With the world’s love for ’90s fashion at an all-time high since the decade itself, it’s no surprise that grunge has made a comeback. From plaid shirts to ripped jeans, this gritty style is back once more and dominating both the streets and the runways. The only question is; how do you rock this 20-year old trend in 2017? Well, to answer that question, we’ve rounded up effortlessly cool grunge outfit ideas to help you nail this reborn rebellious style.
What is the Grunge Aesthetic?
Grunge fashion emerged in the ’80s and reached peak popularity in the ’90s. The look and style were part of a broader subculture which was supported by the grunge music genre. As such, musicians, such as Kurt Cobain, were pioneers of the aesthetic, which featured a careless and rough-around-the-edges appearance. Although the style began as an anti-fashion statement, it quickly became mainstream and made its way onto the runway. As such, the trademarks of grunge, including heavy layering, flannel shirts, Dr Martens, ripped denim, oversized silhouettes, beanies, and slouchy sweaters were soon everywhere.
Today, grunge is back, but it’s not quite the uniform it used to be. In 2017, there are more versions and sub-genres of grunge than ever before. As such, it’s easy to select your favourite and rock it with plenty of personal flair for a killer look.
If you find that there’s no substitute for the original, you’ll want to look straight back to the ‘90s for grunge fashion inspiration. Thanks to the return of this trend to popularity, rocking an edgy look that references the decade is simple. All you need to do is channel your inner rebellious spirit and embrace the imperfect. Ripped jeans, metallic jackets, baggy shapes, and clashing designs are just the beginning of this attitude-heavy appearance.
While grunge may make you immediately think of the ’90s, the style began in the ‘80s. Organically created in opposition to the materialistic excess and glamour of the decade, grunge offered an edgy alternative for both men and women. The style, which took notes from punk fashion, often included band T-shirts, acid-wash and mom jeans, crop tops, and leather biker jackets. Flannel was also a large part of this trend and provided it with a casual, nonchalant aesthetic.
The return of grunge fashion has seen the birth of soft grunge. This sub-genre references the grunge aesthetic but blends it with modern influences for a lighter appearance. As such, this look is perfect for anyone wanting to try this trend without changing their entire wardrobe. To achieve a fashionable soft grunge outfit, just blend essential items and details from the grunge aesthetic, such as plaid and ripped denim, with a contemporary appearance. The result will be a stylish outfit with a touch of classic rebellion.
If your sense of style leans more toward the traditionally feminine, you may want to try a pastel grunge look. This unique look mixes edgy grunge designs with the soft appearance of pastel colours. With less black and more pink, blue, yellow and purple, this fashion style is lighter and less intense. To nail the aesthetic, just select ’90s-style garments with grunge references in chic pastel shades. Alternatively, try colouring your hair a lovely pastel hue.
While grunge may have once denoted a messy and rough appearance, today, the look can be quite charming. In fact, creating a grunge aesthetic that is cute is surprisingly easy with the right garments. To nail the sweet yet edgy style, you should consider opting for a dress. A skater dress in a dark print, plaid shirt dress or band t-shirt dress will work perfectly. Then, just pair it with a cropped leather jacket and a crossbody bag for a stunning weekend style.
If you’re heading to a festival or concert, an indie grunge outfit can be an excellent choice. The unique look is a more contemporary and straightforward version of grunge. Although it still projects the same effortlessly cool aesthetic, this style also features vintage details and alternative music references. While you can easily make this look your own, consider cut-off shorts, oversized denim jackets, loose T-shirts, boots, and mini backpacks your go-to items for achieving a flawless indie grunge ensemble.
For a look that’s as beautiful as it is edgy, you can’t go past a vintage grunge outfit. The style blends these two fashion categories for an attitude-filled bohemian appearance. To create the look, start by adding slip dresses, floral prints, retro accessories, Dr Martens, and classic blazers to your closet. Then, layer vintage and grunge items together for a look that’s charming yet daring.
To create the perfect grunge outfit, you can’t forget about your feet. Grunge shoes are big, bulky and flat. So, put away those high heels and embrace comfort with Dr Martens, canvas trainers, such as Converse or Vans, combat boots, gumboots, flatform sandals, and creepers.
When it comes to grunge makeup, there are two approaches. You can either go makeup-free for a bold yet minimal appearance or apply it heavily for a strong statement style. If you choose to wear makeup, be sure to create a striking appearance with a berry, wine or chocolate lipstick. Then, complete your look with thick, smudged eyeliner and lashings of mascara.
Opting for a grunge hairstyle is an excellent excuse to forget about your regular grooming routine and take things easy. As grunge hair looks best messy and a little greasy, there’s no need to wash, dry and style your strands religiously. Instead, let your hair stay natural with a bedhead appearance. If scraggly waves aren’t your thing, try messy double buns instead. If you still want more excitement, add a unique colour or have your stylist add baby bangs or an undercut.
To complete your immersion into the grunge trend, don’t forget to create the perfect playlist featuring the bands who first created and influenced the style. Listening to the tunes of Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam is sure to help you feel inspired to get gritty with your wardrobe.
Grunge Style Tips
- Incorporate classic grunge items and details into your wardrobe, such as plaid shirts, ripped jeans, and oversized silhouettes.
- Embrace heavy layering and don’t be afraid to let items clash.
- Complete your look with grunge-approved shoes like combat boots, creepers, canvas sneakers, and platform sandals.
- Create a statement grunge makeup look with a bold berry-hued lip and smokey eyes.
- Nail the perfect grunge hairstyle by opting for a bedhead appearance or adding attitude with baby bangs, double buns or a unique colour.