Gen Z tries to dress like ‘old money’
- Generation Z covets an aesthetic of “old money” on social networks, reported Rebecca Jennings from Vox.
- She said it was a response to the new money look seen among influencers and billionaires.
- Gen Z’s fashion choices influence the evolution of status symbols.
It really is the new millennium, at least in the fashion world.
Tinted sunglasses, claw clips and spaghetti straps have taken over from TikTok as Gen Z evokes nostalgia for the trends of the year 2000. But it also rekindles another trend of the years 2000 on TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, reported Rebecca Jennings from Vox: prep, which evolved from polo shirts and ballet flats to oxford shirts and tennis skirts.
It’s called the ‘old money’ aesthetic, which Jennings says highlights the conspicuous consumption that characterizes all fashion trends. Images of this aesthetic popping up on social media covet “the shamelessly pretentious vibe of country club Ivy League-slash-Oxbridge a Kennedy’s fourth cousin,” she wrote.
She said that, in the same way that the 2000s prep was a backlash to Y2K fashion, the trend is a response to the billionaire class casual dress and the ‘rich in influencer’ look. California ”, both of which embody fresh money.
This isn’t the first time Gen Z has sparked an aesthetic that has come out of the rejection of an ongoing trend. In the summer of 2019, VSCO’s daughter rocked the internet. Characterized by a natural look that embodied a cross between ’90s fashion and a surfer lifestyle, it contrasted with the contoured faces and lips of Instagram influencers. Because she flaunted certain brands, the VSCO girl was generally associated with wealth.
So Gen Z’s fashion choices are proof that conspicuous consumption is here to stay.
Generation Z is changing status symbols
Discrete wealth has been on the rise since the early 2000s. In the United States, the richest 1% have spent less on material goods since 2007, according to the US Consumer Spending Survey.
Such quiet consumption, wrote Elizabeth Currid-Halkett in her 2017 book, “The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class,” is the opposite of “visible consumption,” a term coined by the 19th century economist Thorstein Veblen, who is the concept of using material elements to signify social status.
It’s a growing trend among “the ambitious class” who hope to cement their status and propel social mobility by spending on intangible means such as health or education, Currid-Halkett said. In its simplest form, it looks like buying a $ 30 SoulCycle class or reading a New Yorker article. Low-profile wealth “reproduces privilege” in a way luxury could not display, she said.
But as low-key wealth has found its way into society, the turning cycle of fashion trends shows that there can still be room for conspicuous consumption. Gen Z is only changing what that looks like.
Shiny Rolex and Louis Vuitton bags might have been the go-to items over a decade ago, but Gen Z is less about labels and logos than what a certain aesthetic conjures up. The favorite brands of the VSCO girl turned to a more cult niche audience, recognizable only by her peers. And the aesthetic of the old currency symbolized and romanticized both the aristocratic crust, embodying some form of untouchable privilege for many.
Now that Gen Z is poised to lead the way in consumer influence, they are playing a role in the evolution of status symbols.