WSJ article claiming 20-somethings are dressing like senior citizens widely mocked

Chelsea Ritschel
·4-min read
WSJ claims 20-somethings are dressing like ‘senior citizens' (Getty Images)
WSJ claims 20-somethings are dressing like ‘senior citizens' (Getty Images)

People are questioning the validity of a new fashion trend after it was reported that members of the younger generations are dressing like grandparents.

This week, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled: “Grandpa Style: Why 20-Somethings Are Dressing Like Senior Citizens,” in which the newspaper claimed that millennials and Gen Z are taking inspiration from the elderly when it comes to fashion.

According to the article, popular Instagram accounts such as @gramparents, which posts user-submitted photos of “fits” worn by grandmas and grandpas, are partly behind the alleged popularity of the style.

As for what the trend actually entails, the WSJ states that the movement is more about an appreciation for the clothes worn by elders, which aren’t necessarily dictated by the ever-changing fashion landscape, as older generations are rarely the target market.

“On the surface, Grandpa Style appreciation resembles normcore, the aughts trend of dressing in banal basics - such as gray sweats and nothing-to-see-here dress shirts - as a way of turning one’s back on the frenetic fashion market. Elderly style role models often hopped off the trend train years ago, so their fashion sense skews more elegantly traditional than normcore,” the outlet writes. “These 70-somethings could still be wearing the same crisp pleated khakis or tweed blazers or floral sundresses they’ve had for decades and view them as ‘this old thing?’

“But to the youthful gawker who’s looking for alternatives to lurid logowear or slouch sweaters, such clothes are invigorating.”

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The outlet also highlighted the recent release of Chinatown Pretty, a book of photographs by Andria Lo and Valerie Luu that showcases the “unexpected” fashion combinations of senior citizens around the country, and brands hiring more mature models as evidence of the growing trend.

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While the younger generations are no strangers to lifting style inspiration from the past, as teens have recently begun reintroducing looks from the 90s and early 2000s, people on social media weren’t entirely convinced that grandpa-style is the trend we should all expect to be participating in now, or in the coming months.

On Twitter, many of the responses focused around the article’s lack of photos showcasing 20-somethings in the trend, with one person commenting: “‘Why 20-somethings are dressing like senior citizens’ but we will not include any photos of 20-somethings dressed this way in this article.”

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Another said: “Interesting that the article didn’t include any photos of actual 20-somethings dressed like senior citizens.”

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There were also those who flat-out disputed the claim, with another woman tweeting the article and adding: “Um no we f***ing are not dressing like this??”

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Others pointed out that the trend may not be new at all, as thrift stores have long served as an affordable and sustainable option for individuals of nearly every generation, while there were also those who felt that the article vindicated Macklemore, who sang: “I wear your granddad’s clothes, I look incredible,” in 2012.

“Gen X’ers were dressing like this in the 90s. It is a good look and I wore plenty [of] grandpa outfits and I loved it. I found all my grandpa looks at second hand stores. Inspired by my own grandpa,” someone else tweeted.

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Another person wrote: “Save yourself the read. Young people are shopping at thrift stores to save money.”

“Macklemore saw it coming,” one person added.

While platforms dedicated to older individuals showing off their style have seen a recent surge in popularity, whether this style has truly caught on among younger generations is up for debate.

However, there were those pleased to hear the fashion report, with one person tweeting: “FINALLY. I’m in style.”

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