The Fashion Status Symbols of the Yuccie

Jessica Schiffer

As you may already know, given its 192,000 shares, an article posted on Mashable in early June boldly declared the death of the hipster amid the rise of a new 20-to-30-something type known as the yuccie. And who are these people, exactly? Well, here is how author David Infante describes yuccies:

“Young urban creatives. In a nutshell, a slice of Generation Y, borne of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power of education, and infected by the conviction that not only do we deserve to pursue our dreams; we should profit from them.”

Or, when he puts it less lightly, a “despicable” corner of the “millenn-intelligentsia” who flock to cities like New York and San Francisco in pursuit of ample funds and creative autonomy—a pairing that is often difficult to come by. Put simply, we yuccies—yes, I’m afraid I qualify—want to live the good life, but refuse to do so at the expense of our (surely exceptional) creative talents and the aura of artiness that comes with them.

Unsurprisingly, this ideal has a lot of implications on our style, from the brands we prefer to the specific way we wear our clothing. In fact, our relationship to fashion highlights our larger hypocrisy: We insist on the value of unbridled creativity while putting a huge stake in material goods like clothing and accessories. And for what reason—their unique or groundbreaking design? No, though we’d like you to think that.

Instead, we’re enamoured by items that convey our status as yuccies, sans the derogatory name. We lust after pieces that render us cool simply because we own them, creating a new list of status symbols in place of the obvious ones that we’re more likely to deride (a label-emblazoned bag, for instance, or an easily identifiable luxury watch). The pieces we prefer are more subtle than loud, recognised only by the rest of our breed. They are items so exclusively cool that only other “cool people” can identify them.

Think Common Projects sneakers, whose minimalist appeal stands out from the rest via tiny style numbers imprinted on the heel. They won’t look special to the average Jane or Joe, but those in the know are aware they cost at least $400. Mansur Gavriel bucket bags are another yuccie favourite, given their luxury appeal (see: endless wait-lists) that comes without the usual overembellishment. As with the aforementioned sneakers, the only obvious branding is a small gold-stamped logo that would be easy to miss in passing. With prices less exorbitant than other handbag lines—most run between $495 and $695—they also imply less slavishness to fashion (i.e., no, I will not spend my whole paycheck on a purse), but that idea grows murky when all of your peers seem to have the same one. Other yuccie standbys include similarly pared-back yet in-the-know items: Miansai bracelets, Le Labo perfume, and so on, as well as designs by eco-friendly brands like Reformation, which lend our shopping habits an all-too-proud air of social consciousness.

Brands and their marketing teams have definitely caught on to the growing appeal of these yuccie-approved qualities, and their efforts to woo us are working—whether we’d like to admit it or not. Consider Outdoor Voices, an activewear brand founded in 2013 by Tyler Haney, who confessed to Racked that it was intentionally marketed toward “the Reformation and Glossier generation,” or, essentially, the yuccie crowd. The line offers streamlined athleticwear for those who are too cool for an obvious choice like Lululemon but not willing to settle for something as “basic” as a Champion hoodie, either. It’s sportswear for the self-declared “special” set—successful creatives who have turned working out into a status symbol in and of itself, and require new clothing altogether to make exercise their own.

Re/Done denim is another example from the yuccie-geared market, not least because its motto is “Iconic. Sustainable. Individual.” Sourcing from vintage jeans, it transforms its denim into modern styles like the high-rise cropped or straight skinny, each piece inevitably unique by way of design. Easy on the environment? Check. Implicitly out of the ordinary? Check. Discreetly cool? Check. It’s the denim line of a yuccie’s dreams.

Items like the above send mixed signals to the world: I care about fashion and what my fashion says about me, but I’d hate for that to be too obvious. Just as we desire wealth and creative freedom, we yuccies want to be fashionable without other people knowing that’s what we want. We aspire to seem above it all—the latest trends, the need to be cool—while simultaneously curating our lives and our wardrobes in a way that will convey just how on top of certain trends, and how cool, we really are.

The tricky part, now that we’re putting ourselves on blast, is to determine where to go from here. As Infante writes on Mashable, “I’m not ashamed of it, and you shouldn’t be either if this sounds like you. But I’m not proud of it either.” All we know for sure is “it’s a bit yucky.”

Read the original article over at Mashable, and scroll down to shop some yuccie-approved items! We promise not to tell anyone you like them.

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