The BLOG: Culture

Millennials Changed The Clothing Culture

Spending time with family is always the best.  Good food … good company.  And, of course, your mother still scolding you.

I was in Atlanta on business last week and I crashed with my folks, who live outside the city.  The day I flew in, I knew I needed a little time to stretch my legs.  So after settling in and catching up on emails, I went for a pretty intense run.

I walked back into the house and asked my mother if she wanted to drive down to the store with me while I picked up some shaving cream.

“Aren’t you going to shower and change first?” she asked.

Apparently going out in public in what was essentially pajamas while covered in sweat was something that surprised her.

Reflecting on the look on her face (which may have had just as much to do with my smell as it did with the outfit), I sort of get it.

We went to Catholic school growing up.  We wore uniforms.  We’d NEVER think of wearing shorts or even jeans to church.

In middle school, when we attended a class trip to a Broadway show, we wore our Sunday best.

You’d never think about leaving the house in sweats … much less flip flops.

Then, something happened.

My generation headed off to college.  We experienced a freedom where all of a sudden, we could go to class in sweat pants, hoodies, and flip flops.

And that stuck with us.

I’ll never forget the time I was in my 20s and cashing out at Costco.  I was wearing grungy sweats.  The elderly woman checking in front of me kept looking back at me in disgust.

Finally, she spilled it.  “You look like you’ve given up on life.”

Gee, lady, thanks.  I just got eight hours of sleep and a fresh haircut, but now I feel like playing in traffic.

I don’t require my employees to wear shirts and ties.  But many dress like me, sporting business casual attire on a regular basis such as jeans and blazers.  Or the occasional pro-America T-shirt.

But heading to the grocery store or a coffee shop on the weekend?  Don’t be surprised to see me in gym shorts and a cut-off shirt.

Millennials have changed the clothing culture … and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Kyle S. Reyes is President and CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing. He’s also an acclaimed keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and social media. You can follow him on Facebook.