I tried the straight-up grunge thing once when I was in the seventh grade, and after just one day of borrowing my step-brother’s flannel shirt and wearing Vans, I realized the look wasn’t for me. I felt like an impostor (or “poseur,” to borrow another ’90s-ism), and I remember thinking that, style-wise, I was more Cher Horowitz than Tai, pre-makeover (seriously, I thought that).
The grunge look is back in full-force for fall (see photos from the Saint Laurent A/W ’13 show, above), but 15 years later, my personal style hasn’t changed. I’m still more classic and clean cut than Doc Martens and concert t-shirts will allow. Plus, there’s that whole thing about, “If you wore a trend the first time around, you don’t get to wear it when it comes back in style.” The fact that I have to consider this rule makes me feel really old.
But I digress, and all that being said, I do like the balance that the trend can add to an otherwise classic or feminine ensemble. Here are a few grunge-inspired pieces I’d work into an outfit.
From top left:
1. Combat boots aren’t my thing, but I love these Zara motorcycle boots. I have a similar pair I wear with skinny pants and button downs almost every day in the winter.
2. Leather patches give this Alice & Olivia sweater an unexpected, tough edge. Find it at Saks Fifth Avenue.
3. An oversized layering piece, like this Zara sweater, adds an air of effortless cool that’s the hallmark of grunge style.
4. Depending on how you wear this J. Crew sweater, the Peter Pan collar can either look schoolgirl prim or 90s throwback. I just bought this shirt and I love it!
5. Dark-colored lipstick, like this Dior shade, is one grunge trend I am totally on board with, and if you’re pale with dark hair like me, I suggest giving it a whirl.
6. This Zara scarf is a good alternative to a flannel shirt. Wear it with a slouchy white t-shirt, skinny jeans and velvet smoking slippers.
7. I know I’m getting older because I get excited about trends that are both cute and practical, too. Like beanies. This one is from American Apparel.
8. I’m pretty sure Zack Morris had a version of this Rag & Bone jacket.
9. Slate-colored corduroy pants from the Madewell are more chic than freak, courtesy of a slim silhouette.
What are your thoughts on grunge?