What else would we pair with the return of cargo pants?

By Samantha Sutton
Jun 30, 2021 @ 2:05 pm
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This Controversial Shirt Trend in 2002 — and Now It’s Back
Credit: Getty Images

Just when you thought the Y2K trends couldn't possibly keep coming back, the fashion world throws you a curveball. Enter: graphic T-shirts. In the early '00s, there were dozens of ways to get your statement t-shirt fix. For starters, the more controversial the wording, the better (oof, those Abercrombie flashbacks ...). Then, it was all about wild Ed Hardy graphics before we headed into the inspirational sayings phase — a look that was pretty popular at group workout classes.

In the past few months, we've truly seen a resurgence, pioneered by a few of our favorite style icons. Sometimes they're cute and quirky, sometimes they come with powerful meanings, and sometimes, they're just a random vintage option that may not mean anything at all.

Still, one thing is for sure: for summer 2021, graphic T-shirts, in all shapes and forms, are back in a big way.

From text that makes us chuckle to pop culture tributes, we're rounding up the tees that made us do a double-take, along with where you can score your own statement-making option.

The Funny Tee

This Controversial Shirt Trend in 2002 — and Now It’s Back
Credit: Getty Images

Addison Rae is the queen of the Y2K comeback (she's even been spotted wearing a Von Dutch hat), so naturally, so we weren't too surprised to see her channel Britney Spears circa 2002. (Remember the "Dump Him" tee? Iconic.) This sarcastic graphic tee is something she scored from Depop, but a similar version can also be found on TeePublic.

This Controversial Shirt Trend in 2002 — and Now It’s Back
Credit: Getty Images

What a message! The TikTok star also let us know that she was feeling both sexy and sad back in May, when she wore this oversized option with leggings, sneakers, and a fluffy purple purse.

This Controversial Shirt Trend in 2002 — and Now It’s Back
Credit: Getty Images

If Bella Hadid wears a trend, it's pretty much guaranteed to be everywhere in a matter of months, just like pully tops and shests. So, naturally, we're ready to follow her lead with a silly, suggestive Tootsie Pop tee of our own, many of which are available on Depop.

The Inspiring Tee

This Controversial Shirt Trend in 2002 — and Now It’s Back
Credit: Getty Images

Sometimes, a graphic tee is the easiest way to give simple summer staples a fun, new twist. We'll for sure follow Emily Ratajkowski's lead this season, styling our own version with bike shorts for a quick yet cute outfit. The new mom snagged this red and beige one — which reads "There's no such thing as the wrong beat, just find the right rhythm" — from from Online Ceramics.

The Tribute Tee

This Controversial Shirt Trend in 2002 — and Now It’s Back
Credit: Getty Images

A handful of stars have been showing support for Britney Spears as of late, and Irina Shayk did so, too, back in early June, in a slightly subtle way. The model wore a graphic T-shirt that featured a photo from the singer's "Britney" album, pairing it with jeans, combat boots, and a shoulder bag from By Far, which perfectly complete the '00s vibe. PacSun sells a similar shirt for $28.