What’s Gen Z Yellow and How to Wear It Come Fall

You might have noticed that yellow is taking over Millennial Pink’s position as the new “it” color. Dubbed “Gen Z Yellow,” this bright canary color has become the next hue that defines a generation. Some say that the color’s volatile and “notice me” nature is synonymous with the latest generation’s (Gen Z) ideals.

Clockwise from left: Selena Gomez in the MV of “Fetish” / Beyoncé in the MV of “Hold Up” /
Kylie Jenner’s 2017 QUAYXKYLIE collection ad campaign

Images: YouTube/ Instagram

According to a book called Hello Gen Z, written by an Australian social researcher Claire Madden, those who fall under Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials) are born between 1980 and 1994, while Generation Z members are born between 1995 and 2009. Gen Z makes up nearly a quarter of the world’s population! As for the term “Gen Z Yellow,” many sources cite Man Repeller’s article as its origin. The term has stirred controversy about marketing a color using a generation, or if stereotyping a generation in this manner is even a good idea.

The book cover of “Hello Gen Z”
Image: Claire Madden

The truth is, the yellow trend is a byproduct of the “art hoe” movement that started on Tumblr, in which teenagers superimpose their selfies over paintings by Van Gogh or Klimt. The original intention was to encourage people of color to express themselves and this movement allowed them to have a voice within society. Search #arthoe on Instagram and you’ll come across a bunch of posts featuring sunflowers, Kanken backpacks, art and people wearing Gen Z Yellow. So, in a way, the trend was started by a group of Gen Z and women of color (WOC).

“Art hoe” movement co-founder Mars is a Gen Z + WOC artist.
Image: Pinterest

Nonetheless, everyone can wear yellow, regardless of age and skin color. If you’re tired of the sweet and girly Millennial Pink, congratulations – there’s finally a more unisex color to play with!

Start with Accessories

I know going all out for yellow can be tough if you’ve been wearing darker hues like blacks and blues. From a fashion perspective, yellow may not be the easiest color to work with. Luckily you can always start with accessories. Warm up your look by accessorizing with yellow sunnies, earrings, a sling bag, belt, socks or sneakers.

Choose a Statement Piece

You can wear just one yellow piece and work your way around it by pairing it with neutrals like black, brown or gray. Pairing black with yellow is pure chic, while brown with yellow creates a more nostalgic mood reminiscent of the ‘70s. In terms of materials, opt for matte textures like faux suede or corduroy if you don’t want a bold look.

Tone It Down a Bit

Look for variations of the hue, such as mustard, marigold, pastel or neon. “Mellow Yellow,” which is a darker shade of yellow, was crowned one of the key colors for Spring/Summer 2020 by trend-forecasting company WGSN and color expert Coloro. Described as being earthy, baked and retro, Mellow Yellow can easily be incorporated into your fall wardrobe.

Wear Yellow Prints and Patterns

Leopard print, croc grain and plaids are some fall-friendly patterns that effortlessly embrace the color, not to mention they’re très chic this season!

Go All Out for Yellow

Once you’re comfortable with the color, try a yellow dress! Complement it with brownish makeup and accessories for an earthy autumnal look. Make sure to add some warm-toned blush as a head-to-toe yellow outfit can wash you out especially if you’re fair toned.

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