Gen Zs strive to turn the world on its head at almost every opportunity, and they hardly leave fashion out of the equation. From bringing vintage looks back to the front page to creating new, never-before-seen colors, this generation is pushing fashion boundaries. The outpouring of social media influence can be seen in styles worldwide, and Midwest fashion trends are no exception.

The Heartland of the United States has never given much of a concern about New York or Parisian elitist fashion trends.  Midwesterners have always been more open-minded about the clothes they wear.  Of course, nowadays, athleticism and its attendant accouterments are a necessity for many.  This is obvious with Nike and Adidas logos displayed on at least one or two items worn by many people strolling along on high school or college campuses.

Yet, when it comes to Midwest fashion trends, functionality and usefulness are just as important as looks. People living here need to consider a wide range of factors when designing their outfits. Sports play an important role. Team colors and loyalty are key factors.  Regardless, in the Midwest, how an outfit looks and feels in the real world is just as important as how it will look on social media.

Midwest Seasonal Fashions

One of the really cool things about the Midwest is the changing seasons. So, obviously, the time of year plays a significant role in style choices.  

In the fall, the air is crisp and wonderful and a time for pullovers and cozy sweaters. Winter wind and chill means warm outer gear, gloves and headwear.  As a result, Midwesterners typically choose to show off unique styles with layers and fun accessories.

Spring and summer in the Midwest is a time to show more.  Light and bright styles that reveal more of you can accentuate any person’s personality and style. Many will spend as much time as possible outdoors wandering through festivals, concerts, and enjoyable events during the spring and summer. Because of this, locals typically prefer a more casual, laid-back look that can be personalized and enhanced with fun, over-the-top accessories.

The Power of Thrifting

If there’s one thing Gen Zs understand, it’s a good deal. And there is no place better to pick up an incredible find than a well-stocked thrift store. While thrifting has been popular for fashion-focused Midwesterners for years, Gen Zs have recently taken the idea to new heights. For these up-and-coming style icons, the vintage look is where it’s at.

The world young shoppers face is so drastically different than what any other generation has faced, and there’s a new consciousness regarding consumerism. Rather than having the latest brand-name pieces, saving money and having fun with your clothes is much more trendy.

According to a recent ThredUp resale report, the secondhand market is expected to double by 2027, reaching almost $350 billion. The younger generations are showing up and showing the world the power of their increased awareness. Vintage styles and thrift shopping are definitely here to stay.

Suggestions for Glow Up Fashions

If you thought graphic tees, sweatshirts, and loud shirts were way out, think again. These older 80s and 90s styles have made a dramatic comeback in a big way. Thrift stores may have once been filled with these classic retro looks, but these outfits that were once stuck in the back of your aunt and uncle’s closets are now blowing up all over social media.

Streetwear has also recently popped up as a major Midwest fashion trend. Heavily influenced by more urban aesthetics of the 90s, these edgier looks are a great way to show off your sense of style without giving up too much comfort. To maintain this idea of “do it over, but better” shopping, younger fashionistas are turning these nostalgic looks into full-blown fashion trends.

Looking to make a statement without losing that casual vibe? Then why not try a pair of cargo pants? Hoping to turn some heads when you walk into a room? Then why not show off some cool plaid? When it comes to new fashion trends, the more enjoyment you get out of an outfit, the better, which is why these styles have made such a dramatic comeback. They are, in a word, fun.

The pandemic undeniably changed everything we knew, and when we were finally freed to wander the world once again, we made sure it was done in a way that showed off exactly who we are. There was no longer a desire to hide or blend in with darker, duller colors. Brighter, bolder statements are most definitely what’s in demand, and Midwesterners have no problem putting together exciting outfits that pack a punch.

Going Local

While vintage shopping has certainly taken the reigns of up-and-coming fashion trends, that doesn’t mean that “fast fashion” is entirely out. It’s more that younger shoppers are committed to supporting designers they know and share something with. The idea of buying from local designers with smaller collections rather than big-name stores with clothing mass-produced in factories across the globe is what’s in.

Tyler Lambert, born and raised in Wisconsin, is a great example of this Gen Z-driven ideal. A small-town kid who had his start altering the 90s pieces he found in his parent’s wardrobe, this talented designer is now dressing high-profile celebrities like Kylie Jenner. For him, as with many of his generation, fashion is more about creativity and expression than the bottom line. And younger shoppers are more interested in the person behind the clothes than ever before. Having designers who recognize and share these ideas is what is taking these smaller baby brands to new heights.

When it comes to Midwest fashion trends, an outfit needs to do so much more than just look nice. Younger Midwest shoppers not only have more access to global fashion trends and ideas but also hold a set of style-related morals close to their hearts that they have no intention of compromising. At the end of the day, fashion is all about self-expression and creativity for the Midwest’s Gen Z population. They thrive on finding out-of-date styles and taking them in directions that, until now, have never really been explored.

If you want to give yourself a trendy Midwest makeover, it’s time to stop worrying. Take a new approach, think about where your clothes are coming from, and have a bit more fun with your fashion.


  • Chris Kane

    Chris Kane is a military veteran and former business owner currently living in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro. Chris is an inveterate entrepreneur and avid web developer who is not shy about sharing his opinions.