According to fashion-era.com, "yuppie" was a
acronym for 'Young Upwardly Mobile Professional Person'. The word was
coined by the advertising industry to capture the essence of a particular
type of work hard, play hard, ambitious-minded, city career person of
either sex. The hectic lifestyle of a yuppie meant that after long hours
of work, rare free time was spent in a self indulgent way frittering away
the cash earned on anything, from expensive
make up and
perfume, to a bottle of fine champagne. Conspicuous wastage was part
of the attitude. For day yuppies sported wide-shouldered jackets and for
weekends they wore a Barbour to effect a country aesthetic or a ball-gown
to assume the appearance of a more advantaged lifestyle.
One of the strongest looks of the
1980s was power
dressing. After John Molloy wrote his book "Women Dress For Success" in
1975, corporate America took it to heart and women began to abandon the
incomplete look of mismatched
for a full-jacketed sober suit. Soon the concept came to Britain and the
rest of Europe followed.
Fashion history records the power suit and dressing
for success as the symbol of the 1980s. The best know icons of 1980s
fashion for power dressing were Mrs. Thatcher and The Princess of Wales,
Diana. Designer labels and branding gained impetus. Brand names
became status symbols for sports gear and sportswear, perfumes, electrical
equipment, cars and fashion designer goods such as clothing, bags,
luggage, scarves and spectacles. The appearance of affluence was
reinforced by access to designer label goods. By the mid-eighties tills
rang not with cash, but the increasing use of credit cards. It was all
such a relief to the consumer to be able to spend and actively be
encouraged to consume after years of recession. Clothing purchases soared.
Interiors were decorated. Showing wealth was superficially powerful.
Apparel Search discovered another term that
relates to today's lifestyle and economic climate. According to
Stylelist.com, yuppies have been on the way out. The other, more timely
term is the "scuppie." A scuppie is defined as a "socially-conscious,
upwardly mobile person," someone who combines a taste for the high-life,
social climbing, and wealth with a socially-responsible mentality, kind
of like a yuppie with a heart. Like their predecessors, scuppies are into
conspicuous consumption, but the status symbols in the scuppie universe
aren't limited to a Rolex and
tailored suits. For scuppies, a hybrid car is just as good as a Chanel
The term scuppie defines that guy at Whole Foods who is wearing a Tonic
Generation t-shirt and filling a reusable canvas bag with fair-trade
coffee while he talks to his broker about how his "green stocks" are
doing. Unlike yuppie-ism, the scuppie mentality seems to have a sense of
karma, altruism, and 'doing good.' Some scuppies might actually do the
unthinkable and volunteer for things.
The term scuppie didn't just come out of nowhere, it was invented by
scuppie guru Chuck Falia, who noticed that yuppies all over were starting
to change into something new. His work-in-progress "The
Scuppie Handbook: A Practical Guide to Living Well While Doing Good"
explains the finer points of scuppidom and scuppie style.
Written for Apparel Search by Regina Cooper October 2010.