These 9 'Gen Z' Stores Sell Insanely Cute (and Inexpensive) Clothes
TikTok just inspired our next shopping spree.
In case you haven't heard, GenZ has a lot of opinions when it comes to fashion. But before you get defensive over some of their anti-millennial, anti-'cheugy' style choices (you can still wear your skinny jeans), or side-eye the questionable throwback trends they've brought back to haunt us (i.e. skorts and low-rise jeans), you might want to listen up. Perhaps you won't like everything they're shopping, but this next generation has the right idea in terms of how to shop, and the proof is in the stores Gen Z is obsessed with.
Fashion has come a long way in terms of representation, size inclusivity, and eco-friendly morale, but the industry still has a long way to go — and Gen Z isn't giving them a pass. Many young shoppers are aiming to shop smarter and use their money to supporting brands that promote gender inclusivity and gender fluidity, brands making an honest effort to improve their sustainability practices, and reduce their carbon footprint. They understand that it's not so much about what you shop, but where you shop; money is power, and you can make a change but putting your dollars where your heart is.
Below, we've rounded up nine of the most popular stores among Gen Z, according to their promotion of said stores via social media. The list is a mix of familiar online boutiques trying to disassociate themselves from fast fashion's bad rap, stores beloved by both Gen Z and millennials alike, and new-to-the-market labels that deserve a closer look. Read on to find out why these clothing stores have gotten the attention of the next generation, and why you might want to support them, too.
Cider prides itself on being a "globally-minded, social-first" fashion brand specializing in clothes for a new generation. Its inventory includes trendy items like matching sets, knits, trousers, and more, with styles obviously inspired by eras like Y2K, the '90s, and the '70s. You can browse the site by clothing categories and collections (which is standard), or you could shop based on your mood (which is unique). So whether you're feeling cute, sophisticated, hot, cool, or cozy, Cider's got you covered. The online store is also committed to reducing its carbon footprint and aims to do so by operating via a pre-order model — aka making sure it's only producing what customers actually want.
There may not be an option to browse based on your mood on Peppemayo, but we guarantee there's something for any and every vibe or occasion you're shopping for. The Australian-based online boutique is massive and sells women's clothing, shoes, accessories, beauty, and skincare products. New styles are added to the store every week, including Peppermayo exclusives and items from brands such as Abrand, Levi's, Lees, Wrangler, and more. Its prices are a bit higher than other fast-fashion sites, but you do get what you pay for in terms of quality.
Even if you're a millennial, you're probably familiar with Princess Polly. The e-comm site was born off the Gold Coast of Australia in 2010 and has since expanded to not one but two offices, one in Burleigh Heads and the other in West Hollywood. There's no getting around it: with its promise of fast shipping, easy returns, and a ton of inventory, Princess Polly can definitely be categorized as fast-fashion. However, it isn't deserving of the bad rap fast-fashion is often associated with. To prove it, the brand initiated an Earth Club mission, vowing to put the planet and its people first, as well as striving to use lower impact materials. In 2021, Princess Polly also became an active participant in the United Nations Global Compact and aligned its Earth Club mission with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Gen Z is edikted (see what we did there?) to this online shop, and we can see why. Edikted is what Coconut girl dreams are made of: affordable clothing that's on-trend that not only speaks to the new generation's style (so many graphic tees), but that also aligns with their beliefs. Everything on the Edikted's site is produced in controlled amounts, depending on what's in demand, in order to reduce waste, and therefore reducing the store's carbon footprint.
Madewell has been around since May of 2006 and we feel confident saying it's one of those stores fashionistas of all ages adore. The brand is best known for its high-quality denim, but its inventory also includes laid-back tees, comfortable dresses and jumpsuits, loungewear, jackets, and everything in between. Beyond its clothes, Madewell is beloved for its size inclusivity (carrying styles in plus, petite, tall, taller, and maternity), its social policies (including how it sources its materials and monitors the working conditions of its employees), and sustainability practices, so its no surprise Gen Z hopped on this bandwagon.
Feeling nostalgic? Head over to Rue21 (not to get confused with Forever 21) for a shopping experience that's as close to a blast from the past as you're going to get. Gen Z loves this site for its throwback graphic and band tees, every style of denim you can imagine (from boyfriend to mom and dad jeans), as well as accessories inspired by the '90s and early aughts such as butterfly hairclips, bucket hats, and even bedazzled face masks. It's also incredibly size-inclusive, boasting an entire section for plus-size styles with a massive selection to browse. New arrivals drop every day of the week and shoppers can browse by item or themed collections advertised on the homepage, like this Saweetie Collab and Pride Collection.
American Eagle introduced Aerie lingerie back in February 2006 and opened the first Aerie store in August of that same year. The sister brand has since expanded into the loungewear, athleisure, and apparel categories and is widely celebrated for its #AerieReal campaign, in which the brand never digitally retouches its models. There's honestly so much to love about Aerie, and that includes the brand's beyond comfortable T-shirts, underwear, and throw-on-and-go items. Everything looks as good as it feels, and if there's anything Gen Z loves more than eco-friendly, inclusive, quality brands, it's comfort.
The Phoenix Brand
Gen Z already has their fingers on the pulse of The Phoenix Brand, an up-and-coming unisex label to watch for. The brand's philosophy is an earthly one: the founders have made an environmental commitment to only using natural, plant-based fibers and other alternative renewable fabrics so as not to contribute to the fashion industry's already mind-boggling environmental pollution. They also strive to support and uplift artists by collaborating with creators on various garment designs. Its current offerings include a flamingo-printed bowling top, half-zips, cropped tops, T-shirts, and fleeces.
Like Princess Polly, BooHoo is another fast-fashion online store Gen Z loves that millennials will probably be familiar with. The brand has dubbed itself your "fashion bestie," introducing over 500 new styles to its online shop for you to browse every week. But also like Princess Polly, BooHoo wants to make it known that they aren't your typical fast-fashion boutique. The company is charitable, donating to organizations and causes like Pride, Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Coppa Feel, the Red Cross' 'We Love Manchester victims' fund, and more. Plus, it's also established a new and improved sustainability plan that holds them accountable in terms of better material sourcing, recycling materials, reducing textile waste, and more.