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Gen. Z vs. Millennials: What side are you on?

AMP3 Fashion PR AgencyFashion, Lifestyle

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If you’ve been on Tiktok or Instagram reels you most likely have seen videos popping up recently about the fashion feud heating up between Gen Z (born mid to late 1990s to 2010) and Millennials (born 1980 – mid 1990s). It seems like both generations have their own unique style that defines them clearly, because apparently the way we do our hair, and the jeans we wear and even using certain emojis are very controversial these days. Who knew it would develop into one of the biggest arguments of 2021?

As someone who was born in 1998, or as I would say, a certified zillennial, I feel I am qualified to walk you through both sides of the “cringe-worthy” Tiktok argument, as I have somewhat lived through both generations. I used a Nokia cellphone before the touch screens even existed, owned an unhealthy amount of infinity scarves, and wore jeans under my skirts way too often, yet I can recite every meme from vine and words like “stan” or “aesthetic” are incorporated in my everyday lingo.

Here are key giveaways for telling Millennials and Gen Z’s apart based on their style in 2021, ranked from the least controversial to the most controversial.

Accessing the Accessories 

Girl wearing accessories like fanny pack, headphones, earrings, and sunglasses

The line for accessory trends between the generations is easily blurred because wearing rings, necklaces, earrings, etc. will never go out of style. However, there are a few specific items that are a dead giveaway when trying to guess whether someone is a Millennial or Gen Z in 2021. First, analyze the functionality of the accessory. Does it serve the purpose it was made for? If the answer is no, you can probably assume it is trendy among the younger generation. For example, the resurrection of ridiculously tiny sunglasses, fanny packs, and shoelaces as belts: clearly a member of Generation Z. Now, if you prefer to accessorize with scarves, water bug sunglasses, or lug around a massive purse, surprise you’re a Millennial!

Footwear Foreshadowing

Fila Chunky Shoes

I know what you’re thinking. Oh geez, even your shoes can be a sign of which generation you belong to? Yep, and usually the more questionable the shoe, the more obvious the generation. If you see a classy, bootie, or sandal, there’s a good chance that is a Millennial. On the other hand, ugly, bulky, dad shoes or industrial boots are an immediate Gen Z indicator. There must be some reverse psychology happening here, but hey, at least this looks like the end of tortured feet. 

X2 Size Style  

Two people in sweatsuits

Gen Z said so-long skin-tight fashion pieces and hello to oversized fits. In other words, saving us from another year of wearing uncomfortably tight clothing. While it took some time to convince Millennials, who like to dress to impress, that leggings can be pants, I think by now everyone can appreciate this trend at least a little. After all, what is the point of looking great if you’re not feeling good in it, right? But as always, as leggings become increasingly more popular with the earlier generations, Gen Z had to keep us on our toes. Especially this year by incorporating sweatpants, extra baggy t-shirts, and oversized outerwear into the equation. Not going to lie, incorporating sweatsuits into my wardrobe literally had my grandmother naively questioning why I was still in my pj’s at 1 pm, but nonetheless, I’m here for the trend because it will make every type of figure feel confident and cozy. 

Pick Your Part

Girl with long hair

Now, we’re going to move on to a very serious topic, so brace yourself and proceed with caution. We’re finally going to dive into the intense battle over where people should be parting their hair. Millennials’ weapon of choice is the side part and Gen Z’s are fighting back with middle-parted hair. While both styles certainly have their pros and cons, I think we can all agree that this online controversy has gotten a little out of hand. When it comes to your hair, you do you. Heck, let’s rock a zig-zag part! 

The Daunting Denim Debate

Girls in baggy jeans

Last, but certainly not least, I am concluding the list with maybe the most controversial generation debate at the moment. Skinny jeans vs. Baggy Jeans. If you’re a Millennial, chances are you prefer your jeans to be more form-fitting, and if you belong to Gen Z, you’re probably more prone to wear looser fits such as wide leg and mom style jeans. While Millennials have seen the rise and downfall of baggy jeans and may not be completely ready to embrace this trend once again, I need both generations to agree with me that we will leave neon-colored jeans and bedazzled back pockets in the past. Okay?

Finding Common Ground

Sustainable labeled clothing item

Before we know it baggy jeans will become so popular that they’re basic and will be on to the next trend. The one agreeable fashion trend between the Gen Z and Millennial generations is their moral approach to shopping. Understanding a brand’s values regarding sustainability and the environment is an important credential for many within the two generations. Purchasing clothing made from TENCEL™ branded fibers is the easiest way to begin shopping sustainably. From denim to athletic leisure, TENCEL™ fibers are found in a variety of trendy garments and the collections of many renowned retailers including ASOS, Athleta, H&M, Madewell, and so many more. 


At the end of the day, both Millennial and Gen Z have some amazing styles that you can include in your closet. If anything this taught me to never give away any of my clothing, because at the end of the day what goes around comes back around!

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