How easily identifiable from other generations are the group of young people and adults from the Generation Z cohort? What kinds of clothing defines them? How are they choosing beauty products and what drives their ‘look?’

In this post, we are going to take a ‘descriptive’ look at how Generation Z dress and present themselves to the world. Are they still rocking hipster beards like their millennial counterparts? and what kind of brands or companies understand how to deliver their ever-changing needs of how they appear to their peers, bosses and anyone else who lingers a little too long in the world of a Gen Z.

Gen Z may be more sustainability-minded than previous generations, but they also face constant pressure to wear new items given that they’re likely to be the most photographed generation.

Let’s start by taking a look at the short answer of words to describe how this trend-setting cohort delivers on their style.

They also face constant pressure to wear new items given that they’re likely
to be the most photographed generation.

So what is the ideal Gen Z Description?

  1. Gender fluid
  2. Comfortable
  3. Normcore
  4. Grunge
  5. Thrifty
  6. Natural
  7. Rented
  8. Your best you

1. Gender fluid

Gender-neutral is the perfect way to describe those born at the turn of this century and early 2000s. This group of young people is clearly showing that anyone should have the freedom to dress in any kind of outfit they choose. This kind of look includes clothing which is timeless and solidly blurs the lines between the sexes.

Gender-neutral is the future for this group of undefinable teens and young adults. They will often be seen wearing unisex denim, hoodies, jackets and tee shirts.

According to experts, less than 50% of this age group identify as straight and they’re looking for clothes that express their freedom and right to wear what they like when they like.

More and more generation Z’s are not letting their gender dictate their fashion style. Many retailers are already on board with this growing trend. Collections such as Guess which offer a ‘his and her’ unisex collections, through to Zara’s ‘Ungendered’ line.

The buzz word among this young group of fashion purchasers is ‘heteronormative’ it was only a question of time when Will Smiths’ protege Jaden, wore skirts, and the rest of the world would catch up.

2. Comfortable

Unlike their millennial and Gen X predecessors, this section of our population believes emphatically that everyone should be given the freedom to feel comfortable, relaxed and cozy.

This group most certainly values comfort before following trends set by big business and large fashion houses. Not for them are unstable high heels and tight bodycon dresses which restrict them from their main purpose, which is getting on with their college work, or finding the next entrepreneurial niche. This sensible and grounded group is often found wearing soft fabrics and oversized outfits.


3. Normcore

Normcore is a trend that fits perfectly with Gen Z’s ‘non-trend’ comfortable style of dressing. The outdated fashion world that deals with ‘must-haves’ and ‘runway’ looks is a world away from this young group. This type of old fashioned way of looking at fashion is not how gen Z’s want to present themselves.

This is a direct result of how important individuality is to them. They aren’t looking to stand out, they want to blend in and celebrate an uncontrived look which celebrates their need to feel comfortable, but also eschewing the kind of big business fashion industry.

This kind of look sees this young group dressed in sneakers, polo shirts, tee shirts, and sweatshirts. All, of course bought from sustainable and ethical startups or larger companies who understand their fashion needs. Functionality and convenience are two words that describe perfectly the purchasing power of Gen Z.

4. Grunge

Channeling their ‘inner rocker’ is a way in which this young cohort can express their rebellious side. Concerts, music festivals and also just whilst going about their daily business. This look is important to Gen Z. It goes in nicely with their ‘thrift’ consciousness as they’re free to express their ‘vintage or ‘pre-loved’ ideas wearing vintage leather and rockabilly inspired retro tee-shirts. Harley Davidson is a big pull for these rocker youngsters.

Black leggings, most certainly ripped, leather skirts and trousers, ripped fishnets, Doc Martin shoots. motorcycle accessories and the ubiquitous western plaid shirts, rocked perfectly by Kurt Cobain et al, complete the picture of the generation Z grunge clan.

This look was also inspired by Kurt Cobain’s daughter recently with her ‘Kurt was here’ fashion line, which buys into this generation’s need for comfortable hoodies and tee shirts with an edge.

5. Thrifty

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 26 billion pounds of textiles end up in a landfill each year.

The ever ethical and planet conscious Gen Z’s need to jerk their eye on sustainability, but are also liking to wear something unique has pushed the idea of thrift shopping more and more to the forefront of this young group’s thought process when choosing what to wear.

This young demographic is looking to constantly flip their current wardrobe with edgier, retro garments found in thrift stores. Interestingly, usually, those that have been donated by Gen X, the generation they feel more kinship too.

This individual but also non-trend following group are looking to add an edge to their wardrobes whilst being aware of the sustainability and environmentally sound option of buying clothes that have been given a second life. They’re using thrift stores to build their identity to create their own stories.

Items such as retro logo tee shirts, fanny packs which essentially were brought into existence by their grandparents, have been given a new lease of life by these ‘functional item’ loving young people. Who is now using them across their bodies to carry all important items, like their tech and phones?

Online vintage clothing resale site ThredUp, recently estimated that one in three Gen Z consumers will buy used clothing in 2019.


6. Natural

Gen Z are wearing clothes and presenting themselves in with brands and companies who understand what they believe in. They need to wear clothes that reflect their values and that have diversity, youth empowerment, and inclusivity as their core motivations.

Aerie, American Eagle’s lifestyle, and underwear brand is an excellent example of how gen Z relates to advertising which promotes being natural to yourself. They recently made a decision to ban any photo retouching in their ads and this has made a huge difference to their profits, with earnings up of 14% which earmarked its 18th consecutive quarter of growth in double digits.

This age group wants to be themselves and aren’t interested in companies that promote any kind of fake or inauthentic look.

7. Rented

Gen Z’s are one of the first groups to adopt this way of shopping. Their busy lives building empires, and getting educated doesn’t leave them with enough free time to browse endlessly around stores, either on or offline. They want their clothing super quick, to enable them to get on with their daily business.

Frank And Oak's Style Plan subscription service sends a monthly clothing box picked out by a personal stylist.

This buys into the generation z idea of quality, thoughtful purchasing, and quality. They’re at the forefront of these new ways of purchasing fashion and companies where Gen Z’s can rent up to 3 items a time, make an unlimited number of changes, their shipping costs covered both ways with the added bonus of a dry cleaning service, it’s likely this kind of shopping will increase with this young group.


8. The best you

Gen Z lives in an age where finally, brands are telling you it’s ok to be you and you don’t have have to look like this year’s latest celebrity.

Part of this change has been driven by the rise of influencer culture. This young section of our population lives in a world where they learn and forge trends through peers rather than glossy advertising or false claims from huge corporations.

Gen Z’s simply tell each other they want to look like the best version of themselves. Most teens and young adult’s Instagram feeds are filled with tutorial videos on how to apply the latest trend, or a brand ambassador expressing the virtues of gender neutrality.

Makeup is for everyone and many of the more successful brands who are stepping into the kinds of Gen Z are feeding this need for self-expression and the breakdown of traditional gender barriers.

One American brand Lipslut aims to empower women and leans perfectly towards GenZ’s requirement for bringing your best self whilst donating 50% of their earning to impoverished women across the globe.

Gen Z’s simply tell each other they want to look like
the best version of themselves.


Recognizing a Gen Z is an easier process than we perhaps once thought. Their definitive ‘ non-trend’ style of comfort, sustainability, and bringing the best as an individual you have to offer, are key factors to describe how this new generation roll.

No longer are teens and young adults desperate to appear as the ‘fake’ celebrities pushed out on social media, with unattainable bodies and unauthentic looks. This generation are bringing it back to reality.