Kids Are Making Dressing Like Grandparents Cool Again

One of my favorite things that is happening right now that fills my soul with sunshine and butterscotch is the trend of kids dressing like grandparents. Who saw the senior citizen sect becoming the fashion icons of the under-eighteens? Sure as heck not me. Not that I’m complaining! I am in LOVE with this look, and will rave about the octogenarian aesthetic until my very last breath. Here’s how our offspring are pulling off a retiree’s wardrobe with aplomb, and why we just might want to follow suit.

Outer Layers

When I was in middle school, the cool kids were freezing at the bus stop each morning because nobody would get caught dead with a coat that wasn’t unzipped and hanging somewhere between their shoulders and elbows. These days, kids feel so much as a zephyr when heading out to add to their comic book or record collection, and they’ll whip out a smorgasbord of cozy cardigans that’d make Fred Rogers green with envy. Elbow patches, sturdy buttons and a solid knit are the go-to get-up in chilly weather—and without even a hint of irony.


Robust Trousers

Gone are the days of accidental buttcrack flashes, for teens are buying jeans so high-waisted they cover at least one row of ribs. On more casual days, they yank up their jogging pants to nip-level before zipping their belongings (smartphones, cash, Werther’s Originals, etc.) into one of the many practical pockets. And it’s not just the sportswear that has the elasticized waistbands: everything from dress pants to school-ready chinos to designer denim has them now. Easy-on bottoms in sturdy fabrics aren’t just for nanas who shop from mailers anymore.

Fifties Frocks

Grandma still wears dresses she sewed herself, because it was the only way to get what she really wanted. Now you can easily find the same styles for your wee ones, whether they’re in pre-K or high school. Floral patterns with deep, plentiful pockets are all the rage, and of course they must be worn with leggings, comfortable kicks and ankle socks. Of course. Those who love the swish of a skirt on their legs also want their feet to be ready to hoof it across the school between periods or do some cartwheels at the playground: no fancy footwear for these fashionistas.

Retro Prints

Gampy’s closet is straight-up inspiring the slew of tops hitting the racks right now. From bowling team button-downs to all-over print tees in the browns of his youth, what’s old is new again. That also goes for his colorful collection of suspenders and paint-splattered clothes designated for DIY home projects. Watching high schoolers heading to their cars today, you’d expect them to be popping into a vintage Chrystler, not some shiny new hybrid with Wi-fi capabilities.

Sensible Footwear

Ask anyone over sixty, and they’ll show you that sandals were made to be worn with a thick pair of black cotton socks. Kids take it a step further, stepping into sporty slides with hilarious knee-highs that show their personality or favorite team all year ‘round. When they do don something closed-toe, it’s a practically orthotic sneaker or car shoe—the thicker the sole and firmer the arch support, the better. And at the end of the day, they aren’t tossing that footwear into the shoe rack. OH NO. They’re spit-shining them to ensure they stay mark-free for as long as possible. It’s the responsible thing to do in this economy, amIright?

Topping it Off

Many a middle schooler purposely steps out of the shower with a combover, then puts on their retro-feel eyeglasses. Big frames, no shame. And if their outfits don’t technically match—pattern, color, or decade—they don’t care; they’re still taking a selfie with a Polaroid filter. The Get Off My Lawn generation has rubbed off on today’s kids, only instead of not worrying about offending someone who steps on their property without permission, they don’t care about the opinion on their outfits that they never asked for. And it’s AWESOME. This level of cool is straight-up enviable.

Between the weather-appropriate get-ups, sensible footwear, and overall take-it-or-leave-it attitude about their personal style, today’s trendiest kids are making all the right decisions in my book. (Then again, I’m a longtime member of Team Cardigan so I might be a little biased.)

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