Boys Clothing Styles: 2000s

Figure 1.--.

The decade is only beginning, but we have begun to compile some interesting information on fashion trends.


Some information is available on specific garments.

Zip-leg pants

Pants that zip off at or around the knee are popular. All the ones I've seen have cargo pockets, presumably big enough to accomodate the detatched legs, with zippers ranging from midcalf to a bit above the knee (higher ones seem more popular). These are very popular in America, or at least northern New England. A couple observations; Is this a fad or the last step away from going from short to long pants as a rite of passage? Someone wearing these can go between the two with no more effort than it'd take to pull up a kneesock). They're popular here (that rite of passage having been relegated to the memories of grandfathers and discussions of social historians), but how will they be recieved in England?

Short pants

50 miles south of the Canadian border, in mid-November, I still see a fair number of boys (not to mention men, women and girls) in shorts.


Suits are worn much less than in earlier decades. While less common than in the past, they are still worn. Some boys may nmot even have a suit until their teens. They may feel a bit funny wearing their first suits.

Gender Trends

Overall, kids' clothes seem to be going in two directions; boys are becoming more conservative and smarter (in a casual way) while girls are getting more colorful and "funky".


Duller colors seem more popular at the beginning of the decade. Those fuzzy "recycled soda bottle" sweater/jackets that first apperared in the early 1990s in neon colors, and progressed to deep blue-greens and purples, are now frequently seen in gray and brown. The very latest style is cut as a V-neck sweater and has accents woven in around the neck, waist, and sometimes cuffs- I have only seen these in gray, brown and navy blue.


Some trends in individual countries include:


One interesting trend notable in 2000 is in "T"-shirts. Anmerican boys in the 1980s and 90s commnly used their "T"-shirts to convey messages. These message varied widely, raninging from Christain messages to nilhistic acid-rock themes. The new developmentvis that American girls in 2000 have begun wearing "T"-shirts making fun of boys. It has been common for boys to put girls down. Apparently girls in 2000 have felt empowered enough to make fin of the boys. Sample "T"-shirts read, "Boys Are Great. Every Girl Should Own One." and "I Make Boys Cry". One "T" shirt reads "Boys Will Be Boys" over an image of te rear end of a donkey. Some clothing retailers have rejected such "T" shirts in the past, fearing some mothers may be offended. The success of the first such "T"-shirt, "Boys Lie", has resulted in these "T shirts appearing in many retail outlerts. The boys don't seem to be complaining. One boy said that his only objection is that there are no comparable "T"-shirts aimed at girls. Apparently the attitude of retailers is that girls making fun of boys is good fun, but that boys making fun of girls is offensive. [Ann Zimmerman, "If boys just want to have fun, this may bing them down," Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2000, p. A1.]

Personal Accounts

American trends

This view of boys clothing styles in California at the end of 1999 suggests some possible trends for the 2000s

English trnds

This English boy describes getting his first suit at the age of 15.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: October 28, 1999
Last updated: November 15, 2000