Yuppie-Core: Menswear’s Latest Evolution Is a Regression

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Fashion truly is cyclical. Clothes that were “in” two decades ago are back in style as new generations, ignorant to old stigmas, embody formerly discarded aesthetics.

Menswear’s evolution is pretty sluggish in the grand scheme of things but it’s still susceptible to the trends of the day.

And so, at the crossroads of quiet luxury and normcore, we find the next stage of menswear: the modern yuppie.

There’s historical precedent for this.

A generation ago, young hippies traded their tunic shirts and bell-bottoms for power suits (for the work week) and pre-faded Levi’s with loafers (for the weekend). It was the Reagan era; money was flowing and Americans dressed the part.

Today, the uncertain state of the world’s economy has in turn given rise to dueling aesthetics: budget-minded recessioncore — an intentionally understated normcore offshoot — and quiet luxury, which confusingly pedestals the concept of “stealthily” broadcasting one’s wealth to the world.

Yuppies exist in the middle ground

Their outfits have always said, “What, me worry?”

In the ’80s, the sentiment was earnest, confident. Nowadays, it’s knowingly ironic.

Today’s neo-yuppies wears blazers and ties to affect the air of the well-to-do but also retain their sensible shirts and casual jeans because, hey, they’re not trying to show off or anything.

Loud flexes are confined to jewelry and watches while the actual clothes are tasteful to the extreme, so understated that you can hardly tell whether they’re brand-new designer or vintage. IYKYK, if you will.

Yuppie-dom embodies contentedness; they’re the reason that “Life Is Good” T-shirts exist. Yuppies personify the three C’s: confidence, contentedness, comfort.

A$AP Rocky is the patron saint of contemporary yuppie-core, which checks out.

Rocky’s a new father in a deeply committed relationship with one of the world’s most powerful women and has brands falling over each other to get his co-sign as his legions of fans patiently await new music.

Yeah, I’d say the dude is at ease.

Appropriately, Rocky’s recently displayed a newfound focus on yuppie clothes worthy of a dad, wearing his blazers and trench coats with washed-out straight-leg jeans — yuppie classique.

Jonah Hill has followed suit, no pun intended.

Remember that Hill was the ur-scumbro a half-decade ago, epitomized by of the best-worst outfits ever: a basketball jersey tucked into flat-front slacks.

Now, Jonah Hill is an accomplished director/producer/actor with his first child reportedly on the way who spends his weekends surfing.

Hill’s tie-dye shirts and Grateful Dead shorts have long since been swapped out for DGAF basics and easy UGG boots.

The hippie stuff is now just a side hustle: in his day-to-day, Hill is riding menswear’s yuppie wave.

Yuppie-core wasn’t inevitable but it does make sense.

In 2018, the aforementioned scumbro was setting menswear’s pace; by 2019 we were living through a Grateful Dead-inspired summer of love; the COVID-19 pandemic initialed the rise of GORPcore; recent years birthed the Nolita Dirtbag.

These are broad stylistic strokes, to be sure — without any kind of fashion monoculture, any and all trends are in a constant dialogue with one another — but the point is that each new step builds upon the former.

As such, the building blocks of yuppie-core can be found in menswear’s recent, widespread adoption of casual tailoring, faded indigo jeans, and loafers.

The complete yuppie look goes a step further, adding harrington jackets, the occasional tie, and J.Crew’s giant-fit chinos to taste.

Yep, the ultimate yuppie clothing brand is back and dressing all the cool kids. Or, at least, some of them.

It’s a sign of the times. In times of uncertainty, you return to what you know.

As media empires approach bankruptcy and layoffs become de rigueur, it’s become cool to look entirely at ease.

Today’s pseudo-yuppies flout the weariness of the world by exuding nouveau riche insouciance, channeling a bygone era where young people had everything going for them: money, jobs, the ability to own property.

Nowadays, well, at least the clothes still look cool.

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