Written by Lara Pacillo
Cover art by Lucy Turczynowicz
I went to a cafe on the weekend and saw someone wearing a beautiful brown corduroy jacket. I looked closer at the front pocket and saw the label “Piping Hot”. I looked closer at the person wearing it and saw a wrinkly grey-haired man.
This isn’t the first time I have goggled over an elderly person’s outfit. Is it strange that I admire the fashion sense of our senior citizens? Maybe. Am I the only one who does so? Definitely not. According to online thrift store, ThredUp, 40 per cent of Generation Z buy second-hand apparel, footwear or accessories, and the resale market is expected to double in value by 2023. Instagram account Gramparents specifically admires the street style of our elders. It has over 140,000 followers.
An article in The Wall Street Journal puts it perfectly. ‘Elderly style role models often hopped off the trend train years ago, so their fashion sense skews more elegantly traditional than normcore,’ it states. There is something nonchalant about their style. Young people admire this about them; our oldies aren’t worried about following fashion trends.
Their style is so effortless, but so cool because it goes against the norm. Fast fashion trends come and go and keeping up with them is exhausting. Jumping off this bandwagon is much cooler and refreshing as it takes a stand and a completely different worldview of fashion.
“Is it strange that I admire the fashion sense of our senior citizens? Maybe. Am I the only one who does so? Definitely not…”
It’s about comfort too. An article in Vogue describes that “retirement-wear” represents wisdom and comfort. It’s about looking trendy without breaking your ankles to do so. As a teen, I always thought I would eventually grow into enjoying wearing high heels. I’ve just hit 22, and I’m still waiting for that moment.
An article in Orderchamp explains retro fashion of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, has a feeling of nostalgia to it for young people. Even though Gen Z didn’t experience these eras, these times are “always considered iconic and creative in today’s pop culture”. New styles of music, and immortal musicians — which are always rediscovered by young people — immerged in these decades. Classic productions in the film industry were created too. More movies and TV shows of today are being set in this era, building our fascination with these times.
These decades represent authenticity for me where, in today’s world, it’s hard to tell what’s real or fake, and confusion is paramount. There was no internet and social media, things were built to last, and technology was not constantly competing for people’s attention. Also, because I never lived in these times, there’s no association of experienced potential hardships of it too. It’s so easy to glorify.
The sustainability of retro vintage clothing, as well as how easy these items are to find, is the icing on the cake. We all know fast fashion is detrimental to the environment; it’s one of the most polluting industries in the world. Shopping vintage is better for the environment as it’s reusing and recycling clothing. While it’s easy to find cheap vintage too, particularly with the ease of access through online resale platforms, I find I often pay more for rare pieces of high-quality. I don’t mind the higher cost occasionally, because I know these clothes have a long lifespan.
For me, our oldies are just as wise as they look. They have lived through iconic eras and wear that nostalgia on them. They don’t care about being cool, which makes them cooler and more comfortable at that. Our senior citizens represent authenticity, just like the clothes they wear.
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