IF YOU WERE TO BREAK INTO MY FLAT ON A WEEKDAY MORNING, you would no doubt hear me warbling along to Greatest Hits by Journey in the shower, informing everyone within earshot that I’m just a small town girl living in a lonely world. Sadly, I’m yet to rinse off and jump straight onto the midnight train going anywhere, but all that aside, I would have still started the day with my own small form of happy-making meditation – an ’80s hair-metal singalong.
Whitesnake, AC/DC, Twisted Sister; all my favourite leather-clad, bouffant-sporting boys make an appearance at some point, and there are even some accompanying dance moves when it comes to Def Leppard.
For now, though, all you need to know is that lately, I’ve needed these bands more than ever. Times have been tough. Work has been long, health poor and money tight. And true to my millennial DNA, I already tend to exist in a perpetual state of worry, and/or worrying that I spend too much time worrying. Meta-worrying, if you will. My body – wanting no part in this ridiculous charade – has long since absconded, being replaced with what is essentially a large Maris Piper potato. Obviously, this just adds to all the worry.
It’s a small, if rather cold, comfort that at least I’m not alone. A study by the American Psychological Association showed that millennials are the most stressed of any other living generation, with women outranking men in terms of both stress levels and inability to deal with it. Fifty-two per cent said it’s made them lay awake at night in the past month. We are worrying ourselves sick – but do we have reason to?
Well – not to add fuel to the ﬁre, I know you’re already all gibbering wrecks – but yes and no. For a start, we’re the ﬁrst generation that has grown up with the internet. Hopelessly addicted, we’re faced with constant images of perfection and told that we’re all special snowﬂake unicorns who can also achieve the unattainable if we want it enough. Every meme tells us that if we can see it, then we can do it. We are quite literally walking renditions of I Believe I Can Fly.
Problem is, we all piled out of uni around the time that the world’s economy fell off a cliff. Grappling with student debt, paralysed by choice but also trapped by the circumstances of the job market, we had to create a whole new blueprint with which to ﬁgure out our future.
The traditional template that our predecessors had to go by – university, job, marriage, babies – no longer exists, which may well be both a blessing and a curse. Throw in climate change, the alt-right, Brexit, Trump, adventures in gender inequality and the very real fear that robots will be taking our jobs in the not-too-distant future, and it’s no wonder stress is trending. Anxiety, I read somewhere the other day, is fashionable. But just like socks under sandals, another gem borne of the season, it looks good on precisely no one.
Chances are, then, you – like me – are a clammy ball of hyperanxiety with an iPhone, hoping that motivational quotes and stupid, upside-down hammock yoga will save you. And, hey, they might. Plus they’re almost certainly more edifying than air punching to You Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll while you shave your legs in the morning. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t thoroughly recommend it. Or that I wouldn’t encourage evoking a bygone era when you need a metaphorical hug. After all, that’s what nostalgia is, isn’t it? Turning to the past for familiarity when the present feels a bit scary? Not to be glib, but I’m pretty sure it’s the reason Yorkshire pudding wraps have sent the UK into queuing meltdown, or why M&S Food opening last week in the Marina had us hyperglycaemic with utter glee. They’re both the soothing equivalent of a coddled care package from nana.
It’s also no coincidence that ’90s logomania is back with a bang, that Burberry has quite aggressively dusted off its check for SS18, or that Jeremy Scott is peddling Moschino’s take on My Little Pony. In addition, the power-shouldered corpse of Dynasty is also being exhumed and remade for our screens this month, and everyone from Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran is paying homage to pop’s past with a sprinkling of samples.
Surely the most buoying redux of all, though, was thanks to Versace, who last week reunited the OG Supers in an ode to AW91. Clad in golden chainmail, Cindy et al. bounced out to the rousing chorus of Freedom! ’90, a characteristically OTT reminder that, even when things seem dark, we still live in a world where fashion – if only for a moment – can make everything ok again. That, and a great old song.