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January 14, 2020 4 min read

How to Dress Edgy With a Grunge Look

Nostalgia is the driving force for many of today’s pop culture trends. From movie reboots and TV revivals to rock band reunion tours, there’s a huge market geared toward people who look back fondly on previous decades for their fashion inspiration. When it comes to fashion, this means integrating styles from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s with contemporary pieces. One vintage fad that’s currently having a comeback is grunge.

The history of the grunge era, believe it or not, did not begin with fashion. Before grunge was a clothing style, it was a rock music genre. Starting in Seattle, Washington in the late 1980s, the movement was mainstream by the early 90s. Unlike the bright neon colors and funky patterns that were huge in the 80s, those who dressed in grunge clothing were going for an edgier look.

If you want to know how to dress edgy with grunge-inspired attire, you’re in the right place. Here’s the low-down on an edgy fashion style as well as some ideas for nailing a rebellious look.

How to Look Edgy by Embracing Grunge

Grunge outfits for men, in particular, began to gain popularity among music fans. Bands like Nirvana, Hole, Radiohead, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Bush were leaders in both music and clothing trends during the grunge movement. While they didn’t intend to spark a fashion craze, fans quickly started to mimic the edgy outfits they saw their favorite musicians wearing.

Ripped, Frayed, and Faded Denim

Before learning how to dress edgy, we should first answer what is grunge style? When most people think of clothing from the grunge movement, ripped skinny jeans come to mind. During the peak of the era in the early 90s, you couldn’t buy pre-ripped denim in stores. People either bought pre-worn denim second-hand, or they wore their jeans down themselves.

If you’re wondering how to dress edgy, ripped, frayed or faded jeans are the place to start. Whether you opt for vintage denim or buy a pair of pre-distressed jeans, you can build tons of grunge outfit ideas from there.

Plaid Flannels and Other Button-Down Shirts

It’s hard to say which is more symbolic of the grunge era: ripped skinny jeans or plaid flannel shirts. Plaid flannels were super stylish during the grunge movement, but the trend started accidentally. Before they rose to stardom, many 90s rock musicians saved money by shopping at thrift stores in the Pacific Northwest. A lot of what they found was second-hand apparel from lumberjacks, which included plaid flannel shirts.

Flannel button-downs came back a few years ago. They’ve been a versatile wardrobe staple ever since –– and not just for those rocking a grunge look. From hipster and sporty to preppy and casual, the plaid button-down shirt is a must-have for most wardrobes. That being said, if you’re going for an edgier look, it’s also a solid choice. Tie a flannel shirt around your waist or wear it unbuttoned over your favorite tee. There are endless ways to wear a flannel shirt to achieve your desired look. 

Graphic T-Shirts

Speaking of tees, graphic t-shirts are another go-to for grunge fashion. In the 80s and 90s, band members and their fans wore concert tees they picked up at rock shows. A lot of them also found second-hand graphic t-shirts.

In the beginning, the angsty, “I don’t care” grunge look was anti-fashion. At the time, this meant that spending money on clothes was thought to be totally uncool. For many, scoring a t-shirt for a dollar at a thrift shop was better than buying a new one. But don’t worry –– you can dress edgy with a grunge look no matter where you get your cool shirts for men and women.

Leather Jacket or Denim Coat

Sometimes, the right outerwear is all you need to add a daring touch to your outfit. We recommend adding a leather jacket to your wardrobe, a timeless option worn by many during the grunge movement. 

Alternatively, you could opt for a denim coat. Similar to jeans, the more worn-in a denim jacket is, the better. While you might want to forage vintage stores for the real thing, you can always buy an already-distressed jacket –– there’s no shame in taking shortcuts!

How to Look Edgy With Grunge Accessories and Shoes

To finish your grunge look, throw on grunge-style shoes and some edgy jewelry. For shoes, heavy-duty leather boots will help you achieve the aesthetic you’re going for. Combat-style boots (like Doc Martens) and hiking boots were popular during the grunge era. You can also wear a pair of simple sneakers (such as Converse Chuck Taylors). For more authentic edginess, choose a beat-up pair of sneakers.

When it comes to accessories, you’ve got options. Beanies, leather belts, and bandanas are great add-ons for most grunge outfits. There are many ways to wear these accessories with grunge clothes for an effortless look. Try out multiple outfit ideas and see which edgy style speaks to you.

Edgy Threads From Affliction Clothing

If you’re going for an edgy fashion styleAffliction Clothing has you covered. As leaders in alternative attire, our boundary-pushing apparel breaks the mold. When you browse Affliction’s inventory of cool jeans for men & women, button-down shirts, graphic tees, stylish outerwear, and accessories, you’ll find both nostalgic designs and updated pieces.

With our threads, you can achieve an edgy style and make a fashion statement while still presenting an effortless vibe. Start shopping for edgy outfits today.

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