CEO Mike Jeffries admitted that the retailer was “exclusionary”. He went so far to say “We want to market to cool, good looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” This interview significantly hurt the brand, and their reputation was tarnished.

#9: Side-Swept Bangs

Nothing screams mid-2000s fashion more than side-swept bangs. Celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Ashley Tisdale all sported this instantly recognizable look. All you essentially needed to do was grow very thick bangs, hang it all together, and sweep to one side of the face… bonus points for obscuring an eye. It was meant to add some “edge”, and as such, the style is typically associated with emo and punk. Ashlee Simpson was an early pioneer of the look, and artists like Gerard Way and Pete Wentz also swept their hair and popularized the style. Admittedly, the side sweep is coming back, but not quite in such a… chunky manner.

#8: Wearing Ties in the Avril Lavigne Style

Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne was all the rage in the early 2000s. Her first two albums have sold nearly thirty million copies. And classic singles like “I’m with You”, “Complicated”, and “Sk8er Boi” saw major commercial success. Lavigne was well-known for her particular style, which included crumpled t-shirts, baggy pants, skater shoes, and most famously, a neck tie and tank top combination. This launched a trend of wearing ties with otherwise casual attire, whether tank tops or t-shirts. While this style isn’t so complicated, it’s definitely out of fashion today. But fans absolutely loved it in the 2000s.

#7: Arm Warmers

Avril Lavigne was also a fan of the arm warmer, as seen in the “Complicated” music video. Naturally, this punky look launched a host of imitators. There wasn’t really a point to wearing arm warmers, it’s just that the cool celebrities were doing it. Like both the sweepy fringe and the Avril Lavigne style, arm warmers were typically associated with the punk and emo subcultures. They usually came in a striped variety and reached down to the hand, where they ended in either fingerless gloves or a thumb hole. Arm warmers definitely generated interest and turned heads, but they are otherwise a relic of a bygone fashion era.

#6: Sharpies on Converse

Chuck Taylor All-Stars are shoes that pretty much never go out of style. They’ve been a high school standard for many decades, and they remained so throughout the 2000s, but with a twist. Converse really became a staple of the emo subculture throughout the 2000s… but jazzed up with Sharpies. Despite their long-established popularity nobody had previously really thought much about customizing their kicks this way with markers. Converse-sporters drew stars, grids, hearts, unique designs, and even song lyrics onto the shoes themselves. Some designs could be cool. But we think we’ll mostly keep our sharpies away from our shoes these days.

#5: Fedoras

These popular hats have also enjoyed decades of popularity. Fedoras were an everyday staple in the early 20th century and remained as such for many years. They’ve been associated with gangsters, jazz, film noir, and timeless films like “Casablanca”. The fedora disappeared for a while but enjoyed a resurgence in the early 21st century. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite evoke the same sense of cool that it did in the 20th. Instead of invoking Humphrey Bogart, the fedoras of the 2000s were more associated with pretension. The negative feelings towards the hat turned it into a much-maligned fashion accessory. Eventually fedoras fell out of fashion and became a literal meme, as embodied by the Fedora Guy.

#4: Orange Makeup

Way too many people were walking around with an orange tint throughout the 2000s. The reasons for this are varied. Sometimes they just bought the wrong shade of foundation. Sometimes they borrowed makeup off a friend without really caring, or knowing, if it would work for them. Or maybe it was just a way to look like the overly-tanned celebrities who spent a little too much time in the tanning bed. This resulted in things like spray tans and tanning creams becoming insanely popular. While people thought it would make them look good, it all sometimes gave its devotees a bizarre orange hue, like when a TV’s color is just a little bit off.

#3: MSN Messenger

At the time, MSN messenger was just the coolest thing. Before texting and Snapchat, MSN was the way to stay in touch with your friends. Popular in the early 2000s, this instant messenger had us comfortably sitting at a computer and chatting with friends for seven hours a night. And while many are nostalgic for MSN, it’s also cause for some prime embarrassment. We’re talking posting cringey statuses consisting just of sad song lyrics. And some users would repeatedly log in and out to get their crush’s attention. Along the way, they might have “accidentally” sent the wrong message in the hopes of making their crush jealous or revealing their true feelings. The cringe was real...

#2: MySpace Selfies

Selfies are obviously still popular, but there’s a certain “look” to mid-2000s MySpace selfies that make them a true cringey art form. Distinguishing these self-portraits from the more modern varieties are the angles of the pictures themselves. The “MySpace angle” was typically achieved by placing the camera directly above the head and looking up. This resulted in a top-down view that reveals just the face and upper torso. MySpace selfies were also notable for their high-contrast or “artistic” color grading, duck faces, peace symbols and indoor sunglasses. But the most obvious sign is the presence of a bulky digital camera in mirror selfies.

Before we unveil our #1 pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

Roller Shoes That Allowed Its Wearers to Glide Around

Trucker Hats
The Signature Baseball Cap Became a Fashion Accessory

Glittery Hair Mascara
The ‘90s Glitter Obsession Continued Into the 2000s

#1: Silicone Bracelets

The sentiments behind silicone cause bracelets are, of course, good. But a weird thing happened in the 2000s when charity and awareness bracelets turned from public support to an unpredicted fashion trend. They quickly became one of the year’s top fads when they launched in 2004. People were buying them simply because other people were buying them, and not necessarily because they wanted to show support. As the bracelets became the hottest fashion accessory of the time, countless rip-offs and imitators started to emerge—most of which had nothing to do with charitable causes.