The style disasters you experienced as a teenage guy in the mid-2000s

Your skinny jeans could never be low enough

The 2000s were a troubling time for teens. We were forced to spend hours arranging and rearranging our top friends on Myspace to cause minumum upset, while having the right or wrong polyphonic ringtone could make you or break you.

Perhaps the largest cause of stress for noughties teens, however, was how to style ourselves. How many polo shirts under polo shirts was too many? Did the perfect pair of slip-on Vans exist? And, more than anything, could your hair ever be too straight?

These are some of the biggest style disasters we committed in our heady school days. If any still apply to you, seek help.

Pastel polo shirts with massive logos

You'd have an entire drawer dedicated to polo shirts in a host of garish colours: mint greens, salmon pinks, banana yellows. You'd meticulously select one for the day ahead, before sliding it over your gel-quiffed head and popping the collar like the young rebel you were.

The logo on the breast pocket, of course, would be four times the size as normal. How else would people know it was Ralph Lauren?

Polo shirt layering

Of course, the more hardcore types would wear one colour polo shirt under another polo shirt, or perhaps (if out for dinner) a pastel button-down shirt.

There are myths about the boys who wore three different-coloured polo shirts, one atop another, at once. You never had the balls.

Rugby polos

Of course there were also the long-sleeve polo tops, with white cuffs and white collars, that allowed you to play out your preppy dream of being Prince William back when girls still fancied him.

Unironic Kanye West shutter glasses

Your mum would scoff that they looked stupid and didn't even keep the sun out, but she hadn't even listened to Graduation so what did she know?

You looked cool, they only cost you £2 down Camden Market and they only caused a partial risk of you walking out in front of traffic. Worth it.

Silicone cause bracelets

Your wrist wasn't worth anything if it wasn't heaped with band upon band of insincere silicone.

Livestrong? Yes please. Make Poverty History? Don't mind if I do. Stand Up Speak Up? You know what, I will!

You binned them all once the next fad came along, and the solitary £1 you paid for each still stands as the only charitable donation you've ever made.

Deep V-necks

What's the point in having a pasty hairless pigeon chest if you can't show it off?

Saggy bottom skinny jeans

In hindsight it seems like a nonsensical conflict of ideas, but at the time it made so much sense. Impossibly tight jeans, pulled down to below your bum so you had to waddle around like an emo penguin. What's the issue?

Of course the main reason you'd do it was so you could show off the backend of whatever graphic boxers you were wearing from Topman or Primark or River Island to the scene girls you fancied.

Think of it like a peacocking display, but for weedy human males with straightened hair.

Studded belts

Its purpose would be completely negated by the fact your jeans were halfway down your legs, but who cared? You looked like a fucking rockstar with your Pete Wentz-style steel or checkerboard Attitude belt compassing your skinny legs.

You would, of course, end up with an inevitable constellation of small holes torn in the bottom of all of your favourite T-shirts, but hey, we all have to suffer in the name of style.

A single ear stud

Only the one, because there was always the one dickhead in your year who'd tell you getting the right one pierced "made you gay." Or was it the left?

Hollister tops

Clothing with a Hollister or Abercrombie logo basically boosted you into a higher social strata.

That tiny eagle was a ticket to the big time, so when your mum splashed out on a long-sleeve Hollister henley you just knew you'd be getting a snog at your next house party.

Jack Wills trackies

Of course, Jack Wills was the other aspirational brand for noughties teenagers – as well as the only place it's ever been acceptable for a man to own a gilet from.

The trackies were the most important piece of JW merch, though, and you'd wear them until the flared bottoms were frayed and torn and weighing you down with all the puddle water they'd soaked up from your hours of loitering down the park.

Shiny white kagoule jackets

It felt like it was made of plastic bag material, it kept you neither warm nor dry in winter, and it made you sweat like you were wearing cling film all the rest of the time.

But if that's the price I have to pay to look like Chris from Skins, I'll take it.

Wallet chains

The thicker it is and the lower it hangs, the better. So to speak.

White skinny jeans

When your ultimate fashion icon is Johnny Borrell from Razorlight, you know something has gone seriously wrong.

Red skinny jeans

For the boys who thought black was just a bit too subtle.

Checkered Vans

You'd buy a new pair with a new stupid pattern (snakes and ladders, crossword, stars and stripes) every couple of months. This was half because you wore them every single day, and half because they were so badly made that your toes would end up poking through the ends.

The best part of graduating onto Chuck Taylors or Air Force Ones is that you'd never again have to try and clean dogshit out of the impossibly fiddly waffle soles.

Chunky belt buckles

Mine is in the shape of a cassette tape!!!

Drawstring backpacks

A flimsy one of these would last you a good four years, and would denote that you A) had PE that day or B) were one of the kids who could actually play a sport.

Come at me, ladies.

Plastic Gola satchels

Of course these were the more day-to-day schoolbags for the stylish young gentlemen.

The cool kids would go for a black-and-white or navy blue number; the less cool kids would go colour mad in their attempts to get noticed and end up with a lime green and vibrant orange monstrosity. Or this.

Von Dutch



You thought you looked like Pete Doherty or Mark Ronson or Simon Amstell. You actually looked like you were a young Mormon doing volunteer shifts at a nursing home.

Fingerless gloves

Impractical, and yet you probably still wear them.

Straightened fringe, backcombed back

Your head would be a game of two halves, both as extreme as the other.

The front: meticulously straightened, with your big sister's GhDs if you were lucky or with your own-brand Argos burning metal deathsticks if you weren't.

As for the back? A bird's nest of heavily backcombed, noxiously hairsprayed tangles. Russell Brand could pull it off, so obviously you could too.

Blonde highlights

Sun-In seemed like a good idea at the time.

Faux hawks

You were basically trying to pull off the David Beckham, while refusing to admit that you'd have gone for a full-on mohawk if your parents and the school hadn't imposed their fascist rule upon you.

Or alternatively, Simon from The Inbetweeners quiffs

So diligently kept that you may as well have crafted it with a ruler and a set square.

Skinny black ties

You were being all anti-establishment and aping an American Idiot-era Billie Jo Armstrong, not realising that you were basically forcing yourself to wear school uniform during the few hours you weren't actually in school.

Neon graphic T-shirts

It said something like "RAVE! RAVE! RAVE!" on it to signify you were the life of the party.

Desert scarves

You had never been near a desert – you'd never even been further East than Calais. You had little-to-no knowledge of the customs or history of Afghanistan.

You'd just seen Gerard Way wearing one of these once, and since then had buried your face into an "Arab scarf" or "Afghan scarf" like an alt-rock commando waging a one-man war on cultural decency.

That three-button Topman T-shirt

Yep, that one.