Ah, the early 2000s. Highlights were streaky, phones were heavy and camera-less, fedoras were trying their best, and tank tops were worn in layers. As with any generation, proms of the early 2000s provided a snapshot into teen life, from songs that were on every DJ’s playlist to hairstyles that would last until the next morning. Then the next morning after that.
From tiny heels to tinier purses, here are 12 trends that every early-2000s prom had, including a few items we wouldn’t mind seeing again. We’re looking at you, hair mascara.
1. THIS GREEN DAY SONG THAT WOULDN’T DIE
Long live this Green Day song, which was legally required to be played at the end of every prom from the late 1990s to the early 2000s so groups of friends could dramatically slow dance together in circles.
2. SPAGHETTI STRAPS
Spaghetti straps were in, which meant that any girl who had more than an A-cup had to endure a night of strapless-bra tugging or constantly adjusting her clear plastic bra straps, which instantly became a permanent second layer of skin.
3. FAKE TANS
There should have been an extra credit math mark for all the teens who had to work out the timing for applying their Jergens fake tan lotion in the perfect window between nonexistent and bright orange.
4. USELESS SCARVES
Did they keep your shoulders warm? No. Were they constantly falling on the floor and probably responsible for mono outbreaks at your school? Yes.
5. GLITTER MAKEUP
The early 2000s were a time of the human disco ball. Glitter eyeshadow, glitter lip balm, glitter body cream, and glitter hair mascara (it was a thing and TBH we kinda miss it) meant that no prom dress or rented tux was safe from being glitter bombed.
6. FAUX FLOWERS
Thanks to Sex and the City, a show most teens didn’t actually watch but knew of (who had HBO in the early 2000s?), oversized fake flowers were in. Like, in your hair, in your dress, in your corsage, in your shoes, in your purse design. You know, in.
Corset dresses were great training for a teen’s future as a bridesmaid. No one could buy a corset-back dress unless they could prove they had a friend who would willingly spend 30 minutes helping them get into their dress at the beginning of the night.
8. HARD HAIR
Bullet-proof, slicked back updos, tightly coiled curls, chunky highlights, and zig-zag hair parts were all part of the early 2000s look that were the exact opposite of ‘natural.’
9. KITTEN HEELS
TBH, we’re okay with this trend coming back. Remember when teens wore sensible heels to prom? It made height differences much less noticeable and girls were less likely to sprain an ankle and end up missing out on the rest of softball season.
10. TINY PURSES
Right up there with shawls, tiny purses were also a useless must-have for every early-2000s prom. With enough room for one roll-on body glitter, or one Lancome Juicy Tube or one travel-sized Ralph Lauren perfume, tiny purses added to the stress of picking your favourite beauty product for prom.
11. DIGITAL CAMERAS
Children today probably think that everyone in the early 2000s had red eyes and flash-reflection ghosts who followed them around.
12. THIS VITAMIN C SONG THAT WOULDN’T DIE
As we go on, we remember, all the words, from this must-play prom song.