Grunge Style – Overview And Tips For Making It Work For You

Laura Tolentino

Grunge is a style popularized by Generation X as a rebellion against the negative effects of capitalism. Angered by the thought of human value associated with money, Generation X didn’t want to support the idea that people need to put their jobs and careers before their life. The whole point was that money and property shouldn’t be the epicenter of someone’s existence so they fought the system by wearing durable clothing, often purchase from thrift stores instead of buying brand and designer clothing worn by those who agreed with the status quo.

Grunge Style – Overview

Grunge fashion is usually portrayed in an androgynous matter that doesn’t accentuate the silhouette. Kurt Cobain is one of the people who was definitely seen in this style of clothing. But, at the time, Generation X had other sources of inspiration as well. The movies, TV shows, and music of the time reflected this style preference of the generation.

The main point of grunge was, and still is, to fight conformity so women often had messy hairstyles and careless makeup. For clothing, band t-shirts or slogan t-shirts paired with jeans were very popular amongst the grunge culture. Flannel shirts and thrift stores or vintage items were also wardrobe staples at the time. Since grunge was about going against the norm, women, in particular, loved to combine elements that were rarely put together back in the day such as floral dresses and combat boots.

Despite the basic elements that could be found in almost every individual who embraced a grunge lifestyle’s wardrobe, grunge was about individuality so the outfits were a reflection of the person who wore them. As a philosophy, grunge avoided commercial trends and embraced uniqueness and individuality.

Grunge Style – Tips For Making It Work For You

You probably noticed that these days, grunge elements are making a comeback in the fashion world. Band t-shirts, combat boots, old-school denim, and flannel are back and they made their way into the wardrobes of young adults.

Not everybody who embraces the grunge style does it for the ideology. Not in the past and definitely no today but, since grunge is about people doing whatever they want and not what’s expected of them, that’s not a huge problem. However, it is important to notice that grunge made a comeback when there is an ongoing conversation about authenticity and its importance, climate change and the impact consumerism has on the planet, sustainability and the corporate greed that demands too much from the people and the planet. It might be a simple coincidence and we can say that grunge became popular again because trends always come back, usually 30 years after they were initially popular. Or not. Either way, grunge is back and here to stay.

If you want to participate in the style movement, here are some grunge outfit tips to consider:

Go For The Unkempt Look

We’re not saying stop grooming yourself and start wearing dirty clothes, we’re saying go for a messy look that has an I can’t be bothered vibe.

If you need inspiration, look back at the popular musicians and bands from the nineties who embraced this look. Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, the girls from the punk band Riot Grrrl. All of them are great sources of inspiration.

Go Thrifting    

Grunge without thrifting is no grunge. Sure, you can find grunge clothes at brands like H&M and Zara but that’s not the point of grunge. Why buy something new that looks worn when you can buy the real deal. You can invest in some pieces that can last you a while, such as combat boots but for jeans and t-shirts, visit your local thrift store. You can even distress your jeans at home. And by all means avoid bright colors, you want black and muted colors in your wardrobe.  

Go Buy Yourself A Flannel

Here’s the thing, if you want to do grunge, you need a flannel shirt. It’s generally cheap and it goes with everything. At least with everything grunge. Flannel and ripped jeans? Great combo! Flannel and a band tee? It works like a charm! Flannel and combat boots? Always a good idea!

For a girly approach, combine an oversized flannel shirt with a black t-shirt, a tulle skirt, and combat boots. Accessorize with chockers, faux leather bracelets, and vintage rings for a complete look.

Go Look For The Perfect Pair Of Ripped Jeans

Ripped jeans are in style. In fact, they’ve been in style for a while now so you won’t have trouble finding a pair that will fit perfectly in the grunge style. Acid-washed jeans are also a good idea if you’re not the biggest fan of the ripped jeans. And you can always wear a distressed denim jacket if you prefer skirts and dresses to jeans and pants. Make sure they are baggy and a little faded to suit the grunge aesthetic.

Go On And Show Support For your Favorite Band With… a T-Shirt

Show your support for your favorite bands by wearing them on your t-shirt. Ideally, you would wear a grunge band t-shirt. But don’t wear the t-shirt without listening to the music. It’s not cool and it’s borderline appropriation; grunge is, after all, a subculture, not just a fashion statement.

Go For Layers

We gave you a few ideas for layering in the previous paragraphs but we’re sure you can think of others. As long as you’re comfortable, any type of layering works. Leather jackets over an unbuttoned flannel shirt that sits on top of a t-shirt. Skirts over jeans. Baby doll dresses in dark colors paired with fishnets with holes in them with combat boots, a loose sweater, a beanie, and a leather jacket. Your clothes don’t have too much. In fact, as long as you have a muted color scheme, everything goes.

Go To Grunge Accessories

Ok, we mentioned most of them already but besides the leather bracelets, vintage rings, combat boots, and chockers, you can also wear bandanas, simple earrings, belts, sunglasses, and cute stockings.