As a child of the early eighties, it’s easy at times to feel a little lost in today’s society. We’ve witnessed the birth of the mobile phone and the subsequent explosion of social media, yet still feel a little uncomfortable at snapping a selfie and being part of an ‘insta-culture’.
We’re a mixture of cynicism and optimism; too old to be counted as a Millennial but savvy enough to steer clear of the Generation X label. The Xennial stands in the middle of these two distinct cultural movements – it’s one which recalls the good old days whilst still wanting to play a part in the movement toward the future.
Never has it been so cool to be a Xennial than this season, as fashion designers embrace this lost mini-generation with nods to the noughties and homage to all things nostalgic. From quirky references to our childhood cartoons, to the return of the dreaded shell-suit, fashion has once again become rad, bad and totally mad – and us Xennials can experience it all for the second time round!
With style icons that ranged from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to a baby-faced Britney, we are the generation that wore Hypercolor t-shirts, remember a time before skinny jeans were ‘a thing’ and rocked bum-bags with aplomb. We wore Benetton emblazoned sweatshirts like it was a religion and succumbed to psychedelic prints and lycra cycling shorts way before athleisure was cool.
On the catwalk in 2018 Moschino sent models down the runway clutching My Little Pony lunch boxes and wearing the cartoon across t-shirts and dresses. Gucci brought the shell suit back, with a luxury take on the 80’s classic with embellished shoulders and jewelled details. And the fashion world once again embraced the in-your-face logo-mania of the 90s with Versace, Fendi and Gucci’s designs splashed unashamedly with their recognisable stamp.
Of course, the love for the Xennial era has also filtered its way down to the high street, where you can expect to find literal references to the 80s – with pop icon t-shirts available from most retail giants. Jelly shoes have also been reincarnated, albeit not the high-heeled styles we wore back in the days of the Venue disco. This season they are more pool slider with a modern edge, like the glitter offering from Topshop or the Birkenstock inspired designs available at Eclectic (both pictured above).
As someone who has always promoted his logo, Tommy Hilfiger’s summer collection embraces logo-mania with gusto, with the brand-dipped summer dresses shown above available from Voisins department store. Acid wash demin, tie-dye bodies and nineties grunge tartan will also be big themes.
Look to vintage stores and charity shops to pick up the original version of these revived fashion crazes, like this shell suit from Jersey online shop Frank & Betties Vintage. At ChiChi Boutique you’ll find ballerina perfect pink tutus a-la 80s Madonna. For designer led Xennial fashion, explore the range in Manna Boutique, who are always the first to stock the latest trends. The Patrica Pepe one sleeved dress pictured above exemplifies Xennial fashion with its loud print, stretch fabric and 80s shape.
It’s no coincidence that the fashion world is choosing now to revamp the lost years of the Xennials. We fall into that age bracket of between 35-42, we’re affluent, and we’re ready to spend money on what was truly great about our youth. You may have gotten it wrong the first time round, but now’s your chance to make amends and put your individual stamp on Xennial style.