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When we look at trends that have come and gone in recent times, we think of the noughties: childhood nostalgia pieces worming their way back into our hearts, as well as the infamous low-slung jean threatening its ugly return. Really though, when we think of a ‘trend’, we think of what the kids are doing, since youth culture has always been a cornerstone of fashion and constantly mined for inspiration.
But when extended lockdowns forced us to preoccupy ourselves at home and life began to slow down, the tide seemed to turn. Instead of galavanting about town, we were baking, knitting, learning how to cross-stitch. And this lifestyle change seemed to have an influence over our sartorial choices, too.
Where cutout dresses and barely-there sandals reigned in summer, we observed the ‘Grandmillennial’ interiors aesthetic slowly expand to our wardrobes. From giant collars that resemble doilies to orthopaedic loafers, everything our Nans own is suddenly what we’re adding to cart. But what does this sudden urge to prematurely reach for eyeglass chains mean? We unpack the hype around this retro movement.
What exactly does ‘Grandmillennial’ mean?
Though it may not encompass exactly how everyone's grandma dresses at present — just try to catch my Nan out of a turtleneck and down vest — ‘granny chic’ has been a slow-rising movement since Allesandro Michele began his whimsical rule at Gucci back in 2015, redefining modern glamour with a little inspiration from how they did it in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
In 2021, the aesthetic takes eclectic maximalism and adapts it to fit our everyday dressing. Characterised by punchy colours, frills, wallpaper prints and statement eyewear mixed in with chunky knitwear and silks, it’s a great way to introduce fun elements into winter dressing with just a few key pieces. And of course, jewellery — the bigger, the better.
This trend takes ‘cosy’ fashion and injects some excitement into it in a way that feels thoroughly modern.
How to nail the trend
The main takeaway is to stay conscious of silhouettes so that you’re not letting the clothes and accessories wear you — there’s a fine line between oversized and just plain too big. But really, what this movement calls for is comfort, so go wild with your favourite knitwear styles, printed pants and billowy dresses. Being right in the throes of winter, there’s no better time to embrace the look. Here are our tips:
You can still dress sexy
If ‘granny chic’ doesn’t exactly conjure up outfit ideas for a hot night out, that’s completely fair. But we implore you to expand your thinking. The easiest way to take any look from day to night is with the right accessories, and in this case, we’re leaning into the chunky gold jewels and delicate evening bags that you’ve no doubt erroneously ignored at thrift stores in the past. And if you’re not one for jewellery, look to vintage renditions of the going-out top: ones with puffed sleeves, frills, or even just a retro-style floral print that brings a vintage flair to any outfit.
It’s not the end of minimalism
Despite the focus on maximalism and bold accessories, minimalism and the grandmillennial aesthetic are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to be dripping in costume jewellery or rocking printed stockings to get in on the action, and there are infinite ways to embrace the trend in a way that can still feel pared back. Instead of wallpaper prints and layers of pearl, opt for a simple vintage belt or classic loafers for a nod to the trend that is also a little more versatile. Or look to turtlenecks, frilled collars and statement coats for an office-ready approach to the trend.
Why the style feels revolutionary
In a society that has thoroughly drilled ageing in both fashion and beauty, the grandmillennial style feels, dare I say, positive in finally shifting the narrative. Beyond fashion, we’re seeing more and more celebrities embracing their natural greys and swapping out contacts for cute eyewear. And so, when the It-girls of fashion begin opting for nap dresses and loafers that aren’t necessarily figure-hugging or flattering, the change feels pretty major. Not to mention, with the gratuitous amounts of fast fashion items wreaking havoc on the environment, a trend that compels us to seek out vintage pieces over items doomed to landfill is exactly the kind of fashion we’d like to see more of.
Below, some of our top statement pieces to shop if you're not quite up for an Etsy scroll.
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