Nostalgia plays a role in your wardrobe, but exactly how much?


We have seen the long-term trend of nostalgia and Y2K transcend and adapt in different trends online, offline, in fashion and other industries. Particularly, the fashion industry has watched nostalgia ripple through the runway, streetwear, high streets and boost interest in thrifting and vintage. But why does this trend persist and evolve and more importantly stay?

The answer is perhaps more a psychological one, but even more so an interesting one. Wardrobe ethnography is a term used to describe the items that we accumulate, to make up our wardrobes. Your wardrobe is essentially a reflection of all the decisions you have made up to this point. Things you were influenced by, to a trend you saw and loved, to even a lifestyle or ideal you were leading or aiming for. And, of course, old inherited pieces of clothing and gifts build up this picture of you. Wardrobe ethnography essentially looks at the relationship between ourselves and what we own, it can reveal a form of our identities.

With all this said, we have seen people gravitating to popular Y2K pieces they wore in their teens and childhoods. We’ve seen vintage inspired trends soar on Tik Tok and 90’s vintage and inspired pieces of clothing on the streets. This wave is tapping into particularly Millennials and Gen Z’s subconscious, and they are wearing pieces of clothing that resonate with them and more importantly they identify with. Whether it’s that pink crop top, or those denim dungarees, that item reignites a part of yourself.

Young adults are gravitating towards fashion that reminds them of their childhood, and regardless of what our childhoods experiences were, these pieces of clothing were likely playful graphics, bright colours and a general unseriousness that can more often than not bring up parts of our youth that we actually want to remember. With more environmental stresses and concerns surrounding Gen Z and Millennials, nostalgia provides comfort, escapism, and a form of stability to our roots. We can also say the same for those of other generations, gravitating towards fashion that reminds them of their youth, with environmental changes becoming pressing and harder to navigate. And therefore, dressing for nostalgia can be both reflective and healing.

We can already see the immediate positives of dressing for nostalgia by people opting for vintage, Depop bargains and putting less emphasis on the ‘perfect’ wardrobe and more on what this piece of clothing signifies and what it says about them. Whether it’s the 90s or 00’s, we hope you have a better understanding of why you love those pieces of clothing and accessories, and we say YES to nostalgia and wardrobe ethnography. Happy styling!


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