July 8, 2018

The new "apirational class" that replaced the Yuppies of the '90s and no, it's not hipsters

New York writer J.C Pan finds every generation has a class of people who aspire for and represent affluence. The yuppies of the 80’s to 90’s have since been replaced by replaced by a new class, whose less overtly opulent lifestyle shows values have shifted.

Who were the yuppies?
Young Urban Professionals, colloquially known as “yuppies” were as modern societies tend to be, obsessed with material objects and affluence, but there was real wealth behind their prototypical black or grey suits backed by their professional degrees.

What’s changed?
It’s not entirely accurate to describe the new yuppie as mere hipsters, despite similar tendencies towards maintaining appearances. Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, public policy scholar and author of The Sum of Small Thingsdescribes the new elite as an “aspirational class” that is typified by:

  • Understated consumption that is no less expensive
  • The accrual and demonstration of cultural awareness and knowledge
  • The acquisition and demonstration of knowledge

But this aspirational class is no longer limited to billionaires but, rather anyone who has the time or will to learn all the relevant cultural references and ethical consumption norms.

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