Gen Z Says the "Jeans and a Nice Top" Look Is Dead—Here's What They Wear Instead

For years, the most common answer to "What are you wearing?" was "jeans and a nice top." So much so that brands even began dedicating entire sections of their websites to the famous pairing. But, as so often occurs, Gen Z has taken to TikTok to declare a new take that is making us reconsider what has widely been regarded as a reliable wardrobe duo. Now, let us present the plain-top-and-fun-trousers combination.

Of course, jeans and a nice top are still just as relevant, but if you're looking for a way to push your style further, this is definitely one to try. The premise of this formula is pretty simple. Instead of the focus being on the top, we're making the standout piece the trousers. It's an understandable transition, as trousers are no longer simply the backdrop to outfits but, in many instances, the main attraction. If you look back to our jeans-and-a-nice-top days, the bottoms options were pretty limited with skinny jeans and, eventually, straight-leg styles. But the past few years have been all about trousers, with so many incredible pairs coming through. Tailoring became the norm for outside the office with wide-leg styles proving incredibly popular amongst minimal dressers, while the '00s revival has offered cargo trousers, bold hues and fun stripes for those who subscribe to the Y2K aesthetic, all of which are solid options for your new top-and-fun-trouser pairings. 

As always, we've come with plenty of inspiration from some of our favourite fashion people who perfectly demonstrate how to style this combo. Scroll below to see these looks and browse some shoppable options to embrace the latest Gen Z–approved outfit formula. 

SHOP THE PLAIN-TOP-AND-FUN-TROUSERS FORMULA

1. BLACK TEE + SQUIGGLE TROUSERS

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(Image credit: @marina_torres)

Take your basics to the next level by pairing a simple black tee with fun trousers. 

Shop the Look:

2. CARDIGAN + CARGO TROUSERS

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(Image credit: @chasemarieee)

The fun trousers don't have to be bold hues and patterns. An on-trend pair of cargos will work just as well. 

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3. WHITE JACKET + NEWSPRINT TROUSERS

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(Image credit: @paigeleneigh)

The style isn't just for everyday looks. Elevate for evening with heels. 

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4. WHITE SHIRT + CARGO TROUSERS

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(Image credit: @oliviamarcus)

This formula is little effort but big impact. 

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5. BLAZER + TEE + STRIPED TROUSERS

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(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Striped trousers are big for 2023. 

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6. BLACK TOP + SILVER TROUSERS

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(Image credit: @nlmarilyn)

If you've been on TikTok at all over the past few months, you'll know that silver trousers are the moment. 

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7. BEIGE TOP + RED PRINT TROUSERS

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(Image credit: @aprillockhart )

Immediately went to re-create this look. 

Shop the Look:

SHOP MORE FUN TROUSERS

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Up next, The 9 Most Expensive-Looking Pieces on the High Street This Week

Acting Affiliates Editor

Florrie embarked on her fashion journey while studying French and History at university. Her career began with an initial role at Harper's Bazaar, followed by a stint with the fashion team at Conde Nast Traveller.


There, she contributed to international photoshoots, styled pages and covers, and produced engaging digital content. During a freelance period, Florrie honed her skills in editorial work in various digital and print publications like Vogue Italy, Stylist, and Departures magazine, as well as styling e-commerce photoshoots and personal shopping.