The ongoing and noticeable divide between Generation Z and Millennials is increasingly evident through viral TikToks where each generation competes against the other. This often leads to the classic argument of “you don’t understand what’s cool anymore,” focusing on the defining characteristics of the Millennial mindset. While it’s true that Millennials embraced trends like “Keep calm and carry on” tees and invested in quirky crockery, perhaps we should be more understanding of their choices.
This becomes even more apparent when we examine the fashion styles that each generation represented, from the long loose tees and skinny jeans to the tongue-in-cheek details. But is it really essential to determine if a fashion trend was popularized by Millennials or Gen Z in our globalized world, where tastes are diverse and interconnected?
However, it’s evident that some of the fashion preferences approved by Millennials still hold value. Many of our current fashion inclinations share similarities with theirs. So, instead of focusing on whether one is a Millennial or Gen Z, let’s appreciate and combine beloved trends from the past.
Let’s take a look at some of these trends and how they can be updated:
An iconic staple from the mid-2010s, skinny jeans paired well with various silhouettes, from delicate camisoles to chunky knitted sweaters. Despite facing criticism today, their versatility remains undeniable. So, if you have the confidence to rock them, why not show them off?
Gen-Z Version of Skinny Jeans: Give skinny jeans a modern twist with lower hems, interesting details like slits and side lace tie-ups, and pair them with midriff-baring crop tops or a heavyweight faux leather biker jacket. Any footwear, from thick-soled sneakers to gumboots, will complement this look.
Knee-high boots exude both bold sexiness and polished confidence, making them perfect for work wardrobes or fall outfits.
Gen-Z Version of Knee-High Boots: To modernize their appeal, raise hemlines, experiment with classic prints like tartan and gingham, or even skip the skirt and opt for an effortless sweater dress. Chunky accessories like chain belts and body chains fit well with this updated style.
The Tumblr Fall Girl:
The preppy fall girl trope, inspired by Tumblr, embraces pumpkin spice lattes, plaid patterns, warm-toned shades, and Taylor Swift’s anthem ‘All Too Well.’
Gen-Z Version of The Tumblr Fall Girl: Incorporate a calmer color palette, favor long sweaters, 90s-style pleated miniskirts, and, of course, bootcut denims. For added flair, wear leg warmers over platform Doc Martens.
The captivating color, millennial pink, bridges the gap between pastel baby pink and hot pink, becoming a timeless aesthetic choice.
Gen-Z Version of Millennial Pink: Consider silhouette details and embrace the Y2K nostalgia with slinky tie-up crop tops, body-hugging microminis, and polished pantsuits that exude a Legally Blonde vibe.
Millennials indulged in oversized tees and tanks with concert and music-centric designs, reflecting their edgy and devil-may-care attitude.
Gen-Z Version of Concert/Music-Inspired Tees: Keep the obsession alive with your favorite bands, but update the style with undone laces, psychedelic artwork, and even grungy jackets or encrusted motorcycle pants.
The MySpace-powered Scene era embraced tank tops, electric-hued hair streaks, ripped stockings, and deathly spikes.
Gen-Z Version of Emo/Scene/2010s Punk: Thank the e-girls for continuing the legacy. Layer on the chains, play with illusionistic stripes, and don’t shy away from softcore visuals like baby cardigans.
- The 2010s Hipster: Hipsters from the 2010s sported purposeful tomboyish pairings, frayed hems, varsity details, red flannel, acid-wash denim, and slouchy beanies.
Gen-Z Version of The 2010s Hipster: Play with plaid to bring some hipster energy into your outfits. Swap Doc Martens for flying boots, switch varsity tees for letterman jackets, and embrace the sexy tomboy-chic look.
Cheeky Self-Aware Statement Tees:
Peak millennial humor was packed into basic round neck tees, with phrases like “Keep Calm” and personalized quirks.
Gen-Z Version of Cheeky Self-Aware Statement Tees: Today’s statement makers use graphics more aesthetically and capture a relevant state-of-mind with bluntness. These tees are conversation starters that bring universal emotions to the forefront.
A favorite among Millennials, Chelsea boots boast a basic yet polished silhouette suitable for the office or a brunch in the city.
Gen-Z Version of Chelsea Boots: Pair Chelsea boots with maxi skirts or spunky knitted ones, allowing them to complement your overall outfit.
Millennials embraced “going-out tops” to make a statement while out on the town, drawing inspiration from intimate wear.
Gen-Z Version of Silk Camis: Update silk camis with free-spirited and slinky slip dresses, funky styling, and pair them with socks-with-heels or Mary Janes for a bubblegum pop vibe reminiscent of the early aughts.
In conclusion, instead of being fixated on generational labels, let’s celebrate and embrace the shared fashion trends that connect us across generations.