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Everything Lindsay Lohan and 'Mean Girls' taught me about Y2K style

As we dawn on the release of the new Mean Girls movie, I look back at the OG film's style influence, 20 years on.

Mean Girls the plastics
Lauren Ramsay
Online Writer
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It's understandable to assume that every millennial's dream came true when we heard that a second Mean Girls movie would be released 20 years after the hit film premiered. 

But in reality, many of us are erring on the side of apprehension, given that a sequel does not always serve like the original movie. And let’s be honest, living up to the expectations of the OG Mean Girls movie isn't going to be easy because, for the fashion fanatics, nothing hits quite as hard as the era-defining style in the 2004 hit film...

The film is a pillar of early 2000s fashion, and will forever be a reference point for the era’s nostalgic aesthetic - low-rise jeans, velour tracksuits, plaid mini skirts, and designer accessories made up the iconic outfits worn by iconic characters throughout the movie. Ultimately, it used fashion and personal style as a form of identity and used characters to demonstrate what was trending at the time. 

Fitted tops, plaid skirts and uber femininity reigned supreme thanks to the movie © CBS Photo Archive
Fitted tops, plaid skirts and uber femininity reigned supreme thanks to the movie

'The Plastics' aka - the popular kids - taught me almost everything I know about the Y2K aesthetic, and the fundamental elements needed to create an outfit that would be approved by anyone from Regina George to Paris Hilton in the 2000s. 

For example, Regina, Gretchen and Karen altered their gym uniforms and gave them a 'cool-girl' twist. Regina created a skort out of her short gym shorts and paired it with a tight T-shirt, Gretchen tied up her gym shirt and paired it with low-rise shorts, and Karen cut the sleeves off of her t-shirt to create a tank top and paired it with micro shorts, frilly white socks, and pink and white trainers. In other words - short hems and fitted clothing with a girlish touch are integral part of the Y2K aesthetic.

The Plastics' gym uniform alterations epitomise the fundamentals of Y2K style© Youtube/Paramount Pictures
The Plastics' gym uniform alterations epitomise the fundamentals of Y2K style

I even used the movie as a point of reference when dressing as Barbie for a week - thinking, how can I give a playful pink outfit a nostalgic spin in 2023? I channelled my inner Plastic and wore a Balmain mini dress, a Chanel handbag and pink stiletto heels - a contemporary adaptation of the characters' ultra girly, short-hemmed, high-heeled aesthetic, always complete with a designer handbag.

 I work hard, but this outfit works harder
Chanelling my inner plastic when dressing as Barbie for a week

Though Mean Girls has never left the pop culture sphere thanks to its iconic quotes about wearing pink on Wednesdays, calling outfits "fetch" and asking for the date on October 3rd, it's regained even more traction thanks to the resurgence of Y2K style in the early 2020s - from Bella Hadid in crop tops and cargo pants to Emily Ratajkowski in low-rise jeans and mini skirts with statement belts, the film and its fashion agenda is perhaps at its influential peak.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 04: Emily Ratajkowski is seen on August 04, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)© Gotham
Emily Ratajkowski is a 2020's Y2K icon

Brands, A-listers and influencers alike are adapting and incorporating Y2K elements into contemporary styles, celebrating a mix of retro and modern aesthetics.

Lindsay Lohan attends the "Mean Girls" New York premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on January 08, 2024 in New York City.© John Lamparski

Lindsay Lohan attended the premiere of the new movie, which debuts on January 12, wearing a stunning black cut-out dress from Alexandre Vauthier's SS23 Couture collection.

Its a far cry from the aesthetic she sported both on and off screen at the time of the original Mean Girls' release in 2004 - a style agenda she probably had no idea would still be so influential in the fashion realm 20 years later.

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