Interested in going grunge? This unique style is loved by alternatives worldwide, but what is it, and where did it come from?
Whether you’re trying to shake your wardrobe up, or you just want to learn some grunge style tips, we’ve researched the subculture to help you know more. Keep reading to explore the world of grunge fashion and how you can embrace this unique style.
What Is Grunge Style?
Grunge is a fashion style (or fashion aesthetic type), which, although born in the late 80s, is closely associated with the 1990s and the music grunge scene.
Bands like Nirvana with Kurt Cobain, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Soundgarden popularized this style and music genre to mainstream culture.
The fashion in the 1990s includes thrifted clothes, baggy silhouettes, and darker color palettes. The overall aim of this fashion was to look casual, androgynous, and not “over the top.”
Despite the fact this style had an edgy start, it’s still popular today with a range of fans. Whether you’re dressing in the traditional grunge style or opting for a modernized variation of the style, there are many different ways to keep grunge culture alive in 2021.
How To Match Grunge To Your Personality
Instead of copying the standard grunge style, you can mix it up and link your fashion to your personality.
Obviously, this method of grunge style helps if you have a personal interest in the subculture, but you can still tailor a grunge look to your likes if you have other interests!
Key areas of your life to look at are:
- What music do you like?
- What’s your lifestyle like?
- Are you girly?
- Do you prefer androgynous fashion?
- How often do you wear makeup?
- Who are your style icons?
Asking yourself these questions can help you understand your personality and personal style.
Once you know what you like, you can explore general grunge trends and add some of your personality to the outfits. A good example of this is if you love girly fashion. This may seem to oppose grunge looks, but you can mix the two for a unique style!
Variations of Grunge Fashion
You may have noticed that there isn’t one way to dress grunge. This style is broad, and there are a lot of different variations within the subculture.
Though the original laidback 90s grunge style has a lot of fans, you can also capture this style in different ways. Other popular grunge styles include soft grunge, vintage grunge, pastel grunge, and indie grunge too.
Original 1990s grunge was founded on wearing simple clothes and not standing out. The grunge movement wasn’t concerned with looks and style, which resulted in the youth dressing in baggy jeans, tees, and flannel shirts. No one stressed out about makeup or expensive fashion, making it an affordable movement too.
Popular 90s grunge icons included Courtney Love, Winona Ryder, and Drew Barrymore.
Indie grunge is similar to 1990s grunge, however, this style mixes in 2000s indie pop references too. This includes more use of knitwear and cardigans, as these were popular with the y2k indie bands.
For this style mix baggy mom jeans with band tees and cozy knit sweaters for a stylish look. Big combat boots are a must too.
Soft grunge was a very popular style in the 2010s and it’s still worn often today.
This unique grunge style takes small elements from the original 1990s style and mixes them with modern fashion. For example, instead of a baggy flannel shirt and jeans, soft grunge would use the flannel shirt as a feminine dress.
This hints at the original movement but still includes modern fashion – perfect for anyone who wants to add girly style.
Vintage grunge takes inspiration from original 1990s grunge, but it also takes this a step further by only wearing vintage garments. Many stores offer modern alternatives to grunge fashions, however, true fans of the movement will only wear pre-loved denim, flannels, boots, and sweaters to get the true essence of the style.
If you want to wear the vintage grunge style, thrift stores are your new best friend.
If you love bright colors like pink and purple, but also want to embrace your darker side then pastel grunge is the style for you.
With traditional grunge garments like jeans, mini skirts, and chokers, this trend mixes in bright pastel colors for a cute fusion of alternative fashions. This style was extremely popular on social media websites like Tumblr in the 2010s and it’s still worn today.
6 Grunge Style Tips
Looking for some grunge style tips? Here are some of our favorite style tips for anyone trying to add more grunge style into their life.
1. Don’t Stress About Looking Perfect
If you’re trying to achieve the perfect laid-back grunge style look, it’s best to avoid being a perfectionist. The original grunge culture was founded on not caring too much, so adopt that mindset too.
2. Boots Are Your Best Friend
No matter what grunge style you’re after, some back combat boots will always come in handy. Dr. Martens is a famous brand, but you can also go for old worn-in boots too. Black is the best color, however, burgundy and white are popular too.
3. Listen To The Music For Inspiration
You don’t have to be a big grunge music fan to enjoy the style, but listening to the music can help you embrace the style. Nirvana is a popular music option for new grunge fans.
4. Check Out Modern Grunge Examples
The actual 90s grunge fashion isn’t for everyone, so if you prefer modern fashion try researching modern grunge style tips. Pinterest is a perfect place to start for visual inspiration!
5. Play With Pops Of Color
Most people expect grunge to have a dark color palette with limited color options, but this isn’t true! Grunge often features bold pops of red, green, and blue too. You can also add mustard, purple, and even pink too if you want!
6. Explore Grunge Hair And Makeup
Another great way to explore the grunge style is to copy grunge makeup and hairstyles. These were usually messy and unorganized, but that’s the beauty of the style!
5 Most Obvious Grunge Outfit Elements
Some typical styles always pop up in grunge culture, so follow these grunge style tips to make sure you don’t miss them!
1. Buy A Slip Dress
Grunge may seem to be about jeans and pants, but slip dresses were an iconic staple in the 1990s. These look great when mixed with a denim or leather jacket, messy hair, and big black boots.
2. Invest In Band Tees
A collection of band tees are a must-own for grunge lovers. Whether you go for 90s bands or 70s bands, worn-in tees look great under flannels every time.
3. Wear Fishnet Tights
Fishnet tights are another accessory closely linked with this trend. Pair a tartan miniskirt with fishnets or wear them under some ripped jeans for grunge aesthetic.
4. Try Platforms And Creepers
Shoes are an essential part of the grunge look. While 90s fans will opt for boots and converse, platform shoes and creepers are also good alternatives. Black creepers are perfect for the indie grunge look too.
5. Own Some Denim
Denim is a versatile material that fits most styles. When it comes to grunge, this material is best in worn-in mom jeans, mini skirts, and oversized denim jackets. Blue denim works well, but grey and black denim are popular too.
Add A Touch Of Grunge Style
If you aren’t ready to completely embrace the grudge lifestyle, you can add mini grunge elements into your style instead. You can start with trying to slowly introduce flannels or band tees into your wardrobe, but you can also try adding small accessories like chokers, dark lipstick, or fishnets too.
Still wondering how to embrace the grunge style movement? Here are some of the most common questions about grunge style tips.
What Grunge Means?
The dictionary literally defines grunge as dirt or grime, but when it comes to music, it’s a style of rock with relaxed vocals. This translates into fashion through relaxed, baggy clothes that don’t follow the mainstream trends. In extreme cases, the clothes may be ripped or even broken.
What Is Grunge Aesthetics?
There are many definitions of the grunge style, but they all have similar components. Grunge style mimics the stars that popularized it in the mid-90s, and it always follows a relaxed or untidy look. It is a darker aesthetic with links to other alternative communities (like punk or goth), but it’s not as extreme as other subcultures.
What Is True Grunge Style?
The answer to this question will differ depending on who you ask. Some may say authentic grunge is what the popular grunge musicians wore. However, some will say it’s the spirit of the subculture that’s truly grunge, not the style. At the end of the day, style comes down to your interpretation, so have fun experimenting!
What Are the Different Types of Grunge Styles?
The main grunge style is 1990s grunge, as this is where the culture began. As the style evolved, other variations appeared, such as indie grunge, soft grunge, vintage grunge, and pastel grunge. Other grunge styles include punk grunge, metal grunge, hippie grunge, and pastel goth grunge too. There are countless fusion grunge styles to be explored!
How Do You Dress Edgy Grunge?
To dress edgy grunge, you may want to take some influence from the traditional punk style. This could include dying your hair or getting piercings, but if you don’t want to commit to body modifications, you can add rips into your clothes or wear different materials like leather. Studs, eyeliner, and extreme platforms also look great for an edgy grunge style.
The Takeaway: Grunge Style Summary
Sometimes it seems like grunge is a complex style to follow as it looks like it has lots of rules to know, but this isn’t true!
Dressing in a grunge style is flexible, and you can add any other style influences into your look to make it personalized. Whether you go for a true grunge style or a pastel grunge style, we hope these grunge style tips have helped you develop your outfits!
Get Style Advice to Your Inbox
We will send an email from time to time. Not too often. You will get style advice and outfit examples handpicked from bloggers, icons, and style influencers. All for your outfit inspiration.