Gen X - Forever The Cool Kids!
Written by Tiffanie Darke
As we proudly present our My Generation campaign, we celebrate each generation's lifestyle, what they're renowned for and how they choose to live their lives. Meet Tiffanie Darke, a hugely successful editor, who has worked for the Daily Telegraph, the Express and is former editor of The Sunday Times Style magazine. She is also author of ‘Now We Are 40: Whatever Happened to Generation X?’ Allow her to give you the lowdown on Generation X and find out why they will always be obsessed with being cool!
Sometimes it feels like everyone has forgotten about Generation X. Millennials are the ones everyone’s interested in now – with their hipster crafts, their self-entitlement, their skinny jeans and their start up culture. Or Baby Boomers – now retired on fat final salary pensions, cavorting round the world on luxury travel adventures and swiping right on silver Tindr.
But what about those in between? Now somewhere between our late thirties and early fifties, Generation X ran the style show for a very long time. Middle youth, as we were also known, for our refusal to hand down the mantle of cool for so long, we came of age in the nineties.
And how great were the nineties?! The last great decade before smartphones and the internet hit, when further education was free, housing was just about affordable, and when wave after wave of youth culture crashed over us - grunge, rave, house, Britpop, Madchester, logomania, Cool Britannia, Girl power, laddism - each new wave a brilliant reaction to the one before.
We are a generation obsessed with cool - because before chat rooms and Facebook, hanging at the bus stop with the right hairstyle and the right mix tape was the one route out of the life you had to an intoxicating new one.
For many of us, cool became our livelihood, as we fashioned it into careers and threaded it through the culture: we were the first to make food a mainstream art form, to democratise fashion, to insist on a soundtrack, to recraft our living spaces, to recast religion as spirituality. As the children of rave, Gen X oversaw the boom in festivals, glamping, hip hotels, chill out culture and boutique living. Oh yes, we’ve been a hedonistic bunch, but then there was no one back then recording every second of it on their Instagram feed, (perhaps we would have been better behaved if they had been).
So where are we now? Parenting has been something of a come down to a generation used to having things exactly their way, and suddenly we’re the ones who are the authority figures. I am still an absolutely cynical witch who likes to do naughty things and wants to burn down the establishment – except, I am the establishment now. From government ministers to CEOs, the family GP to my kids’ headmistress – we are all Generation X.
Once the rulebreakers, now we are the rulemakers. But far from being riven by mid-life crisis, I think we are poised to help. We understand our parents, the Boomers, and we admire our kid brothers and sisters, the Millennials. We can bridge these two generations, marry our experience to the latter and our understanding to the former. Generation X, more than ever – our time is now.