If you eat avocado toast for breakfast, there’s a good chance you’re a Millennial. If you snap pics of said brekkie and post them on Instagram, it’s a near-certainty. Every generation has certain traits that define it. Millennials are (in)famous for writing off older folks with ‘Okay, boomer,’ but Gen Zers are right on their tail and planning to cancel more than a few things Millennials consider to be sacred.
While Millennials might trend toward a hi-tech or a luxury 30th anniversary gift for their parents, Gen Zers are more likely to opt for something simpler and that doesn’t involve a plug. Read on to find out what else is in and what’s out with the next generation.
1. Going Straight to College After High School
Millennials experienced high pressure to go to the very best college they could get into as the path to high achievement and, presumably, happiness. This led to some very driven entrepreneurs, but also a great many more unhappily employed and drowning in debt. Gap years have been popular in other parts of the world for some time now, and Americans are finally catching onto the idea that a break between high school and college just might do them some good. Whether they use the time to work, travel, or explore a special interest, Gen Zers are resisting the pressure to go straight to college, and also refusing to take on large amounts of debt in the process.
2. Pretentious Eats
Hipster meals like fois gras bombs, grasshopper tacos, and balsamic ice cream are not necessary to Gen Z’s happiness. What is? Cheap, tasty, and sustainable, and quite often local, organic, and plant-based. If it tastes good and is good for the planet, Gen Z is all over it, hence the rise of street food and endless snack options.
Really. Gen Zers are so over the Millennial obsession with coffee. The youngsters are all about tea in its many forms: bubble tea, milky tea, iced tea, and variations on this theme. (We’ll see how long this one lasts once these whippersnappers have to go to work after a sleepless night of caring for a crying baby.)
4. Side Parts
As the world can be divided into coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers, so too can it be divided into side part vs. center part. Or at least its hair can. Gen Zers are not fans of the Millennial penchant for side parts. Some youngsters go so far as to claim that everyone looks better with a center part. This has yet to be scientifically proven, but no doubt someone on the internet claims it has been.
5. Man Buns
From the hippies of the 60s to the rockers of the 80s, long hair on men is nothing new. Just as avocado toast is a sure sign of a Millennial, so too is the man bun. But, according to Gen Z, the topknot hairstyle has a limited shelf life. One scientific reason to lose the bun: research shows that pulling hair back severely can cause premature baldness on the forehead and temples. Not a look many guys are going for.
6. Subtle Hair Dye
Also in the hair category is color: Millennials have been big on a ‘natural,’ look of balayage and ombre for years now; Gen Zers are having none of it. They prefer bold, expressive colors in not-found-in-nature hues. This is true whether they’re still in school or have passed into the work world. Personalized hair is not something they’re willing to compromise on.
7. Harry Potter Wonkery
Harry Potter was so influential over the Millennial generation that many describe themselves in terms taken directly from the series. Gen Zers, on the other hand, aren’t so hot on Harry. Claim to be a ‘Hufflepuff’ to the younger generation and you’ll get a blank stare (or worse) in return.
8. Over-the-Top Eyebrows
Yet another fashion trend Gen Zers are putting away are bold (some might even say ‘odd’) eyebrows. Natural or light tweezing is their preference.
9. Livin’ the YouTube Life
While most Millennials had some exposure to computers as children, Gen Zers never knew life without the internet. Possibly to make up for this early ‘deprivation,’ Millennials are always on their phone, tablet, or some such device. By contrast and because they know a phone is always within reach, Gen Z is more comfortable with unplugging. For example, many prefer physical books over digital ones. Gen Zers also say they will not be putting electronic devices into the hands of their babies. Time will tell if this claim will come true.
Gen Z loves to point out the hypocritical behavior of certain Millennials who ‘care deeply about the environment’ but drink their overpriced green smoothies out of a plastic cup and own enough clothing to set up a secondhand shop. Also high on the list of things Gen Z doesn’t like about Millennials: their ‘I’m older so I know better’ vibe. Apparently, the only thing worse than being a Boomer is being a Millennial who behaves like one.