I recently posted a photo on my Instagram stories with the caption ’31 going on 13.’ In it, I was wearing a boob tube and some oversized nylon cargo pants.
I reckon it’s too early to call it a mid-life crisis but recently, I’ve found myself, very occasionally, dressing how I wish I could have dressed when I was a teenager. When I was a chunky teen and half of Tammy Girl didn’t fit me, I felt like I didn’t have access to the trends I was keen to try.
Fast-forward to me as a millennial and a size 18, and it’s very surreal to see the trends that were popular when I was a teenager proving popular with the Gen Z and TikTok crowd. The key difference is that this time I’m not hesitating to shop them, since there’s a diverse offering on the high street.
I remember the mortifying day I went to buy cowboy boots for my 14th birthday and my dad said “Oh I had those in my day” – well it seems that time has come for me and many other millennials, but in my case, I’m down to embrace it.
From Y2K low-rise jeans to ‘Euphoria high’, not all of these Gen Z trends seem 31-year-old-appropriate, yet still I find myself dipping my toe into some of the looks I wasn’t brave enough to try out in my youth. So here we go guys, time to shop (or avoid… you do you) some of my favourites…
This is an easy one and a nice ‘Gen Z starter pack’ if you’re afraid to do low-rise denim and belly button rings. You can really tweak this trend to suit your own style, and you don’t have to go full parachute pants like the kids are these days.
The high street has some great slim fit styles with fun accents like oversized pockets and the little loop things, as seen at H&M.
My personal favourites are the nylon, very slightly oversized style from It-girl favourite brand, Peachy Den. They recently extended their sizing too to fit size 18-20 and feature super cute cord detailing for that authentic TLC/All Saints/Mis-Teeq on Top of The Pops vibe. I’ve been pairing mine with sneakers and a fitted tee or ribbed for more of a grown-up take.
What’s the difference between a crop top and a baby tee? Well, I actually Googled that and turns out the two are NOT to be confused.
The 90s baby tee is a shrunken down t-shirt born out of skater and raver culture. Basically, it’s a mini t-shirt. Like the rest of the 90s and 00s styles being embraced by Gen Z, the trend has come back around much quicker than anticipated – and it’s another one that I couldn’t participate in the first time round.
These days I’ve been making mine more millennial-friendly by pairing with slouchy tailored trousers.
I was thrilled to hear that cool girl favourite Miaou recently extended their size range as part of a collaboration with Paloma Elsesser.
I wasn’t so thrilled to find myself stuck in a corset in a fitting room in Selfridges but lesson learned – don’t go corset shopping alone. The corset trend pairs nicely with the cargo pants trend (more on that below) if you’re feeling super Gen Z.
If like me, you’re not so brave, then you can pair this look with a satin slip skirt or some light wash loose fit jeans. If you aren’t feeling bold enough to get a corset, then there are some great tops on & Other Stories and ASOS that still have some corset-style details so you can tap into the trend whist still leaving your internal organs with some breathing room.
Knitwear doesn’t typically scream sexy, but here we are. For Gen Z, knitwear isn’t for cosy Autumnal nights on the sofa watching the latest BBC drama, it’s year-round and it reveals some skin. Think cropped colourful knitted vests, cut out dresses, crochet bra tops, open weave skirts and knitted shorts.
This is one of my favourites this summer (since we’re still annoyingly reaching for knits this time of year) as it feels really versatile, with such a mix of options available to shop depending on your style and the occasion. It feels just as fun poolside as it does in the city.
Plastic jewels are all over TikTok, as are embellished cowboy belts, clear sunglasses with diamante details and, if we’re honest, loads of other pieces I’m not cool enough to even mention.
However, on the other end of this maximalism, much of gen z are adopting a ‘twee’ style, shunning the vivid colours and bauble jewels for delicate pearls. This one is more my pace and you can find classic pieces alongside more fun adaptations for however you want to wear (or clutch) your pearls.