Are Generation Z claims that Millennials are unfashionable right?

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
April 21, 2021, 6:20 PM UTC

Fashion trends are revived and abandoned every few generations — with particular attention recently being given to which trends Generation Z will cast aside from their elders, the Millennials.

After social media stars who are part of Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) began making jokes about Millennial (born between 1981 – 1996) style preferences on TikTok, media outlets declared certain Millennial choices a thing of the past.  

And while signature Millennial trends (think: side parts and skinny jeans) may eventually be overtaken by Gen Z’s taste, a new YouGov poll shows that Millennial staples still have some fashion milage in them. 

The side part isn’t dead (at least not yet) 

Despite proclamations that Gen Z killed the side part in favor of a middle part, Gen Z and Millennial women are similarly likely to consider the middle part fashionable. YouGov data shows that Gen Z believes that it is both fashionable to part your hair in the middle (62%) and to use a side part (56%).  

Most Millennial women (56%) say a middle part is fashionable, while a similar number say it is fashionable to part hair off to one side (55%). A side part is also generally seen as fashionable by Gen X women (54%) and Baby Boomer women (55%).  

Older generations are less likely to believe it is currently fashionable to part hair down the center. Half of Gen X women (48%) and one-quarter of Baby Boomers (37%) view the middle part as vogue.

Is it still fashionable to wear skinny jeans? 

While some have claimed that Gen Z will cast aside the wearing of skinny jeans — a widespread icon for wardrobes of the 2010s — YouGov data shows there's still a little time for this Millennial go-to. 

Millennials, who were teenagers and young adults at the height of skinny jean domination, are the most likely generation to believe tight denim is still fashionable (54%).  

But Americans overall (49%) and each generation still recognize the figure-forming pants as more fashionable than not. About half of Generation Z calls skinny jeans fashionable (48%), a similar view held by Generation X (46%) and Baby Boomers (46%). 

Bucket hats have been reclaimed by Millennials and Gen Z 

Floppy bucket hats — a fashion trend of the 90s — recently made their way back into the mainstream culture with Gen Z’ers reviving the brimmed headwear. 

Gen Z’ers (36%) and Millennials (36%) are the most likely generation to call bucket hats a fashionable choice, but they are still slightly more likely to be seen as unfashionable (40-41%).  

By contrast, only 15% of Generation X considers the headwear a trendy choice, and just one in 11 Baby Boomers (9%) consider the fisherman-style hat fashionable. 

Most Americans reject fanny packs 

If mainstream fashion is your vibe, stick the fanny pack back in the closet — it has not quite reached the point of being more fashionable than not among either generation. Three in 10 Gen Z’ers call this item fashionable (29% vs 46% who say it is not fashionable) compared to one-third of Millennials (33% vs 48%). 

This utilitarian item is deemed unfashionable by two-thirds of Gen X (16% call it fashionable, 65% say it’s not) and Baby Boomers (11% vs 68%). 

For more information, reach out to uspress@yougov.com 

Methodology: This YouGov poll of 2,349 US adults was conducted March 22 – 24, 2021. There were 306 adults from Generation Z (Born 1997 – 2012), 698 adults who are Millennials (Born 1981 – 1996), 515 adults from Generation X (Born 1965 – 1980), 711 adults who are Baby Boomers (Born 1946 – 1964), and 119 adults from The Silent Generation (Born 1928 – 1945) surveyed. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).  

Image: Getty

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