Combining chic and casual style, men are embracing the 1980s yuppie aesthetic in a much more modern version.
The Covid-19 pandemic, combined with a drive to break down certain gender stereotypes, have contributed to the evolution of menswear in recent years. Altogether more relaxed, less standardized, and always more creative, menswear now seems to be taking a leap back in time with the return of yuppie style, although updated to suit the tastes and habits of new generations.
After falling into oblivion in the early stages of the pandemic, the formal suit never really regained its fashion status, but that could just be a temporary blip. The return of yuppie style could be poised to revive interest in the whole wardrobe—or almost—of the young, ambitious, and slightly materialistic executives who were the talk of the 1980s. This blast from fashion's past is highlighted by Highsnobiety, which points out that the revival of this aesthetic is much less stuffy, overtly showy and formal than it was four decades ago. All in all, it's the perfect mix of three of the key trends of 2023: normcore, recession core and quiet luxury.
What is a yuppie?
To understand what the modern version of yuppie style looks like, we first have to step back in time, more precisely to the 1980s, the decade during which the yuppies, or 'young urban professionals' emerged. They were the new generation of vibrant and upwardly mobile young executives, with comfortable incomes, who generally worked in finance, and whose lifestyle was considered ostentatious, just like their wardrobe, in total opposition to hippies. Overconsumption, materialism and superficiality were quickly associated with these urbanites in search of financial success, giving the term a pejorative connotation, but the clothing style of these ambitious executives remained... until the advent of sportswear and streetwear.
Formal and professional clothing was—in the 1980s—at the center of the yuppie wardrobe, from suits to white shirts to ties to dress shoes. All of which hailed from the big luxury fashion houses of the day, labels that yuppies flaunted loud and proud to remind everyone of their social status. And this was inevitably accessorized with a flashy watch like a Rolex.
As fashion lovers will have already understood, yuppie style stands in total opposition to the spirit of quiet luxury, the current trend boosted by the hit show "Succession." If it is indeed associated with wealthy people, it is as minimalist as it is discreet and refined. Far from the ostentatious style of the 'nouveaux riches,' this is the understated luxury of old money heirs and insiders. In fact, the revival of yuppie style is, in a way, modelled on this quiet, or discreet form of designer dressing, with a tendency to combine elegance and casualness without resorting to bling or glitz.
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'Yuppie-core,' the new cool
If the formal suit certainly informs the 2023 version of yuppie style, it is only the tie, the blazer, and possibly the white shirt that are now being kept. These are worn, not with suit pants, but with jeans—preferably loose-fitting—or chinos or even cargo pants. Sneakers can do the trick, although some opt for loafers, or even boots, depending on tastes and preferences. Note that it is no longer a question of showing off one's wealth, on the contrary, the yuppie revival seeks to be cool, calm and discreet, although it reflects a sharp and pronounced taste for fashion.
It is clear that this aesthetic is in line with the direction men's fashion has taken since the end of the various Covid lockdowns, combining the chic with the casual. As Highsnobiety points out, A$AP Rocky is the undisputed master of this style, as his look at the recent MET Gala shows. Arriving alongside Rihanna, the American rapper opted for a suit jacket, a white shirt and a thin black tie, worn with loose embroidered jeans, then topped with a Scottish kilt. This Gucci outfit was accessorized with multiple belts and black sunglasses. The modern yuppie look in all its glory.
Still in its infancy, the trend is growing fast on social networks, with already more than 14 million views for the #yuppie hashtag on TikTok. And, from the look of the many videos featuring this aesthetic, the trend isn't just confined to men's wardrobes, as women are experimenting with the look too.