Gen Z-Approved Outfits for Back to School, Y2K and Street Style Trends

By Felicia Czochanski

Y2K, the futuristic fashion trend from the late 90s and early 2000s is back, and an identifying factor of Gen Z. While it’s rare for millennials to get excited about a style based on low-rise pants and crop tops – after being spoiled for so long with high-waisted denim and leggings, Gen Z has been a champion of the trend that blends pop culture, neon colors, and vintage tech advancements, setting them apart. With the majority of Gen Z still in school or just starting their post-grad lives, it’s important to call out that both Y2K and Street Style looks are going to dominate back-to-school season this year.

 While Y2K might bring up nostalgia for movies like Clueless or Mean Girls, the Street Style trend gives off a more relaxed and almost care-free look. Street Style is rooted in comfort – baggy pants, including sweatpants, oversized graphic t-shirts (bonus points if they’re vintage) and fun, chunky sneakers. It’s a look that you can hangout in all day, no matter what your plans might be. Street Style is an elevated version of the ‘just rolled out of bed and I’m late for class’ look. Yet while the outfits under this trend look easy to pull together, there is some thought that needs to go into them to create that distinction that the look was intentional, versus the first pieces of clothing you pulled from your closet in a rush.

The great thing about both of these styles – in addition to what overlaps between them which are small and almost miniature accessories like purses and hair clips – is that everything was in style years ago already. Both Y2K and Street Style trends have been donated to Goodwill stores over the years, creating a stockpile of awesome vintage Juicy Couture, BCBG, and even Limited Too clothing that you are likely wishing you or your older sibling had the foresight to keep for yourself!

Wondering how you can integrate these trends into your back to school wardrobe? Check out the outfit inspiration sourced from real Goodwill shoppers, below!

1. Y2K Style

Neon checkerboard print is the epitome of Y2K style, especially for Gen Z. This outfit is rocking a lot of great trends – gold jewelry, a layered collared shirt with a fitted tank underneath, and the print that pulls it all together. From the classroom to the after-school clubs, this look is on-trend for back to school season. The second look brings together some of the best of Street Style, but from a Y2K lens! This outfit features the hot pink shorts, which are perfect for a statement piece, paired with a cropped t-shirt look. The way this Goodwill shopper is rocking her style, it fits the Y2K trend, but turn that top into an oversized t-shirt and those shorts into sweatpants, and you’ve got yourself a Y2K Street Style look – two trends in one!

2. Street Style… for Campus

Bringing your favorite Street Style looks to campus isn’t as hard as you might think. Pair an oversized t-shirt with bicycle shorts and sneakers for a comfy casual look that showcases your personality in addition to your mood. In the colder months, depending on where you’re heading off to school, this second look might be perfect for you. I’m obsessed with those comfy fuzzy sandals and the layered look with a flannel and baggy jeans. Back to school can bring enough stress into your life as you start managing your time and assignments, so let your outfit be a source of comfort that can get you through any study session.

Have a Goodwill haul that you’re really proud of? Tag us at @lincoln_goodwill in your next Instagram post or reel for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post or blog!

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