Fashion & Grunge: A Misunderstanding

If I were to ask you, “Hey you- what is grunge?” You would probably answer that it was a musical and fashion movement of the early 1990’s pioneered by the reigning King and Queen of the time, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain. Of course we all know they wore lots of plaid, combat boots, baby doll dresses, shredded jeans, and vintage tees…and then some more plaid to top it off. And this is all true. (So I’ve read…I was literally like 5 years old at the time.) SO we all know what the grunge “style” was about. But did you know that first and foremost grunge was a political, social, cultural and ideological movement? The fashionista in me LOVES that grunge aesthetic, but the human in me really identifies with what they stood for ideologically. The grunge movement was actually anti-fashion…as in it OPPOSED fashion. So, NOT anti-fashion in like, an Erin Wasson, Alexandra Richards, or Allison Mosshart kinda way. (Like “Wahhhh I’m just too cool to fuckin’ care, man. I just threw on this $300 tee and these $600 shredded jeans like ZOMG, I just don’t care about fashion”.) No. When I say anti-fashion I mean that they opposed and hated the fashion industry; because they were anti-consumption or even anti-capitalist. Shopping at thrift stores was NOT for fashion’s sake; it was because they refused to contribute to the “fashion engine”, if you will. While they did have a certain style and aesthetic, clothing was of the least concern for people in the grunge movement, they literally just needed to cover their body. And they simply wore what thrift stores had to offer, with no thought put into it.

Knowing this, we now see how this movement kinda got turned upside down once the “fashion engine” did catch wind of it. Marc Jacobs first introduced it to the high fashion world with his infamous “grunge collection” for Perry Ellis. As groundbreaking as that collection was, it did not perform in the marketplace. Why buy a top dollar “knockoff” when you can get the real thing for $3 at any local Salvation Army? Knowing these particular little bits and bobbles of history made me quite curious about the controversial new Saint Laurent Collection, because it seems that he’s having the same problem…maybe. One review said this, “These retro 1990s Saint Laurent clothes didn't look much different from what's already available from those brands (F21, H&M, Zara) for a fraction of the price. When Saint Laurent himself did rich hippie, it looked rich; this didn't look like rich grunge.” Wouldn’t it be ironic, and totally hilarious, if Slimane was already privy to this? What if he wanted us to ask these questions? Afterall, we did just learn that based on the underlying philosophy of the grunge movement “rich grunge” is a total and complete oxymoron…right? Well I’ve never met the guy, so I dunno if he is a brilliant genius or just designed a really cheap looking collection. Either way, his collection did inspire my look today and I am excited to see what this style renegade does next…you know how I love my rule breakers ;)

Vintage fur coat. Vintage flannel. Vintage sequin dress. Steve Madden Boots. F21 jewelry.

Until next time,



  1. Love this post! That sequined dress is AMAZING.

  2. Love the look, Brittany - the sequin dress rocks on you!! In spite of having lived through that era (I wasn't five, teehee), I wasn't sure of the origins of Grunge, though Seattle and the music scene had some sort of influence. Marc Jacobs also helped to commodify the look, methinks .... xo

  3. I love everything about this! I want that coat!

  4. i actually read an article years ago about when marc sent that collection down the runway and what that meant for the "grunge" movement and those that actually were a part of it. fashion is so much more than people realize......ps this outfit is fan- freaking- tastic!!!!
    brooke @ what2wear

  5. I loooove this mix of unexpected pieces together. It looks so bold and chic!


  6. sparkles and plaid oh my! love the combo :)

    Mili from call me, Maeby

  7. Holy. Crap. Sparkles and plaid? Rocker boots? You are a GENIUS!
    Fifth Freedom Fashion

  8. Sequins and plaid? You are genious! It looks PERFECT together! I would never thought of it! Amazing! Xx


  9. That dress is fabulous, and I love the plaid and ankle boots with it!

    The Other Side of Gray

  10. First, I love your look. Second, I have to say was a bit surprised at the new YSL collection. Quite a departure from typical YSL.


  11. This reminds me of something I read recently,

    "Fashion parodies itself. In elevating the ephemeral to cult status it ultimately mocks many of the moral pretensions of the dominant culture, which, in turn, has denounced it for its surface frivolity while perhaps secretly stung by the way in which fashion pricks the whole moral balloon. At the same time fashion is taken at face value and dismissed as trivial, in an attempt to deflect the sting of its true seriousness, its surreptitious unmasking of hypocrisy." - Elizabeth Wilson, Adorned in Dreams

  12. LOVE this - such a perfect outfit!

  13. LOVE this, that dress is beautiful!

    Maria xxx

  14. this is such a cool look. LOVE the mix of sequins with the plaid and fur. So awesome


  15. This is an interesting point you made here...it also made me feel old! I was sweet 16 right in the middle of the grunge era!!? I really adore your outfit, especially the sequin dress and fur coat, and the way you put it all together. Gorgeous!

    As for the latest Saint Laurent collection - well, I like the clothes, what's not to like... but really, we are dealing with a great designers name, history and archives here. Yves Saint Laurent was a real, incredible, genius, designer. If Slimane could use his own name to put out this collection I would feel a bit better about it. When I go to see YSL I want to see something groundbreaking and worthy of dreams! It's true when you say you could get this stuff from any op shop, what a joke to go and buy this new grunge shit from SL!? It don't make sense!??
    That's my rant for the day! hahah....I love your style and great writing. Cheers! x

  16. Thank you for the nice comment. Fantastic outfit, the sequined dress is a great touch.


  17. The sequins with the plaid - it's perfect! Love.

  18. yeh, i think i may be in love with your style. your blog rocks, thats for stopping by mine, now following. :)

  19. loving the dress, loving the boots! xx

  20. I love sparkling dress and how you matched it!!
    especially with boots

    Pretty To Be Happy

  21. this is stunning, my lady!

    stunning! love all the texture you compiled.

    thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving me a sweet comment!
    i truly appreciate it!


  22. I don't really like the coat but without i love your outfit! i think it's perfect!

  23. I love how the colors in your dress perfectly compliment your plaid top - what a fantastic pairing.