Prep talk: 'yindies' revive 80s Wall Street look for generation Z

Priya Elan
·2-min read

In the ultimate moment of fashion revival, the 80s yuppie look is back – but with a difference. The “yindies” (young ironic nostalgic dresser), is bringing back the suited, Wall Street look but with a touch of knowing self-reference and elements of preppy style too.

The first cast photograph of the new Gossip Girl reboot, the current season of The Crown, which features Diana Spencer’s 1980s Sloane Ranger chic and the navy suit jacket of Donald Trump impersonator Sarah Cooper, have all riffed on the classic powersuit silhouette.

Related: 'Charles is very stylish': how The Crown's costume designer brought 1980s to life

“It’s an ironic take on what some could see as a costume for corporate life,” said Misty White Sidell, a reporter from Women’s Wear Daily.

“Irony is a huge part of how people dress now,” Jack Carlson, the founder of designers Rowing Blazers added. “By incorporating irony in the way you dress it’s showing off your knowledge. There’s empowerment through appropriating the yuppie look: it’s almost a positive spin on it.”

Carlson’s label recently recreated Diana, Princess of Wales’s sheep jumper – a yuppie classic – in collaboration with original designers Warm & Wonderful. “The 80s are back in a big way,” he says. “For the past 10 years people have been talking about the 90s with heritage brands, but now you are seeing a shift to the 80s.”

For designer Carly Mark, the co-founder of Puppets and Puppets, the suit provided a creative cornerstone when the fashion label’s spring/summer 2020 collection was inspired by ultimate 80s yuppie Patrick Bateman from Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.

“The suit is a strong and eloquent archetype. [There’s] so much information about power, money and masculinity wrapped into one design. It has the ability to change a body, give it power.”

But for yindies themselves their experience of corporate working is not about power. “Generation Z consumers are having to find their way into the corporate world via internship,” says Sidell. The dilemma they face is an ideological one. “They are navigating corporate and capitalist structures despite our generation’s pro-labour, anti-capitalist, anti-big business sentiments.”

This narrative is expressed in the BBC series Industry, whose costumes have an 80s influence. “The yuppies of the 80s cast a long shadow over the looks I designed,” says costume designer Claire Finlay-Thompson, who was influenced by American Psycho and The Bonfire of the Vanities.

“You can see it in the suit fabric, the braces and the huge variety of shirt collars. There are an astonishing array.”