Breaking News: People Don’t Like Girls Who Wear Abercrombie and Fitch Anymore

Today’s teenagers have realized something that my peers in high school failed to realize back in the mid-2000s: Abercrombie and Fitch is totally lame.

Earlier this month, The New Yorker published a lengthy discussion of how and why some stores aimed at teens are floundering. Analysts have actually tried to come up with reasons for A&F, American Eagle, and Aeropostale’s rapid decline in popularity. Apparently it’s because everybody I went to high school with was a conformist, while today’s teens care more about copying high fashion cheaply.

Abercrombie in particular shot itself in the foot in the late 2000s when it marketed itself as a “luxury” and “exclusionary” brand (The New Yorker‘s words, not mine. I never thought of the moose logo as being somehow exclusionary. I just saw it as a representation of a store that doused its clothing in cologne and made you rifle through its merchandise in the dark. I was, however, quite the fan of American Eagle.).

This attitude started working against Abercrombie during the recession, around 2008. That’s when [analyst Steph] Wissink started noticing fewer Abercrombie logos in the schools she visited; people (young, old, fat, skinny) could no longer afford Abercrombie’s prices for T-shirts and hoodies. Around this the time, H&M and Forever 21 started to thrive by selling super-cheap, accessible runway knockoffs. The economy has recovered since then, but the turn toward “fast fashion” proved durable.

Over the past few years, I realized I didn’t see as many people wearing stuff with the moose, eagle, or seagull logo on them, but I attributed that to the fact that I am now an old person who doesn’t hang out with kids who are still running around with learner’s permits. Little did I know that these young kids have wised up and are swapping out their popped collars and lace-trimmed camis for cropped skinny jeans and whimsical button-downs.

This observation from Wissink also stuck out to me:

Ten years ago, I could walk into an auditorium of two hundred kids, I could turn my back and tell them to switch seats and scramble.” Then, she said, she would turn around and guess which kids belonged to the same social groups according to what they were wearing—usually with great success. “Today,” she said, “it’s next to impossible.”

Today’s teens use Instagram, Twitter, and blogs to express their personalities, their views on the world, and their likes and dislikes. It makes sense that they want their clothing to be another vehicle of self-expression. They don’t want to all send the same message as everybody else in their class.

The tail-end of the Millennial generation may be selfie-obsessed, but we should at least give them a little bit of credit for being more creative with their clothing than we were.

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Spending Money: You’re Doing It Wrong

Listen up, Millennials. According to your mom, your figure, and now researchers, you’re spending money all wrong. Instead of using cash, members our generation are much more likely to use a debit card to pay for our overpriced coffee, the one-gallon of gas that we need to make it to work, and our tickets to the Dollar Movie Theater.

TIME reported last week that the totally legit-sounding website “CreditCards.com” has found that Millennials are ditching the Benjamins in favor of some plastic. While more than three-fourths of adults over the age of 50 use cash to pay for items that are $5 or less, only about half of adults between 18 and 29 are doing the same (no, they aren’t stealing the stuff instead. They are just paying with either a credit or debit card).

Using a card instead of forking over a small chunk of cash may be a bad thing.

Research has suggested that we’re inclined to spend more when we swipe. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that physically handing over bills triggers an emotional pain that actually helps to deter spending, while swiping doesn’t create the same aversion. As a result, the study found, cash discourages spending whereas plastic encourages it.

So, apparently this all means that we’re more likely to spend more money than we have since we aren’t actually watching real money disappear from our hands.

Other downsides to paying with a credit and/or debit card: apparently you become more focused on the benefits of a purchase instead of the price, and you’re more likely to overspend if there’s a “minimum purchase amount” requirement in order to use a credit or debit card.

However, “CreditCards.com” (I keep putting this in quotation marks because the name is just so ridiculous) fails to give us enough credit. Let’s be real: at least a debit card is better than paying with a straight up credit card. Money is immediately withdrawn from your account when you pay with a debit card, and if you don’t have enough money in your checking account, you’ll either be unable to make the transaction at all or be forced to pay a hefty overcharge fee.

Not gonna lie, I am far more inclined to use a credit card than any other method of payment. But I actually find myself more willing to spend money when I actually have cash as opposed to when I only have a credit card. It’s almost like I see it as loose change or something (like, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to waste a few one dollar bills on some junk from a vending machine).

I’m a Walking Stereotype

I’m in my mid-20s, I have two advanced degrees, I am not employed, and… I live at home with my parents.

I’m basically the stereotypical millennial. Except I dislike selfies.

Okay, so let’s get this straight: I’m living at home TEMPORARILY. For the summer. For three months.

My year-long legal fellowship doesn’t begin for another couple of weeks because I had to take the bar exam first.

The funny part about the whole “I’m living at home” thing is that I’ve already signed a lease for an apartment that begins in mid-August. The apartment in a new complex that’s still under construction. That’s right, I signed a contract to live in a place that I’ve never actually seen and doesn’t technically exist yet. But on the plus side, no one will have ever used my kitchen or bathroom until I step foot in the place. Priorities, people.

So, what does all this mean?

It means I was studying for the life-changing, insanity-inducing, beast-of-a-test known as “the bar exam” AT HOME. I was staying up until odd hours of the night and slaving away at the same desk I sat at almost a decade ago when I was in high school. The same desk where I did my calculus homework, typed up my college applications, and did research on shark dissection (shoutout to my Advanced Biology class from 9th Grade; yeah, I took that class back when I thought I wanted to be a doctor. That plan fell through rather quickly. Do you know how disgusting dissection is? It didn’t help that my lab partner thought it would be a grand idea to dissect the tiny shark’s brain).

It was weird.

“Your room looks like what it used to in high school,” my mom complained one day. “It’s a mess.”

My childhood bedroom is sort of in limbo, just like me. Some elements of my childhood remain, while others have been discarded over the years.

It’s got remnants of being a kid: all my furniture is the same, my old dead PC that was fried due to a power surge is collecting dust on my desk, and my favorite childhood books are stacked on a shelf in my closet. There are dozens of VHS TAPES (you read that right) filled with recorded episodes of “8 Simple Rules” in there somewhere too. It’s like a graveyard of my youth.

But then a lot of stuff has disappeared, now that I think about it. The poster of singer Michelle Branch is gone, as are the stupid frilly pink curtains. The bulletin board littered with movie stubs, ads ripped from magazines, and photos of people I’m not even friends with anymore has been replaced. The dinosaur-like non-flatscreen TV is long-gone. Instead of math and science textbooks, my floor is covered with textbooks from law school and outlines from my Evidence and Torts classes. The walls are now painted a faint green instead of baby pink.

Nothing screams “adulthood” more than neutral-colored walls with minimal wall decorations. Slowly but surely, I’m headed into adulthood – and so is my room.

Charting Millennials

I was going through all the tweets I’ve favorited over the past several months, and I noticed a recurring theme: charts and graphs that relate to millennials. I think I favorited or retweeted them with the intention of sharing of them on here, but then I forgot about them. * cue sad violin * However, my propensity to be forgetful works out well, because now I can provide y’all with a compendium of charts. #checkitout

FIRST, the number of young-uns that identify themselves as Republicans shocked Harvard researchers earlier this spring. Apparently this is a bad thing for Democrats who are running in the 2014 midterm elections. policy-mic-political-id

And then there’s this: skeptical Millennials are skeptical of everything.


 

SECOND, the National Low Income Housing Coalition put together a chart of how many hours a person working a minimum-wage job would have to work in order to be able to afford rent in their state. What I learned from this chart: you need to work 69 more hours per week in New York than you would in Ohio in order to keep a roof over your head (the rent is too damn high!).

 


 

THIRD, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that today’s teenagers are less likely to be employed than ever. While nearly 60 percent of teens in the 1980s held summer jobs, only about 35 percent have held summer jobs in the 2010s. However, researchers don’t think the economy is the reason behind this dramatic decrease. They attribute the drop to the increasing number of students enrolling in summer courses in high school and college. This is one of many charts that are based on the results of the extensive study that I found particularly interesting: kids from more financially well-off families are more likely to have a summer job than their less well-off peers.

 


 

FOURTH, National Public Radio and the Harvard School of Public Health teamed up to conduct an elaborate study on what various age groups across America are stressed about. This chart is just a snippet of all the data they collected, but it’s interesting that our generation in particular is incredibly frazzled about our overall responsibilities.

 


 

FIFTH, the American government’s Census Bureau created a set of insanely beautiful and elaborate graphics explaining what career fields particular college majors actually end up working in. As FactTank at the Pew Research Center explained, the thicker the line, the greater the share of people in the particular job field. If you visit the actual Census Bureau website, you can filter out certain groups to see where they ended up (for example, women who majored in a STEM field versus men who did the same).

 


 

LASTLY, in a news story that surprised ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, student loans are rising. The Brookings Institution released this fancy graph, and I honestly have no idea how to interpret it, but it looks both cool and depressing, so here you go. Check out details about the graph here.

The 40-Year-Old Millennial Sympathizer

It’s no secret that Millennials get a bad rap – especially among folks in the post-Baby Boomer generation. This is why it was especially refreshing to run across a 40-something’s “apology” in the New York Times for his generation’s tendency to rag on us.

Op-Ed columnist Frank Bruni writes,

Among Americans age 40 and older, there’s a pastime more popular than football, Candy Crush or HBO.

It’s bashing millennials.

Oh, the hours of fun we have, marveling at their self-fascination and gaping at their sense of entitlement! It’s been an especially spirited romp lately, as a new batch of them graduate from college and gambol toward our cubicles, prompting us to wonder afresh about the havoc they’ll wreak on our world.

We have a hell of a lot of nerve, considering the havoc we’ve wrought on theirs.

Bruni’s article is a poignant piece on the many different ways our generation has been shafted, and he remarks what a shame it is that no one is doing anything to fix it. Here are some of my favorite excerpts and points from his piece:

  • He notes we’re not spending enough public funds and resources on supporting America’s youth. Quoting a former Nebraska governor, who said, “If we’re trying to figure out how to advance the next generation’s future, we need to be spending more on the next generation, and we’re spending it on yesterday’s generation. I am not the future. My 12-year-old son is. But if you look at the spending, you’d think I’m the future.”
  • “Employment figures… confirm a much higher rate of joblessness among Americans ages 18 to 29 than among the whole population.”
  • The government’s regulation of carbon emissions is nowhere near strict enough. In half a century, it will lead to disastrous consequences.

We conveniently overlook how much more they’ve had to pay for college than we did, the loans they’ve racked up and the fact that nothing explains their employment difficulties better than a generally crummy economy, which certainly isn’t their fault.

Millennials are by no means untouchable angels who can do no wrong. We are far too addicted to social media, we often demand and expect far too much, and we have a tendency to be rather self-absorbed. But that’s not all we are.

We are also the most educated generation in history, we are more adept at accepting change, and we are more connected to people all over the world than ever before.

Every generation has its quirks and its flaws. Millennials aren’t some unique generation that suddenly its elders disapprove of. It’s rather unfair that the generations that came before us (X and the Baby Boomers) are so quick to judge us – especially when those generations were placed under the same scrutiny and condemnation only a few decades ago.

Wanna Know How Much It Would Cost to Get Your Favorite Musician to Perform at Your Birthday Party?

If you’re looking for some form of entertainment for your next summer party, what could possibly be better than hiring your favorite musician for a few hours? Well, that is, if you’re a millionaire with at least $50,000 in cash lying around.

Data service company Priceonomics released a lengthy list last week of the prices famous musicians charge for private appearances. It’s important to note that the rates are based on information from a third-party booker that deals with collegiate concerts, so the prices listed below may be “negotiable.”

Surprising observations:

  • LUDACRIS “only” charges $60K-80K for an appearance, which seems rather low compared to his star power (as an actor, rapper, and producer). Fellow rapper B.o.B, who has had a few hits, but hasn’t been around as long as Ludacris, charges the same amount.
  • Indie bands like VAMPIRE WEEKEND and ARCADE FIRE cost a pretty penny.
  • THE KILLERS want at least $500K to perform at a private gig – which seems like an insane price, considering the fact that their last big single came out four or five years ago.
  • As Slate pointed out, white artists demand a significantly higher fee than their African-American counterparts. For example, MACKLEMORE demands at least $200K-$300K, while KENDRICK LAMAR demands at least $150K, PHARRELL demands between $125K- $175K, and FLO RIDA demands even less at $100K.
  • I refuse to believe that OF MONSTERS & MEN (whom I love) and ONE DIRECTION (who, I will admit, I do jam out to) charge the same booking fee.

$100K and up

$50K and upbookingrates3

Which musician(s) would you hire if you had the money and were willing to spend it? I would probably pick Mumford & Sons, Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay (but that price would make me squirm), or Train.