The year was 2006. You waited patiently as your neighbors slowly filed out of the school bus, but once your feet hit the pavement, you ran through your front door as fast your legs would take you. You told your sister to turn on the television and change the channel to Disney. You had just enough time to make your way to the refrigerator to grab a Hi-C before you raced back to the living room and nestled into the couch. As you turned up the volume, Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez strolled onto the screen to sing about the drama, romance and glamor that characterized their lives behind and beyond East High’s doors. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you laid eyes on your icon for the very first time. She inspired you to shoot for the stars as she bopped to the top of the East High social ladder on her way to Hollywood. Portrayed by Ashley Tisdale, Sharpay Evans introduced us all to the true meaning of fabulousness.
When she wasn’t taking a dip in the pool, a trip to the spa, or spending endless days in her chaise, Ashley Tisdale was embodying the heart of early-aughts fashion with her iconic red-carpet looks. Her style captured the essence of the glamorous, glittery and slightly gaudy garb that defined teenage fashion in the mid 2000s. Chief among these ostentatious outfits was her red-carpet ensemble at the premiere for “Ice Princess,” which featured a pair of bootcut jeans layered with a gold-sequined skirt. Much like the beloved Blockbuster and Friday Night Lights, the skirt-pant combination was phased out as the years passed. However, the revival of peak Y2K fashion has been accompanied by the resurgence of trends that defined the era. Why choose between pants and a skirt when you could have both?
Designers like Peter Do, Keith Nicholson, Chopova Lowena and Dion Lee have certainly embraced this perfect union. During the most recent New York Fashion Week, the style world elevated this unique and ubiquitous vision with innovative and daring designs that left the crowd wowed. As fashion embraces the perfect union of skirts and pants once again, nostalgic reminiscence of early-aughts icons floods the runway. However, the trend also symbolizes a fundamental tenet of style: breaking the binary. While skirts have traditionally been regarded as a feminine garment, the wave of gender-neutral fashion has crashed down upon gender norms. Models of all genders are increasing representation for fluidity within fashion. Regardless of gender identity, any individual can rock the skirt-pants trend with pride, charisma and confidence.