Millennials (born 1980 – mid 1990s) and Gen Z (born mid to late 1990s to 2010) are often lumped together by older generations, but they are actually quite different. In addition to feuding on TikTok and Twitter over lifestyle choices, Millennials and Gen Z also have different fashion tastes. Read on to learn more about the fashion trends from each generation, and see which one fits you!
Millennial: Millennial Pink
If there is one color to characterize the millennial generation’s fashion trends, it would be “millennial pink”. This soft pale pink color was literally named after the generation after its abundance in fashion, accessories, and home goods. It is literally everywhere. It was even featured by Pantone (yes, the paint company) as a previous color of the year. The shade has even evolved to include basically anything resembling a pale blush color, from beige to orange.
Gen Z: Gen Z Yellow
In contrast to the subtlety and softness of millennial pink, Gen Z has been bursting with a love for the color yellow. There’s really no possible dark or dull shade of yellow, but Gen Z is especially fond of neon and vibrant shades. The eponymous Gen Z Yellow has also been referred to as ‘Snapchat Yellow’ due to similarities with the color of the app’s home screen icon. This yellow characterizes Gen Z as outspoken and optimistic despite the many difficult times they have endured growing up.
Millennial: Rocker Tees
Millennials and Gen Z alike are known for their love of nostalgic fashion trends, but from rather different eras. Millennials seem to favor trends from the generation right before them (Gen X), styling themselves in looks inspired by fashion trends they were too young to take part in when growing up. This has taken shape in a plethora of graphic tees featuring graphic art of rock bands that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
Gen Z: Tie Dye Tees
Gen Z has also looked to the era just before them, about the time Millennials were coming of age, and they have taken much fashion inspiration for the turn of the millennium fashion trends. Gen Z seems to be particularly fond of tie dyed t-shirts and other apparel, giving a nod to both the punk grunge DIY fashion trends of the late ‘90s, and the bright, bubbly, and often outrageous fashion moments of the early 2000s.
Millennial: Preppy High End Brands
This trend is not as relevant now as millennials have begun aging into their 30s, but looking back, millennials had a huge taste for higher end brands like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch. They sported looks reminiscent of the hyper preppy 1980s yuppie culture (another throwback), donning lots of pastels, plaid, and layered pieces. These brands were hugely popular in the 2000s and a little bit into the early 2010s, and young coming of age millennials could be spotted sporting these brands’ logos from far away.
Gen Z: Athleisure and Streetwear
Although they’re not as into looking like walking billboards as their predecessors, Gen Z is also obsessed with their logos and brands. However, their taste has flipped in the opposite direction from millennials as they prefer more athletic and street style looks, combining function with fashion. They gush over classic sports brands like Nike and Adidas, as well as newer high end street style brands such as Obey and Supreme. Not surprisingly, Gen Z’s fashion trends also take notes from nostalgia, referencing the hip hop and skater culture that Gen Z missed out on the first time around.
Millennial: Distinct Styles
Although this has also begun to change with age as well as the shifting social norms, Millennials are still known for having very distinct styles, both in terms of gender and occasion. Looking back at the time when boy bands and girl groups were super popular, you can see that the millennial generation had rather strict, or at least distinct, dress codes for boys and girls. They were also fond of getting dressed up in general, having outfits for every occasion.
Gen Z: Gender Neutral Versatility
Gen Z fashion trends are definitely defined by breaking the rules. Most notably, Gen Z has pushed, or really eliminated, the boundaries of gender norms more than any other generation. It is quite common to see unisex or androgynous styles among this generation, especially amongst the fashion savvy. Gen Z also prefers versatile styles that can be worn for multiple different purposes, and does not care as much about following the rules of formal dress codes. Examples include dress sneakers made for suits, and lingerie as tops.
Millennial: Big Purses
Perhaps a product of growing up in an economic boom that encouraged consumerism, or perhaps just because they’re used to lugging around so many different gadgets as kids, the millennial generation has a special love for their big bags. Purses were super popular fashion accessories during their time, and millennials would parade around showing off their new Longchamp to the whole class. They were also very useful because they could carry all you could ever need, and more! Millennials always knew to carry a purse, and more importantly, how to match one with their shoes.
Gen Z: Fanny Packs And Tiny Backpacks
Smartphones and photo filters have given Gen Z all they need in one tiny little box, so they don’t have to lug around as much makeup or electronics as their older siblings. Gen Z most notably has brought back tack 90s fashion trends like fanny packs and mini backpacks, and made them look cool again. Gen Z’s approach to bags is less about function and more about style. Although, who says you can’t have both?!
Both: Ethical And Sustainable Fashion
The one common fashion trend between the Gen Z and Millennial generations is their moral approach to shopping. Although it isn’t true all the time, both generations like to use their dollar votes in favor of fashion brands that promote ethical and sustainable practices.