Gen Z is….strange.
Born at a time where the Twin Towers were gone, Limp Bizkit were popular and Manchester United were kings of Europe, the genesis of Gen Y was certainly an exercise in the bizarre.
It’s no surprise, then, that those born at the turn of the millennium have no shortage of quirks.
Whether it’s the surreal sense of humor, ‘depression memes’, mumble rap, or hydro flask stickers, the self-expression of Gen-Y’ers is certainly much, much different than previous generations.
Why Are Gen-Z’ers So…Weird?
I don’t mean to use the word ‘weird’ in a derogatory fashion, much the opposite. This generation is more in-tune than ever in noticing, documenting, and even embracing, the absurdness of the human condition in the form of social media and news outlets – and their methods of self-expression are something that Existentialist philosophers would turn their heads at. Maybe this is due to the abnormal cauldron that was boiling away during Gen-Z’s formative years, and what ongoing events are continuing to influence the young minds of Gen-Z.
The 2000’s were a strange decade for us Westerners. We were getting to grips with the Internet, and the juggernaut of social media was in its infancy – never before was it so easy to connect with, talk to, and even stalk, our friends, families, and our friends’ friends. With the all-seeing visibility of social media platforms, Gen-Z developed a level of expectation and social pressure that was completely unknown to their predecessors.
Generation Z was the first generation whose presence was truly immersed in the Internet. The effect of the Web can be seen not only in their sense of humour, but also their fashion choices, too.
Gen-Z’s Value Comfort Above All Else
The rise of athleisure clothing in recent years has brought with it a level of comfort that other styles simply can’t offer.
Though wearing gym-gear to the office sounds like something out of 1990s Silicon Valley to some, it’s become the norm to arrive at the office wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt.
The rise of social media influencers have definitely had a part to play, too. Celebrities are often seen in public wearing candid, gym-based uniforms, and actors like Dwayne Johnson and Hugh Jackman have helped make healthy lifestyles cool.
Not only does athleisure provide comfort, some of it is pretty damn stylish nowadays – and both are attributes that Gen-Z’ers value.
Are The Early 2000’s Back?
The fact that the early-2000s were twenty years ago is unfathomable for most of us.
Simpler times, they were, but at least the 2020s have resurrected some nostalgia-inducing outfits for us to remember days long gone by. Whether it’s tiny sunglasses, low rise jeans, or mesh tops (for both men and women) some of the outfits worn by Gen-Z’ers are enough to usher in years of nostalgia, for better or worse.
Luckily for us, frosted tips, and baggy, Eminem-esque t-shirts remain on the ash heap of history, for now anyway.
Perhaps this return to the early-2000s is simply Gen-Z’s returning to the outfits they saw in their youth – perhaps it’s meant as an antidote to today’s current crazy climate, one that will unquestionably define their twenties and thirties. On the other hand, it could be neither of those – and Gen-Z’s are simply wearing them because they like them. Either way, retro-inspired get-up is all the rage in 2020.
The Gen-Z Story Continues to Get Stranger
Those who are a part of Generation Z have had lives book-ended, so far, by two world-defining events – the 9/11 attacks and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It will be interesting to see how this weird and wonderful generation deals with the latter – and what social, personal, and political repercussions they have to deal with. Generation Z have always had their own way of doing things, and their thirst for eccentricity shows no signs of slowing down.