Millennials are known for a few things when it comes to purchasing power and buying decisions. To start, most of them have a large amount of student debt, which significantly handicaps their ability to invest and get started on important life projects like having a family or buying a house, which makes for a more cost-conscious consumer (that is a nice way of saying they are always broke).
Although disposable income isn’t flowing like kombucha out of the pockets of Gen Y-ers, they choose to pay more for certain things on the basis of social or environmental conscience, see Patagonia, Warby Parker and Toms. They also make more sustainable shopping decisions, like buying fewer products of higher quality as opposed to a lot of cheap, non-durable things, which gets you a narrower selection of clothes and jewelry, for example, but allows you to afford higher-quality staples and spend more on products that match your values.
Here is a list based on my very own assessment of the millennial population and its needs, as an active member of this group that reluctantly accepts all the media attention for being the generation where it all started to come down.
A pair of real gold earrings
I once wore fake gold and silver jewelry. It’s not sexy: after a few days, the horrible chemical particles tinting the cheap pieces of metal start to come off turning your finger green and your heart black. If you are lucky, you can’t even wear that stuff or you’ll get itchy ears or even a small rash.
Yellow gold has become the favorite precious metal for fashionistas and designers. I used to belong to the silver clan and my engagement ring is made of white gold, but at some point, everything changed and all I want now is yellow gold. One of the best pieces of jewelry I own is a pair of 14k gold-plated small earrings that go with everything and became my everyday earrings a few years ago. Having real gold and gold-plated jewelry is part of the transition to adulthood, also, embrace minimalism and stick to small, simple earrings and classic hoops that you would be comfortable getting married and having a board room presentation in.
My favorite destinations for chic and timeless jewelry are AUrate and Mejuri.
My pick here is VEJA. These minimalist trainers say “I’m stylish, yet environmentally-conscious”. A perfect example of a product with a price premium that millennials would gladly pay for, given the unmatched eco-conscience the brand represents.
Other brands to look for are adidas and Common Projects.
An oversized blazer
Blazers are the perfect way to make a dull outfit interesting. The oversized silhouette gives you more flexibility to wear that magical blazer with jeans and heels, or jeans and sneakers. Everlane makes single- and double-breasted styles that go with everything and will save you on interview day AND date night alike.
High-waisted, cheeky, boyfriend, cropped or distressed, the look and feel of a ’90s inspired pair of jeans gives you that effortless cool that lots of millennials spend a lot of effort trying to achieve. Check out Everlane denim and Reformation jeans for ethical and sustainable options, and Mother, Frame and AYR for just cool ones. OBVIOUSLY, a pair of jeans actually made in the ’90s is the best way to go about this. Find a pair of ’90s inspired jeans at a thrift store near you (and pay way less for them too).
A floral dress
Yeah, this is basically all about Reformation. Although Faithfull, Nobody’s Child, & Other Stories and Sézzane have pretty dreamy stuff too.
An Amazon Prime subscription
Because for all the things where you don’t want to spend more than the minimum, there is always Amazon. God bless King Bezos (I follow him on Instagram and my baby owns Amazon stock, that’s how deep our commitment is).
A fall staple and easy way to not having to get a pedicure. The style pictured above is from H&M. Why H&M? Because the equivalent Stuart Weitzman boots cost 8 times the price of these ones (student loans, remember?)
Propper adult skincare
Depending on the kind of millennial you are (1980 to 2000 is a pretty wide range), you need to start caring for your skin more seriously. Glossier has a good price point to get started and experiment with serums, moisturizers and [insert skincare products I don’t know about because I’m not that knowledgeable about skincare]. They belong to this list because they are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, paraben-free, alcohol-free and highly rated.
Proper makeup basics
The 3 things I can’t live without are: mascara, lip gloss and highlighter. I get them all from Glossier because when I find something I like, I stick with it, but other brands I’ve used that meet similar clean standards are Physicians formula and Josie Maran (best organic mascara).
Away is one of those brands made for millennials by millennials. They know we don’t want to (or can’t) pay excessive prices for something that is meant to be carried around on dirty airport floors and thrown into a sad storage space along with other people’s unsanitary suitcases. Plus, they have cute colors and you can monogram-stamp yours. Monograms: the ultimate expression of self-love.
A satin skirt
I just like them and they are super versatile. This one is from Zara, I know Zara’s business model is unsustainable, but if you buy something and care for it and get many wears out of it, it’s not that bad. Fast fashion is ok if you do it slow.
A premium in-app service
Caring more for how you spend your time as you get older makes you question the need to listen to ads. In my previous life, I never would have paid for a premium subscription to anything, but the first world spoils you and most of them are really affordable. They have come up with price points that most of us can pay and don’t even notice so that these services can seamlessly become part of our lives and, ultimately, another thing we can’t live without.
Favorites to cope with the millennial life: Headspace, Spotify, Calm.
A puffer jacket
If you don’t want to pay $1,000 for Canada Goose, there are endless, more rational avenues to wear a puffer jacket. Everlane, H&M and asos are all excellent options, just make sure you really like the style and it’s made to last, not just cute.
By the way, did you know they make puffer jackets for babies? There is an unnecessary purchase I won’t be able to resist.
Good headphones (especially noise-canceling ones) can change your life, especially if you are one of those people who like to focus on one thing for hours and can’t be bothered with your co-workers’ noise or if you fly a lot. The market is broad when it comes to making you pay more for headphones, AirPods, Samsung buds, Beats by Dre… They are all acceptable ways of spending $150+.
My pick here is Bose.
A minimalist wall print
Socoery6, The Poster Club and Etsy are good places to find line-drawn human silhouettes, weird faces and brushstroke canvas art that turns your house walls introspective and sensitive in an instant.
Because they represent the nostalgia of the lost good days of good music.
Ideally, you’ve had these t-shirts since you were 15 and went to see one of those bands, but if you don’t, thrift stores and eBay are places where you could get lucky and find an authentic vintage (not just vintage-looking) tee. If you can’t find them there, Revolve, H&M and Amazon are full of options.
There you have it. My list to make every millennial woman happy and Instagram ready (can Instagram be over soon, btw?)