Is 90s Grunge Fashion making a comeback in 2021?

If you were a teenager in the late 80s or 90s, then you would know that how much 90s grunge fashion was everywhere. Many rock bands in 80s Fashion and 90s fashion were responsible for this. Musicians like Neil Young, and bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkin had gained huge commercial success by their style and influenced fashion in the 90s.

And of course, in the year 2020 and 2021 we are seeing a huge comeback of 90s grunge fashion, so it matched the current fashion. So, in this article, I’ll show you some great 90s grunge fashion that you can wear at your next hangout or date or a party. These outfits can include from plaid pants, ripped jeans, biker boots, studs and all black outfits.

outfits aesthetic

Although the word grunge defined the sound of late 80s rock music, but with overtime, not only it influenced music industry but also the fashion industry. Since then, unwashed appearance became the first thing which comes onto our mind when we hear “grunge”

In reality, some really just ignored the “grunge fashion” or “grunge aesthetic”. However, the more appearance it came on the stage with bands like Nirvana, their hit albums and Kurt’s signature look became an instant fashion hit.

In 90s piercings become highly popular but although not extreme, as much as metal jewellery with charms and crucifixes. We are taking about the plaid pants and shirt or dresses over torn jeans, sweaters and dark colours which were de rigeur and never allow your clothes to look new. Wear oversize rather than skinny, with converse sneaker and combat boots.

90s Grunge make-up

Make up was gruesome, eyes were dark and smudged looked with dark red lips. Keeping the hair loose and unkempt rather than clean, and glossy looking. For men worn out sneakers, plaid pants and shirts, hoodies with messy hair and worn-out t-shirts. Although for women, this look has almost disappeared until last year, for men its still going strong. Who doesn’t like relaxed and untidy look? We saw the revival of vintage 90s grunge fashion for women as well. So, if you think the look will look good on you, then why not try it!

21st century grunge

It’s not a difficult look to achieve, you can also mix it up in your own style too by adding different clothes. There are no fast rules, so if you want to have that vintage 90s grunge look then, go for worn-out ripped jean, make sure to have a beanie. What’s more is that it is very inexpensive look to aspire. There are lot of 90s vintage clothing ideas you can easily check on this article and also Pinterest is also great place to look for inspo, on that follow us on Pinterest at @thefashionwolf.

Cultural Context

The grunge-hippie and punk youth was driven by the music and politics. Punks and hippies used the art of music to make strong statements about the world, to unite with music. Offered referred to as movements, due to political involvements. There is not an actual grunge goal as punk or hippie’s “peace”. Grunge gave voice to lost, strugglers, neglected, post-punk Generation X.

90s Grunge Fashion

Many grunge style collections were dropped in 90s, which included with first ones being of Marc Jacobs’ signature collection. The Perry Ellis collection also had some of the most iconic pieces – army boots, shirts and graphic tees.

However, with the high price tags on these clothing items, the designers were criticized. Although grunge aesthetic from frowned upon, these collections set a new direction in the world of fashion – upping the luxury factor on the alternative look.

Fashion indeed come and goes away, but grunge never left completely. You can easily find grunge outfits in the thrift stores or charity shop – old jeans and bands tees and still popular, cardigans and heavy boots takes up good in cold weather. Students and musicians you are starting out, young and set these new street style, that is undoubtedly fused with elements of grunge.

90s grunge fashion

History of 90s Grunge Fashion

Grunge fashion was developed by Generation X and basically a reflection of their frustration of 80s upswing. This is the reason why grunge is mainly fashionable in first world countries. They refused to believe such a revolt culture in society classes and were annoyed by idea of human being defined by money and property. Society people didn’t approve the career-oriented lifestyle. In their opinion, human life was being sacrificed too much for something pointless in a 9 to 5 job.

Features of Grunge Aesthetic

The disdain in the Gen X’s conformity shows in their grunge outfits. Messy and coloured hairs, careless makeup, flannel shirts and vintage items and accessories were staple on the grunge wardrobe. Floral dresses paired with combat boots was the uniform of Riot groups, and added slogans made it much better. Grunge fashion is all about the revolution, and against the usual norms.

Grunge fashion brings out one’s individuality. It fills people with who they want to be with their work and words. Through their style they express their thoughts and this philosophy. They avoid spending their time in grooming themselves and break the barriers of society. The retro style, the vintage items and avoid chasing the commercials and against the pitfalls of capitalism.

The Grunge Aesthetic

The grunge aesthetic is an edgy style, which base is with dark colours, plaids, leather, graphic and band tees, ripped jeans, flannel shirts, converse, chokers and their colourful unique hairstyles, that went against the preppy looks of the time. Grunge style emerged as underground music culture defying mainstream sentiments.

Grunge Music

The word “grunge” dates from 1972, but did not enter popular terminology until Seattle sound, a mix of punk, heavy-metal and good old-fashioned Rick and roll in the late 1980s. Many musicians associated with grunge credit their exposure to early punk bands with influences.

90s grunge fashion

Grunge Fashion

At that time punk fashion was also considered as against the fashion, then again grunge was simply nonfashion. The grunge was youth, born of hippies and punk influence and West coast aesthetic. Grunge was essentially thoughtless, not so society acceptable but totally edgy. Iconic items for men and women were ripped, unwashed and faded jeans, unique hairstyles, flannel shirts or wool Pendletons layered over dirty T-shirts with outdated logos and black combat-style boots.

Post-Grunge World

In post grunge world, every major record label tried to find the next Nirvana, and bands like Pearl Jam and Bush filled stadiums but paid less homage to punk roots. Although in 1990s the focus was also had the focus back to guitar and make the work alternative meaningless in the 2000s as alternative music is now for the masses.

How to Dress Grunge

If you can’t afford those pricey luxury brands then, go to local thrift shops, and find items like, plaid pants, ripped jeans a must, leather jackets. These are te staple pieces into your favourite grunge outfits.

Weird patterns, colours and materials are part of grunge look, those chains and headbangs were usuals. So, wear what you see you can pull through.

Sneakers or combat boots are there to complete your grunge outfit. Check out these Eboy outfits for more inspiration.

For girls, make up can go all out or embrace a no-makeup look, no in between. Dark lipsticks, eyeliner, and eyeshadow can create a statement, but if you’re going for cute or pastel grunge, find the right lip colour (e.g. bold blue, brown, red, etc.) to suit your style.

Messy hair was major hairstyle thing in grunge fashion, those baby bangs, space buns, pixie cuts were dope AF. And hair colouring was just mandatory, so if you are in college then, you should definitely go for it, otherwise after college you won’t get to experiment much.

90s Grunge Fashion Women

Let’s see how the 90s grunge fashion women fashion has shaped up. You can work with durable, cheap and some sort of retro or timeless clothing. Go for ripped jeans, boots and flannel tops fit.

Long Droopy Skirt Grunge:

You must have seen flannel shirt but a flannel skirt, what? They are more stylish and comfort. Pair with white tee, jacket and combat boots.

90s grunge fashion

Minimum Grunge Style:

It’s a typical lazy person look. It took on the feel of the wearer simply a not caring attitude.

90s grunge fashion

Flannel Shirt Band Print Tee Grunge

Oversized flannel shirts are very famous, wear them over your favourite band t-shirt and shorts for the rebellious look.

Oversized Jacket and Ripped Jeans Grunge

Shirt layering is a chic styling. Double shirt, top layering is a very rebellious look.

90s grunge fashion

90s Grunge Fashion Men

The Outfit

If you are inspired by the 80s and 90s, then take inspiration from some of the greats like Neil Young, Kurt Cobain and many other famous people.

Johnny Depp, River Phoenix, and Will Smith are some of the most notable mentions when it comes to 90s grunge fashion men.


Graphic shirts

Earlier, every music bands had their collection of band shirts. And many wore band shirts of small bands who weren’t succeeded yet. Fans too wore band shirts of their favourite bands and there was always someone being called poser for not liking the band they were wearing.

Band t-shirts have become mainstream and not limited to thrift shops. But if you are not a music fan then just add a print shirt to your look. Typically, dark colour like back or grey would be preferred but you can find the faded ones to complete the retro look.

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Notice how Kurt Cobain is the real king of grunge fashion, everything he wore was an instant hit. His shirts are still fashionable, because of the simplicity. Since these are usually one colour, you can pair them up with anything.

They are also very comfortable and neutral. You can easily add some layers upon them.

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Along with band and graphic tees, one of the most loved grunge styles is from flannel shirts. It’ hard to not see why; they are cheap, can keep you warm and they simply look cool. Wear them tight or loose or around your hips, the style never goes out.

Pick one with ideal faded and worn out; since whole idea to express is “too dope to care” attitude. Try to find something on your nearby thrift shop, no need to go over those overprized stuff.

You can experiment with layers and look for some spaces as laid-back styles. A size up would also look good.

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Everyone remembers when Kurt wore an oversized knit cardigan on MTV unplugged. That piece was sold for $122,000! It was full of cigarette strains and burns. That doesn’t mean you also should disrespect your clothes, but try to channel the vibe of that iconic item. The tossed-on, careless vibe Cobain echoed. You can always try to go for a size or two bigger to achieve that fit.

80s Grunge

90s grunge was highly inspired by the 80s grunge. Because the origin was from the 80s only, when it really hit the strides, you have to first embrace the 80s grunge style to really master 90s grunge fashion. In the 80s, the glamour and excessive fashion made the point, high-waisted pants and acid wash mom jeans, cut up tees and leather clothes.

Soft Grunge

Soft grunge has a lot of modern elements in the 90s grunge. The soft grunge is a middle ground between classic and mainstream fashion. While you can rock your ripped jeans and plaid layers, this becomes even more versatile than other aesthetics.

Pastel Grunge

Another way to modernize the 90s grunge is to take styles and its elements and change the palette. While the preferred colours are the dark ones, using pastel hues with ripped jeans, flannels and crop tops will give you the perfect pastel grunge.

Indie Grunge

Music in 90s included a lot of indies, underground bands and many of the major influencers at that time carried them over to fashion. While nowadays you can wear them every day, back then they were perfect for the festival and concerts. Chop your jeans, shorts and oversized leathers or denims.

So, 90s grunge fashion was actually really stylish but is it really making a comeback? Yes, people have taken a step back from these new expensive trends and got back in time. You have a really cool grunge outfit? Then show us! Tag us in your stories @thefashionwolff or use hashtag #thefashionwolf

If you like this article then share it with your friends, and message or tag us on your stories!

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