How to Dress Grunge: 7 Vintage Tricks to Get '90s Style

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26 Years Ago...
... was a decade known as the '90s.
It was an era of rebellion and resistance, in the world of style and taste. Where ladies once dressed liked ladies, girls dressed like boys. Where men once embraced their inner peacock, they embraced their inner dog.
Utilitarian style is a functional way of dressing that required little bells or whistles in this era of too-cool-for-school style.
The '90s was a period that embraced simplicity over sensational, casual over crazy, dishevelled over decadent. Basically, the '90s was an era when key staples were worn without trying to impress or make a fashion statement. Rather, the "grungers" rebelled against organised fashion and chose to make use with functional wear that, 25 years later, is viewed as trendsetting.
If only those grungers could hear us now! Keep reading to learn 7 key tricks to get '90s grunge style as if Kurt Cobain were still alive and singing "smells like teen spirit."
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Dressing Grunge Tip #1: Denim Overalls
Denim overalls were a big hit with teenagers in the ’90s. When the weather turned warm, overall pants were replaced with shorts and, if you were really trendy, you only wore one strap and let the other hang loose down your back!
Overall shorts were sold in every denim wash, from regular blue (as pictured above) to dark, light, stonewash, khaki and a muted, grunge-inspired floral.
The ’90s was an era of minimalist ethos, so if you happen to stumble upon a pair of overall shorts with a patchwork, tribal or a brightly coloured design, you’re more than likely looking at a pair from the more flashy ’80s fashion era.
When I was in primary school, it was expected that every girl who was “cool” owned a pair of denim overalls from the Gap. Back when I was 10, my closet was curated thanks to the tastes of my mother. But once the peer pressures of pubescent adolescence hit, I begged my mum to take me to The Gap to buy me a pair of this must-have fashion status symbol.
She implored — and I rocked those Gap overalls like nobody’s business back in 1996!
<<  Grab a pair of '90s denim overalls now!
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Dressing Grunge Tip #2: Doc Martens

Growing up, all I wanted was a pair of Doc Martens. I wanted them in 1998 before online shopping was accessible to the masses and when I tried to place an order for them online, they failed to process my mum's credit card. So I was without my cherished Doc Martens! 
Today, you can find vintage pairs and new versions, which remain true to their '90s roots. Look for Docs with daisy designs or Docs styled like classic Mary Janes. The Doc "boot" is the popular style and if made with waterproof materials, operates as a solid rain boot, too.
Generally speaking, Doc Martens are characterised by their elevated soles, larger-than-large round souls and what appears to be a medically-made shoe for a senior citizen - and not a too-cool-for-school grunge girl or guy.
The design of Doc Martens appear awkward, yes, but when paired with the short skirt style of the '90s grunge girl, they were an unexpected match that worked for an era of accidental trendsetters who didn't care what anyone thought about them.
<<  Grab some '90s Doc Martens today!
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Dressing Grunge Tip #3: Printed Shorts

In the '90s, shorts weren't just "denim" - they were designed.
Cut-off shorts with fringe bottoms were a frequent DIY fashion project embraced by girls of the early '90s who wanted to convert their copious amounts of denim pants to something more suitable for summer weather.
When fashion brands began taking note of this cut-off denim trend, they took it one step further by adding colour, design and general patterned flare to these booty cover-ups, perfect for summer music festivals and boy watching on the beach.
The shorts carried designs of daisies, thick stripes, peace signs and other whimsical patterns in stone washed colours. Paired with a belly shirt, these styles were perfect for girls who wanted to dress like a grunger without having to commit to full-body cover up!
<<  Grab a pair of '90s printed shorts now!
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Dressing Grunge Tip #4: Peter Pan Dresses

Courtney Love co-founded the grunge girl band Hole in the late '80s. By the time their popularity hit a peak in 1995, so did Courtney Love's fashion choices and desire to be loud, proud and pretty at the same time.
Most likely due to raiding charity and vintage stores in Los Angeles before their big break in the early '90s, the Peter Pan collar dress became a staple of '90s dressing thanks to the influences of Courtney Love wearing them so often in her shows and promotional shots.
The Peter Pan collar was previously popular in the '60s and so it's most likely that the dresses Courtney was wearing were in fact vintage/second hand. Courtney remains one of the most iconic ladies of fashion circa the '90s, despite the era shunning trends and popularity contests.
Regardless of the trend's origin, short dresses with "cutesy" details such as the Peter Pan collar became an ironic trend for the grunge girl, who while she looked "pretty" on the outside, had one tough shell to break.
<<  Grab a Peter Pan collar '90s dress now!
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Dressing Grunge Tip #5: Denim Jackets

The '90s was an era of casual dressing, when even Red Carpet looks became less formal and more simple.
Because the '90s embraced casual wear like no era ever before, denim became popular on everyone from rockers at garage band rallies to "Casual Fridays" at the workplace and, as seen on stay-at-home mums shopping the supermarket.
Designer denim took off like never before, with brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Fubu and European names like Marithé François Girbaud becoming all the rage.
But for the grunge girl or boy, it didn't matter who made the denim ... it just mattered that they wore it! Overalls, jeans, shirts, jackets, hats, you name it. If it was denim - chances are it was cool to wear and reliable to rock.
Denim was popular on both girls and guys, with women embracing the opportunity to add a spice of androgynous to their look with oversize denim jackets worn over tiny belly shirts.  Denim jackets preferred by the grunge collective were made by classic denim companies Lee or Levi's, but shopping centre brands like The Gap also mimicked with their own styles for the '90s youth.
Trends flowed faster in the '90s than ever before, and so knock-offs to the more popular names could be found in any department store or second-rate fashion chain, making this and many other '90s trends accessible to just about everyone's budget.
<<   Grab an oversize '90s denim jacket now!
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Dressing Grunge Tip #6: Plaid / Denim Blend Shirts

The staple of staples in the grunge wardrobe was and always will be a plaid.
Plaid is a piece of fashion's history that, prior to popularity in the '90s, was considered "western wear" by those who wore it in the '50s. It was more popular as a work shirt than as a fashion statement. Plaid is often identified for its red colouring (because historically, it was worn by lumberjacks who wore a bright colour to be spotted easily in the woods) but a la the '90s, it was produced in shades of greens and blues, too.
This particular style blends the two most easily identifiable elements of '90s fashion itself: plaid and denim. When these two pieces of fashion history are combined, they make for an epic combo of in-your-face '90s nostalgia.
Can't find a combo shirt like the one above? An oversize plaid shirt worn unbuttoned (usually with a white tee below) will certainly do.
<<  Grab a '90s plaid shirt now!
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Dressing Grunge Tip #7: Classic Band Tees

The band tee wasn't born in the '90s, but it certainly was embraced!
The "merch" table was as popular as ever when bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, etc. gained fame on MTV and in the concert halls of towns across the world.
At these merch (short for merchandise) tables were a plethora of decorative clothing and accessories that the grunge girl or guy could snag to represent their favourite band alongside their favourite pair of denim and Docs.
Easy to wear and dress as if "without a care," the band shirt became a staple in many young men's day-to-day wardrobes as they opted for anti-society style that differentiated them from their counterparts the preps, the scholars, and the privileged. In other words: They wanted to stand out without seeming ostentatious or pretentious to the world they were rebelling against.
<<  Grab authentic '90s merch / band gear now!
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Written by: sammydavisvintage
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