Ripped jeans, sad tunes, reeky cigarettes, and a world full of promises. The decade of iconic grunge style in music and fashion has passed a long time ago, but apparently, we can't get over this historical injustice, trying to refresh the memory of this romantic, slightly gloomy phase. Grunge fashion is not exactly retro yet, but it is definitely something we all missed, even though some of us are too young to remember this massive movement. 

As Robert Hilburn noticed in his Los Angeles Times article: "...grunge stuck around long enough to get into the dictionary, but the excitement and early promise of the 90's rock movement draw distant indeed as the decade comes to a close." Today I'm going to trace the legacy of grunge style in fashion, recalling the most outrageous, edgy, and rebellious collections, its rise, fall, and finally, the victorious rebirth of my favorite grunge fashion.

Winona Ryder, Drew Barrymore & Angelina Jolie
Winona Ryder, Drew Barrymore & Angelina Jolie

  • The Rise

My favorite grunge fashion first appeared in the mid-'80s together with the popularity of that time grunge music and became widely popular in the '90s. Popularized by grunge music bands and singers, this fashion style can be characterized by three words: androgynous, thrifty, and anti-glamorous. Although grunge fashion, just like grunge music and lifestyle, is supposed to be an anti-glamorous movement, that rejects everything posh and expensive, it swiftly became mainstream and made an appearance on the runway shows of that time.

Strangely enough, my thousands of grunge styles weren't understood by high-fashion critics, and the spring Ready-to-Wear collection, carried out by 29-year-old designer Marc Jacobs got him fired from Perry Ellis. But it was a legendary show and revolutionary collection that marked his career! Models wore simple loose dresses, sloppy trenches, and Dr. Martens. These "outfits looked as if it was put together with the eyes closed in a very dark room" and were completed with stretched beanies and silver jewelry.

  • The Fall

In a short period, impure motives of grunge melodies, smoked voices, and budget-friendly outfits are going to be replaced with fluent recitative and weighty golden chains. The golden age of hip-hop music expanded, swallowing alternative rock together with its depressing lyrics. Flannel plaid shirts were slowly changed for cropped denim and faux fur jackets. Everyone forgot about grunge for another ten years, enjoying the brand new sounds by Britney, Destiny's Child, and other pop idols of the late 90's early 2000s.

Kylie Jenner, Rihanna & Lucy Hale
Kylie Jenner, Rihanna & Lucy Hale

  • The Rebirth

The early and mid-2010s experienced the rebirth of grunge fashion and it keeps coming back again and again with every new season up until now. In the new century, grunge fashion looks even edgier and more rebellious. The everlasting ripped jeans and jackets look even more worn out, combat boots are even more massive and lip color is even bolder than ever. Leather jackets and chokers are promised to stay forever in our wardrobes or at least until another grungy trend won't take its place.

collage of three grunge fashion looks

  • Popular Sub-genres of Grunge Style

The comeback of grunge fashion has marked the appearance of sub-genres like soft grunge: a casual and well-planned blend between classic grunge pieces and modern fashionable items. Soft grunge fashion is believed to be born on Tumblr and widely popularized by Tumblr girls. Apart from featuring classic grungy pieces like flannel shirts, combat boots, and denim, soft grunge allows the use of Gothic influences. Singers like Lana Del Rey and bands like Arctic Monkeys and Sky Ferreira are usually associated with this alternative fashion style.

Final Thoughts...

Although all of us have an awesome opportunity to experience the rebirth of one of the most controversial and beautiful fashion styles, there is one thing that has never returned to the world. And, I guess, you know what I'm talking about. Rusty and soiled grunge music with its screechy guitars and husky voice had not returned to our lives. But, we'll be waiting!