Guide to the grunge aesthetic

Leather and denim are often associated with this trend as well as other pieces that create texture like distressed tights or pants.

Megan Lenzi

The grunge look has stayed popular for many years because it is ever-evolving with the trends while staying true to its aesthetic based on comfort mixed with darkness and edge.

“Athleisure is very popular but dressing in a grunge aesthetic, you get to wear baggy clothes and you just feel comfortable throughout the day,” said Sarah Wright, Iowa State alumna and co-creator of Hard Aspects, a sneaker accessories and jewelry brand. “And I feel like it’s also just more of a personality trait to like darker things or more edgy pieces. There will always be people that gravitate towards that kind of vibe. And I think parts of it are pretty basic things that would never go out of style anyway, to just wear it in more of a grunge way.”

Wright’s style and brand are a good representation of the grunge aesthetic. Her closet staples are the perfect definition of the grunge aesthetic.

“Definitely a bunch of oversized hoodies and oversized T-shirts. I have a lot of car T-shirts. I have a couple oversized racing jackets. Besides that, I feel like I just have a lot of silver jewelry that always goes with everything,” Wright said.

Recently, oversized car racing jackets have been all the rage and seen all over social media. They’re a trendy addition to any closet and a staple for the grunge aesthetic. Wright has gotten her own racing jackets from Facebook Marketplace because it’s an effective way to shop for stylish pieces while balling on a budget.

Graphic tees are a staple in the grunge aesthetic that’s been a popular trend for a while. Don’t be afraid to be a rep for ’80s punk rock bands with your old oversized graphic tees. These are a staple you can dress up or down in any outfit.

Styling accessories are key elements of putting a look together. Sneaker charms from Hard Aspects are a perfect example of spicing up a look.

“Sneakers were so big in that time period [’90s] and there’s just kind of been this revival of kind of that casual part to outfits, like denim was huge then and so pairing it with cool sneakers was a thing, but we kind of got the idea of like there were some designer pieces that you could put on shoes…so we saw those and then we just thought of to make chains and charm sets to kind of go along with the sneaker craze, because it’s a more affordable way to make your sneakers look new and without having to continually buy new pairs of shoes,” Wright said.

Fishnet tights have been around since the 19th century but still remain a popular trend today. Pair them with a mini skirt or underneath a pair of jeans with Dr. Marten combat boots for an edgier look.

A lot of influencers and celebrities sport the grunge aesthetic and get inspiration from the ’90s trends. Billie Eilish is the perfect example of the blend of the grunge aesthetic immersed with street style. You’ll always catch her sporting any baggy clothing and comfort is the main feature in all of her looks.

If you are trying to emanate the grunge aesthetic into your style, focus on incorporating darker pieces and edgy accessories.