Boys Clothing Styles: 2000s

Figure 1.--This outfit came from the Pitti Bimbo Spring-Summer 2005 in Florence held July 2004. The boy looks to be wearing Capri pants that proved popular for girls, but were rejected by boys in the 1960s-70s. The shorts while long, however are not bsggy like the ones popular with boys in 2004. I'm not sure what he is holding, but if it is a hat, I don't think the designer will find a boy who will voluntarily wear it.
We made it!! HBC is now ready to confront the new Milennium. But does anyone have any idea what future trends may develop in the new century. If anyone has seen any articles addressing this topic, please let HBC know. The decade is only beginning, but we have begun to compile some interesting information on fashion trends. The future beckons. Styles through 2003 seem little changed from the late 1990s. Fashions in the early 21st century continue to stress casual wear and comfort. Some classic dressy styles persisted, especially for younger boys. Blouses and button-on shorts continue to be a popular style for formal occassions like weddings. Such styles tend to be available through boitiques rather than mass market stores


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

A HBC reader reports that 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. A California reader reports that in 2001 a lot of the local boys like to wear shorts year-round. He took an informal census of the boys one day in November. It was an overcast day, the morning temperature had been in the mid-40sF, and the afternoon temperature never rose above the mid-50s. Exactly half of the middle school boys wore shorts, all but one wore them knee-length or longer. Surprisingly only 5 percent of the primary school boys wore shorts. My guess is that the younger boys rely on their moms to decide what they should wear, and their moms felt chilly. As usual, the middle school boys let peer pressure decide what they should wear, and few boys wanted to be the first to wimp out and wear long pants. He reports, "It's clear that shorts no longer have the aura of childishness that they had when I was a boy." Fashion designers promote the longer leg shorts, sometimes below the knee. Pitti Bimbo Spring-Summer 2005 in Florence (July 2004) and Premier Kids Spring-Summer 2005 (July 2004) in Birmingham were important events. Both promoted long-leg shorts. One outfit looked more like the Capri pants rejected by boys in the 1960s-70s. According to one HBC reader, "Of course, the only boys who will wear that stuff will be those who have the misfortune of being born into families with more money than taste."


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.


A HBC reade writes, "It's interesting how boys wear their socks in 2002. While ankle socks are still popular, boys are also wearing the very low white socks that barely peak out of the top of their shoes. They are expecially popular for basketball players and they can be either white or dark colored. Other boys playing BB may wear Tube-sock like white socks that go up to the bottem of the knee. Coupled with the long baggy basketball shorts, it makes them look like they are wearing girls bloomers or something A lot of boys still prefer white ankle sock pushed down slightly with shorts, but also like the quarter length socks which are in between crew lengh and the very low cut ones mentioned above. Some boys will also (literally)roll down crew length socks which looks kind of silly, but try telling that to a 12 year old boy. I think that English boys stil like to wear longer soccer style socks, but wearing them pushed down to just above the ankles. This is not so popular in America though."

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.


We do not yet have much country information for clothing trends in the 2000s. One very noticeble trend is the virtual disappearance of destinctive national clothing styles in Europe. It was once possible to identify many old photigraphs on the basis of the clothing styles worn by the chilren, at least for the larger countries. This is no longer possible in Europe. Children now wear a kind of generalized European style. There are still dsome differences, most climate related. It is possible tonan extent to differentiate European and American fashions. And this trend has also affected the Third World. Western children's fashions now dominate countries as diverse as China, India, and Indinesia. Many poor countries in Africca, Asia, and Latin America are affected because they import used clothing from America and Europe. Some trends in individual countries include the following.

Hair Styles

An American reader reports in 2002, "I'm curious about the complete shift in the last few years to extremely short hair on boys of all ages, (from toddlers on up). I live in the Chicago area, and have noticed in recent years virtually all boys have taken to wearing the "buzz cut" styles, shorn to where the scalp is readily visible, coupled with greatly oversized shorts (mid-calf) and huge T-shirts. While it seems almost like a repeat of the mid-to-late 1980's, the hair today is shorn all the way around; there are no flat-tops or spike looks, and is very uniform in it's popularity. This is in marked contrast to girl's styles, where hair is of varying lenghts, accompanied by fitting clothes, ie. flared pants, tight tops, etc." HBC has noted this same hair tyle in Britain as well as other European countries as well.


Some HBC readers have written with very strong opinions about children's fashions in the 2000s.

A Dutch reader writes, "I personally find the present fashion of boys' clothing (if you can call it fashion at all) awful. I wonder who is responsible for these horrible pants, shirts and sweaters. The kids look like clowns in their oversized wrappings. The shorts are much too long. The crotch is somewhere between the knees. They are not really short at all. It seems a conspiracy to make children as unattractive as possible. But also in sports! Look at the basketball players. They jump like monkeys in rompers!"

Reader Comments

A reader writes, "I think HBC needs to adress the subject of contemporaary boys' fashions. I have been watching a program on the Nick channel. It's the zoo venture program that we see in Pennsylvania every weekend. I notice is that the girls wear well tailored short pants but the boys dress very differently. The boys seem to always wear the baggiest looking short pants that they can get their hands on. I can not figure that out for the life of me why this style is popular. It is like those boys are saying look at me in my big baggy pants. I do believe that most boys got this from those things they show on MTV, you know the hip hop and e&m stuff, but as to why they do it is beyond my imagaition . I would really like to see a detailed assessment of this phenomenon on HBC. I know that when I was a young lad we all wore short pants in the summer and they were really short at least mid-cut shorts like camp shorts or jean cutoffs which were also were cut very short. We wore those types of shorts to get a sun tan on our legs and they did fell real comfortable while wearing them. The kids today say they wear baggy pants and shorts for comfort, if you can call those flood shorts short pants. There is no way they can get a tan on their leg's wearing those things. Personally I hate those baggy things. Even worse, many kids that wear them sag them as to show off their underpants. I for one find that very offensive as I do not want to look at any persons underwear. That why they are called underclothes, meaning to be worn under your clothes. I saw a high school graduation 2 years ago and the boys were wearing those big fat fubu pants under the gown it looked so bad with them marching up to get their diplomas in that open field their baggy pants were dragging on the grass and the school let them get away with that. These kids today must realize that when they go for a job interview after they get out of school that most big company's look at how you are dressed and how you present yourself. I know if i was a ceo and someone came to me dressed with underpants showing with big baggy clothes they would not get the job no matter how smart they were and how high they scored on the test. How would you fell if you saw your minister priest rabbi or doctor looking like that? I remember my mother telling me that clothes make the first impression and I think she was right!

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.


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Created: October 28, 1999
Last updated: 5:59 AM 11/24/2007