Gen X - Forever The Cool Ones!
Written by Tiffanie Darke
We're totally psyched to present our My Generation campaign: where we celebrate each generation's lifestyle, what they're known for and how they live their lives. Meet Tiffanie Darke, a hugely successful editor who's worked for the UK's Daily Telegraph and Express, and is former editor of The Sunday Times Style magazine. She's also the author of "Now We Are 40: Whatever Happened to Generation X?" Let her give you the 411 on Gen Xers, and find out why they'll always be obsessed with being cool...
Sometimes it feels like everyone's 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 startup culture. Or Baby Boomers – now retired on fat funds, golfing around the world on luxury travel adventures and swiping right on Silver Tindr.
But what about the ones in between? Now somewhere between our late thirties and early fifties, Generation X ran the style show for a really 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, when higher education was cheaper, housing was almost affordable, and wave after wave of youth culture crashed over us: Grunge, Rave, House, Britpop, Madchester, Logomania, Cool Britannia, Girl Power, UK Laddism...each new wave a genius reaction to the one before.
We're 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 living as we fashioned it into careers and threaded it through the culture: we were the first to make food a mainstream art form, to democratize 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, chillout culture and boutique living. Oh yeah – we’ve been a hedonistic bunch. But there was no one back then recording every second of it on their Insta feed, (maybe we'd have behaved better if they had been).
So where are we now? Parenting's been kind of a comedown 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 CEO's, the family GP to my kids’ school principal – we're all Gen Xers.
Once the rulebreakers, now we're the rulemakers. But far from being riven by mid-life crises, I think we're in a great position to help. We understand our parents, the Boomers, and we admire our kid brothers and sisters, the Millennials. We can bridge the two generations, bring our experience to the first ones and our understanding to the last. Generation X, more than ever: our time is now.