If you feel like it's out of fashion to be a millennial in 2024, you're not the only one.

The millennials officially need a break.

We're apparently doing everything wrong. We've changed everything from our socks to our part lines, our eyeliner to our jeans and even the way we communicate with each other (namely the fact that the laughing-crying face emoji is a dead giveaway of our age).

We've been told to take photos differently and withhold the urge to quote Harry Potter. We've even been shamed for having a wallet and taking printed receipts at the checkout. 

Even if you do everything 'right' in the eyes of our overlords, Gen Z, there's still going to be another thing then another thing and another thing that'll make us look out of touch. Basic. Cheugy.

Because in 2024, representing anything slightly 'millennial core' feels like a disease. 

And I'm sick of it. 

Watch: Speaking of millennials, you need to see this viral theory about millennials ageing. Post continues below. 

Video via TikTok:

While 20-somethings rolling their eyes at the generation before them isn't exactly something new, the constant wave of criticism from people who aren't THAT much younger just feels... incorrect. 

As generational shifts come and go, there’s always going to be a new age group that determines the fresh norms and styles. We get that — it's an undeniable thing that always happens.


Yet, why does this feel so aggressive? 

Ultimately, there's an assertiveness in the way Gen Z dictates what's cool and what's not. There's no hesitation. They're vocal, bold — and they're not afraid to call you out. 

The issue with Gen Z fashion trends.

Over the last 12 months, we've been talking a lot about Gen Z fashion trends at Mamamia. From our TikTok to our content on site, we've covered it at large — and the 'rules' are almost endless. 

In fact, our very own Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright and Jessie Stephens recently unpacked the rise of 'fashion burnout' across generations on a recent episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Because there's a collective feeling of exhaustion trying to keep up with these new trends and avoid looking outdated. Instagram, for example, has literally become a shoppable app to help us do so, with quick, easy-to-consume content that sells us stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. 

"Thanks to TikTok and Instagram, fashion trends are no longer cycling seasonally as they once did," said Mia. "In the past 12 months alone, we've seen the rapid rise and equally rapid fall of 'ballet core', 'quiet luxury', 'mermaid core', 'croquette', 'stealth wealth', 'Barbie core', 'mob wife', 'tomato girl summer', 'Europe core', 'succubus-chic', 'coastal cowgirl', 'blokette'..."

Listen to the full episode here. Post continues below. 

She continued, "Also, skinny jeans were cancelled in favour of wide-legged jeans and now the patently absurd barrel-leg jeans trend is making women vomit."

It's overwhelming. Confusing. Just.... too much.


As Mia went on to explain, this treadmill of fast trends has meant that women — young women in particular — are at risk of suffering 'fashion burnout', "not to mention killing the planet with discarded cheap s**t from Shein."

Just look at the trending tag #sheinhaul, which has about four billion views.

@divvybobivvy oops #fyp #haul #shein #sheinhaul #tryon ♬ Brent Faiyaz - "dead man walking" - Alpha House

But how did this... happen? And since when did we go on the Internet to get our ankle socks mocked?

Well, thanks to the shift from seasonal trends, we've now seen the birth of 'micro-trends'. Millions and billions of 'micro-trends.'

"And a 'micro-trend' is really a particular product — for example, it will be a particular shoe. Whereas the season used to last for a year or even more. Now they're saying that a 'micro trend' might last three months or less," Jessie explained. 

And look, it kind of explains why every millennial takes one look at their wardrobe and thinks everything in there is suddenly irrelevant and 'uncool' right now. 

"The second you're onto it, and you go, 'Oh, I should buy that shoe because everyone on my feed has that shoe', you then have to throw that shoe out. And the way that the 'micro-trends' work too is that even [with] donating it — it was such a moment in time. Often the shoe is so absurd. Tell me if you're wearing those mesh flats in 12 months?"

And where is that mesh flat going to go? Exactly.

These accelerated trends and ultra-fast fashion have been criticised for adding fuel to the fire when it comes to overconsumption and waste — and rightfully so. What's happening is that there's now a total oversaturation of these 'micro-trends'. We see that mesh flat shoe (and Gen Z telling us our shoes suck) and we suddenly need that shoe. So, we buy it. But then everyone suddenly has it, and the trend has come and gone so quickly that we've just moved on to the next trendy thing.

@miks_tiks should i do another there’s just so much cheug #cheugyfashion #cheugymillenial #cheugy #fashionstudent ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys - Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

And while some of it is funny and very tongue-in-cheek (see: the whole sock thing), you'll find a lot of it actually makes you feel very self-conscious and kind of ashamed about what you're wearing. It's almost like being back at school and all the cool kids are wearing Billabong and Roxy — but you're wearing some random Target surf brand (hey, Pipeline).

"I was rolling along with the socks until I realised that the notion that wearing the wrong socks suddenly picks me out as being 'old' and therefore not cool and therefore not relevant and therefore not worthy of attention. It's ridiculous," said Holly Wainwright.

"It's all part of the same thing, once you're past a certain age, you're getting it all wrong. Your jeans are wrong. You're using your phone wrong. You're talking on it when you should be texting. You shouldn't be using emojis. It's all part of the conspiracy to keep the old ladies where they should be."

As we mentioned before, while young people have always used things like fashion, language and music to differentiate themselves from previous generations (whether it's their parents or their older siblings), the fact is that these days everything is now broadcasted and out there for everyone to see and critique and have an opinion on. 

"But we didn't use to expect that if you were 55, you should be worrying about whether or not your socks are the same as a 19-year-old's," said Holly.

Because in 2024, everyone has to dress and look like they're 25. And if you don't, you're doing it wrong.


And it's not just fashion — it's beauty, too. Goodness, beauty standards are sitting at the crux of it all. And while we'd like to think we've come a long way when it comes to age diversity and acceptance in the beauty industry, let's be clear: the rhetoric around ageing isn't dead

Where does this leave us?

But back to the fashion. Because on the other hand, there are people who embrace the joy of change.

Speaking to Mamamia about the mentality of trends, psychologist Carly Dober from Enriching Lives Psychology said, "Cultural trends come and go, and humans enjoy feeling like part of a movement, or 'in group'. There can be safety in uniformity for some people, and it can also be a topic of conversation and a way for people to connect with others," she explained.

When I asked one of my millennial colleagues how she felt, she said that while she dresses in what makes her happy, she often finds herself seeking guidance from the 'Gen Z counsel' in the office about what she's wearing (and what she should avoid).

In fact, on the sock trend specifically, she said: "One of the things I admire about my Gen Z colleagues and their fashion is that they mix styles and outfits that I wouldn't think to put together. I feel like as millennials, we kind of grew up with a uniform that we stuck to and I like that the humble sock is just another way we can express our personality and make a statement."

How do you feel about the attack of the millennial? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature: Getty/Canva.

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