Some are calling it LA grunge (don’t). Some are just calling it grunge. Most partakers, however, weren’t involved in this cyclic fashion trend’s first bout in the ’90s, when Courtney Love, Mia Zapata and Sassy reigned, instead of Cory Kennedy and Nylon. Sure, its original idols were a hell of a lot cooler (Courtney Love? Debatable), but it’s really the fashions of the time that have come back for a second spin.
Like I’ve said before: Flannel, unkempt hair, one of the Olsen twins walking around looking like fucking Meg Ryan circa French Kiss with the tousled locks and round Lennon sunglasses and frosty apathy—all indicators of this resurgence.
And you know what? I think it’s okay.
I wouldn’t go so far as breaking out those floral Laura Ashley baby-doll dresses again to wear with Doc Martens, but the same concept still looks great, if you’re careful. The appeal of grunge to the average gal was the collision of the masculine with the feminine. The messy with the neat. The tough with the not-so-tough.
And many of the best designers and fashion houses would agree. Alexander Wang has taken the grunge look and made it a signature staple. (Wang’s stylist and muse, by the way, is model Erin Wasson, who just did a collaboration with Costa Mesa-based RVCA that will be in stores this spring—watch this space for more info.) Dresses are finished off with heavy black footwear, proportions always balanced—flowy pants with skinny tanks and oversized tops with leggings. And the models always carry blank stares of death. This past spring, Luella had tiny, tiered, floral skirts and unstructured cardigans with what looked like white, pointy-toed Doc Martens.
But if you’re not sure going into this, and if you’re not certain that you want to wear torn jeans and flannel shirts together again, take heed: Don’t.
Just don’t throw it all on at once. That’s all.
Many of the cool-again pieces have come back with slight modifications: Wearing a slightly oversized flannel shirt? Put on skinny jeans and black ankle booties.
The easiest way to partake, though, other than the flannel, is through motorcycle and combat boots. Frye—which claims to be the oldest contiuously operating shoe company in America—provides good alternatives to the too-dated Docs. But they don’t come cheap—the chunky Veronica Shortie boot (pictured) goes for around $270, but the same motorcycle-boot style remains intact. Wear ’em with stockings and modern skirts, dresses, jeans and anything else you think of. Do anything you can to avoid the Daria comparisons.
Grunge as a music genre and style was all about being low-budget and anti-fashion, but we all know how things get bastardized when you start thinking too much—so you might as well have some fun with it.