Time is a concept that is universally recognized. Although intangible — something that cannot be truly seen or felt — it plays such a pivotal role in our everyday lives. While we often use time as a scaffold upon which we make goals and build future plans, an equally important function of time is to provide us with points of reference in our past. For this reason, time has particular significance in the world of fashion where designers have a tendency to combine original ideas with referential influences. With millennia of human history, sartorial references can come from a vast variety of time periods, ranging from the mysterious ancient world to the not so distant past. One decade which has recently experienced a referential revival is the beloved 1990s, predominantly through the comeback of the grunge trend.
Grunge emerged as a subgenre of rock music in the late 1980s, yet only gained mainstream popularity in the beginning of the 1990s. Musical genres, like many other cultural phenomena, have far-spanning influences on countless social and political factors — from the laws that are passed to the clothes that are worn. Therefore not surprisingly, the beginnings of grunge music lead to the creation of a very controversial grunge-inspired fashion. The grunge trend, characterized by flannel shirts, acid wash denim, bulky boots and oversized layers, served as a shock to the prim and proper world of fashion. Grunge was like nothing that the fashion world had ever seen before — whereas fashion conventionally fixated on exploring the extraordinary, grunge seemed like the embodiment of the ordinary and the downtrodden. Yet the sartorial backlash was clearly not enough to stop the popularity of the trend in the past and most definitely not enough to prevent the current resurgence, as is showcased by this week’s Fashionista.
Combining flannel, denim, a plain white tee and tousled tresses, this Fashionista has all the ingredients to create a modern take on the casually cool grunge trend. The key to the grunge look is to layer — although less feasible in the midday heat, it’s a convenient option to keep warm in the slightly chillier summer nights. The essential component of any grunge look is of course plaid, traditionally worn as flannel shirts and more recently worn in floor-sweeping maxi skirts. Although a white T-shirt is a closet staple for a variety of trends, you can never go wrong with the addition of a graphic T-shirt for that extra dose of cheekiness. Interestingly, she also opted for a snapback hat and sneaker wedges for a slightly contrasting yet equally cool addition to her ensemble. For a grungy yet feminine take on footwear, I also adore these floral Dr. Martens.
Trends, like people, sometimes deserve a second chance. Although grunge fashion was less than well received in its sartorial debut, the departure of modern street style toward a more rebellious edge has created a new niche for this older trend. Perhaps now the fashion world is finally ready to let go of its grudge against grunge.