By: Dani Kessel
Are you the queen/king of your own style? I know that I am!
My personal fashion sense is perpetually stuck in a blend of the eighties rocker, nineties grunge, and noughties punk styles. I’ve always swayed towards edgier and harder looks. I enjoy the gender-expanding, feminist, and androgynous vibes of these cultural movements. There really is a large span of options. In early adulthood, I may have expanded a little bit and tried out different aesthetics. No matter what though, it always fell back into my grunge wardrobe.
The wide range of hyper-feminine to extreme-androgyny makes grunge a wide encompassing style that anyone could possibly get into. If you are hoping to recreate some of the great grunge trends from the past or just try something new, you’ll need to update your closet to include these nine essentials!
1. Plaid flannel shirts
Plaid flannel has been one of the biggest staples of grunge since its inception. To emulate some of the strongest looks from this style, look for flannels that are baggier and worn-down. The flannel shirt can hang open with a vintage shirt underneath, be buttoned up for a more masc-grunge style, or be tied around your waist.
2. Ripped jeans
Torn up denim gives a very harsh, messy look which fits most any grunge pairing. The color tones should be neutrals, blacks/greys, or faded. If you don’t have the money to buy them, taking scissors to a pair of regular denim jeans then throwing them in the washer will help properly distress them. Cuff the bottoms or pair them with a punk belt to add an extra bit of style.
3. Combat boots or Converses
Grunge-styled shoes tend to take one of two directions: you either wear some comfortable combat boots or canvas, flat lace-ups like Converse. These each bring their own style of grunge to the table. Boots = edgier. Converse = more relaxed.
Overalls (aka dungarees) were 100% nineties fashion that fell into basically every type of fashion. Every genre and culture from hip-hop to boy-bands to pop to grunge wore these wardrobe pieces. The beauty of overalls is that they look completely effortless. Throw on a crop top or a flannel to make it perfect grunge. You also can go full out nineties and unhook one of the straps. Just be aware that you’ll have to have real confidence to go one-strap! It’s not exactly the norm these days.
5. Leather jackets
Leather jackets provide just the right amount of hard edge without going overboard on details and textures. It’s beyond versatile. It can be matched with patterned pants, torn leggings, a plaid skirt, a plaid flannel, a band t-shirt, etc. There is no question how important leather jackets are to the proper grunge aesthetic.
6. Vintage graphic t-shirts
Whether it is a band t or a skull with roses t, worn-down graphic t-shirts have a special place in the grunge culture and fashion. This is primarily due to the style’s origins as mundane, everyday, worn-down clothing. The style was reinforced by bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney.
7. Babydoll dresses
If you’re into the more femme side of grunge, low-cut babydoll dresses are the perfect addition to your wardrobe. As popularized by Courtney Love, babydoll dresses became a staple of “kinderwhore,” a grunge style used by all woman bands. This grunge style made a feminist statement by taking very feminine wardrobe pieces like babydoll dresses, hyper-inflating them with makeup and ripped tights, then subverting them with extremely tough and strong confidence. The combination took the weak perception of femininity and flipped it to be a grunge statement of empowerment.
Since the grunge style started in the pacific northwest, is there any surprise that beanies are a must-have grunge accessory? They are warm, relaxed, and slouchy.
9. Denim shorts
The perfect shorts for the grunge aesthetic are high-wasted, distressed, possibly patchwork, and definitely denim. These can be matched with nearly any non-pants wardrobe piece. When your favorite jeans get too worn or holey to keep, cut them! Make yourself some distressed, unique shorts to wear in the summer. Afterall, grunge isn’t only for the cold seasons!
After adding these wardrobe essentials to your closet, you are sure to be the ultimate grunge queen! Just remember that you don’t have to adhere strictly to one look. Feel free to mix and match these with other non-grunge apparel. Some of the best outfits I’ve ever seen include short boho dresses and grunge torn jeans or business blazers, a slip dress, and a full face of makeup. It doesn’t matter how many styles you mix as long as it’s your own style. The thing that truly makes the outfit is your confidence and your own love of the clothing.
Thanks for reading this fashion article. Remember to like and share with your friends. Also, tell me your favorite go-to clothing piece in the comments section.