Resurrected by the emergence of 80s and 90s fashion styles on social media, the grunge aesthetic is back in 2023.
At peak popularity in the 1990s, the grunge aesthetic was the heart of the counterculture movement against mainstream fashion.
In those days, grunge fashion style comprised baggy jeans, thrifty shirts, chunky boots, plaid skirts, and flannels in dark colors and with chain accessories.
Over time and under the influence of several subcultures, grunge style embraced aesthetics from punk, emo, and, more recently, fairy vibes.
From dark grunge to fairy grunge, these are the most popular grunge aesthetic outfits you can wear right now.
1. Classic 90s Grunge
Oversized Flannel Shirts Over Band Tees, Ripped Jeans, and Combat Boots or Converse Shoes
The classic grunge style remains the ultimate look in the overall stylistic genre, be it in a soft or dark grunge aesthetic.
Worn by musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl, the classic grunge outfit of the 90s fashion opened the door to future messy chic styles.
When styling classic 90s grunge outfits, opt for oversized dark shirts, grunge-style plaid skirts, ripped jeans, accessories, and army boots.
Moreover, considering that grunge is a word that translates as ‘dirty,’ the more used and faded the clothes, the better.
2. Dark Grunge
Dark Flannel Shirts Over Tight Black Crop Top, Dark Pants, Leather Platform Shoes, Double Grommet Belt, and Chain Chokers
With sweet influences of nothing aesthetic, the dark grunge aesthetic is far more sensual and feminine than the new variations of purple and pink grunge aesthetics.
While you can choose from several variations and twists of the dark grunge aesthetic, the most popular style is all-black, worn-out clothes.
3. Soft Grunge
Pastel Check Mini Skirts, Crop Tops, Oversized Denim Jacket, and Mary Jane Style Shoes
Worn by Millenials and Gen Z alike, soft girl grunge is one of the most popular grunge aesthetics right now.
The soft grunge aesthetic has taken over OOTDs on TikTok and Instagram.
Most popular soft grunge aesthetics are built from women’s casual clothing in pastel colors and feminine pieces in traditional details.
4. Fairy Grunge
Distressed Long Skirts or Pants, Corset Tops, and Gloves (With Fairy Jewelry, Wings, and Elf Ears)
What I love about the fairy grunge aesthetic is the romance and fantasy twist added to the classic style.
Similar to fairy-core or goblin-core, fairy grunge aesthetic centers around the beauty of the wild, with a blend of comfortable and earthen twists to what you wear.
The overall aesthetic is dark at the core, and the unique corseting and antique-style jewelry highlight the fairy look.
5. Anime Grunge
Anime Tees, Flannel Shirts, Clack Choker (With Round Glasses and Heavy Makeup)
Brought to light by the emergence of the 90s anime genre, the anime grunge aesthetic is a more recent and unique variation of the classic grunge cut.
The style is an excellent way to showcase your favorite anime without saying a word.
Many anime lovers wearing grunge aesthetics have quotes from favorite shows hidden in jewelry and grunge accessories.
6. Cute Grunge
Red, Yellow, or Pastel Plaid Skirts, Sheer Cropped Sweaters, Stockings, and Leather Boots (With Colorful Laces)
With an overall preppier take, cute grunge aesthetic clothes combine the classics of plaid with the WASP-y look of crew necks and straight-leg pants with Patterns and colors of Kawaii outfits.
While Kurt Cobain might be rolling over in his grave at the idea of calling this aesthetic grunge, the cute grunge clothes remind us of the generation raised on Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.
7. Pink Grunge
Pink Plaid Pants or Pink Leather Skirt, Black Tops, and Leather Combat Boots
Pink and black are the best color combinations for sexy grunge aesthetics and styles.
While grunge outfits often veer toward dark neutrals, the pink grunge aesthetic brings freshness with bright pops of pink.
The pink grunge aesthetic stands out thanks to the unexpected softness and cuteness.
Moreover, given that Barbiecore is a trend taking over the internet and the hearts of IRL fashion lovers right now, diving into pink grunge clothes is a good bet on your fashion sense.
8. Purple Grunge
Purple Pants, Jacket, or Accessories (in Grunge Aesthetic Patterns)
Hailed as a color of luxury and royalty in the past – because the dye was hard to obtain – purple is slowly making its way into grunge aesthetic styles.
Moreover, the purple grunge aesthetic goes beyond clothes and translates into dyed purple hair, patterns, details, and accessories.
The purple grunge aesthetic is the best way to add color to your personality for an extra ‘wowing’ effect.
9. Green Grunge
Green Details Combined With Dark Grunge Aesthetic (and Chunky Chains)
Earthy, humble, and very underrated, the green grunge aesthetic is highly suitable for a perfect mix of ‘70s fashion silhouettes and modern fabrics.
Add a dash of gold jewelry to your green grunge clothes, and you’ve got a killer outfit.
10. Black Grunge
Knee Ripped Jeans or Black Plaid Skirt, Black Top, Black Denim Jacket (With Leather Platform Boots)
Like the classic ’90s grunge aesthetic, the black grunge style look focuses on dark colors, oversized tops, army boots, and gothic-style jewelry.
Going hand-in-hand with any grunge aesthetic clothes, this look is a great jumping-off point for those new to the grunge style.
11. Blue Grunge
Ripped Blue Jeans or Blue Plaid Mini Skirt Combined With Other Grunge Aesthetic Outfits (and Blue Hair)
Blue hair has been a part of grunge culture and style since the late ’90s and early 2000s fashion.
In recent years, the color has seeped into grunge clothing, aesthetics, and styles.
The quickest way to add a bit of blue grunge-ness to your style is via blue hair dye or blue accessories to the overall look.
12. Grunge White
Mini White Skirts or Straight Leg Jeans, Grunge Tops, and Accessories (With Black Leather Belts and Boots)
On the opposite stylistic spectrum of the dark and black grunge aesthetics, white grunge clothes are trendy now.
White is a clean and neutral color that can be blended into any grunge and look quite well.
However, you want to make sure you don’t go all white and that the clothes you’re going to wear are a bit worn out.
13. Red Grunge
Red Plaid Skirt or Red Jeans, Black Grunge Top With Red Details (Black Accessories & Leather Boots)
Regarding grunge aesthetics, red and black are cut from the same cloth.
Pair them together; the result is a fiery, red grunge aesthetic style you can’t ignore.
Since red symbolizes passion, adding this color to your grunge outfits will draw attention and create memorable moments.
14. Yellow Grunge
Yellow Oversized Flannels, Yellow Plaid Mini Skirt, Black Grunge Tees (With Converse or Doc Martens Boots)
If you worry about looking like a bumble bee, I do not recommend adding black to your grunge outfit when creating a yellow grunge aesthetic.
Unless, of course, that’s the aim, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
To pull the yellow grunge look, start with some older yellow clothes and pair them with similar color accessories and shoes, verging towards an indie/grunge appearance.
15. Neon Grunge
Neon Pants, Shirts, or Other Eye-catching Accessories With Dark Garments Mixed-in
In recent years, I’ve seen lots of unique grunge styles emerging.
Neon grunge aesthetic is one of them, a look that pairs well with skeleton patterns since many companies create neon skeletons.
Unlike rave outfits, the grunge neon aesthetic unique look is built on brighter clothes with dark basics to confer a stylish pop-rock grunge overall vibe.
16. Grey Grunge
Grey Straight Leg Grey-fitted Jeans or a Grey Oversized Shacket (With Grunge Tees and Boots)
A layer up (chromatically) from black and dark grunge aesthetics, grey grunge is seen as a terrific aesthetic suitable for those into minimalist-style clothes.
Clean and simplistic, recreating the grey grunge aesthetic is easy, requiring contrasting jewelry and mix-matching clothes in grey shades.
17. 80s Grunge
Straight-leg Jeans, Dark Green or Red Flannel Shirts Over Cropped Tops, and Leather Combat Boots or Converse Shoes
While grunge became a cultural phenomenon in the ’90s, the 80s fashion had its fair share of grunge looks.
A bit more tailored than the following oversized grunge, the ’80s grunge aesthetic is also a great entry point for those new to the style.
To dress like an ’80s grunge, blend in the eclectic glamour of the decade with grunge shirts in dark colors and used fabrics.
18. Y2K Grunge
Washed Low-rise Jeans or Cargo Pants, Distressed Hoodies Over Cropped Tops or Corsets, Mini Purses, Double Grommet Belt, and Chunky Shoes
Y2K aesthetic has been taking over the runways for the last two seasons, driving a surge in popularity for the Y2K grunge aesthetic.
To create a compelling Y2K grunge aesthetic outfit, mix in used clothes in bright pastels with glittering details and trademark accessories of Y2K fashion.
Often sported by Lana Del Rey, Miley Cyrus, and Billie Eilish, the Y2K grunge trend draws inspiration from the music scene of the 2000s.
Loose Skirts, Band Shirts or Graphic Tees, and Leather Details (With Converse Shoes)
The post-grunge aesthetic vibes are similar to the ’80s grunge but with more tailored pieces and neutral tones.
Compared to the darker grunge aesthetics described above, the post-grunge aesthetic has a softer edge and a more manageable touch.
20. Grunge Rock
Thigh-highs, Leather Platform Boots, and Mini Skirts (or Shorts), With Cropped Top Over Long Sleeves
Considering that punk and rock are the most popular musical genres of this aesthetic, grunge rock styles come as no surprise.
The aesthetic is similar to the 90s classic grunge look but with a deeper touch of the trash rock style.
That is ripped jeans, rock band shirts, army-style boots, and accessories, all well-used and fading out.
21. Pastel Grunge
Pastel Skirt and a Black Top (or Vice Versa) With Leather Boots and Pastel Accessories
If darker colors aren’t your thing, but a grunge aesthetic is something you want to try, leaning towards pastel looks is the way forward.
Playing with the same basics that make up the root of the grunge aesthetic, just in pastel shades, can be a bit more flirty and fun.
22. Indie Grunge
Grunge Plaid Pants and Denim Jacket in Yellow and Red Colors (With Layered Necklaces)
The perfect option for spring and summer, the Indie grunge aesthetic is ideal for creating fashion looks that will get you many compliments.
23. Grunge Goth
Black Mini Skirts or Distressed Denim Shorts, Black Top, Black Tights, and Doc Martens Boots (With Dark Makeup, Silver Jewellery, and Teased Hair)
While the classic Goth style is inspired by the Victorian dressing style with laces, velvet, and corsets, the Grunge Goth aesthetic is slightly more random.
As such, the Grunge Goth aesthetic showcases a blend of tailored clothes, tights with dresses, skirts, and lots of rock band accessories.
24. Grunge Punk
Torn and Patched Leather or Denim Jackets, Shorts, or Skirts in Plaid Patterns Over Tights (With Voluminous Red or Green Colored Hairstyle)
Like the grunge-rock aesthetic, the grunge-punk style showcases many chains, jewelry, and plaid details.
Aiming for an eye-catching aesthetic, don’t be afraid of brighter colors when putting together your grunge punk look.
25. Skater Grunge
Distressed Flannels Over Band Tops, Loose Washed Jeans, Wide Belts (With Converse or Vans)
With oversized and intentionally unfitted clothing, the skater grunge aesthetic is a dapper style in 2023.
The aim is to create stylistic chaos while retaining a sense of cohesion.
26. Grunge Emo
High-rise Pants, Black Band Tees, Large Leather Belts, Lace-up Shoes or Simple Trainers (With a Beanie)
The Grunge-Emo aesthetic is a sprout of the Grunge Goth style, which retains its dark roots but mixes with Emo outfits in brighter colors such as pink, blue, and purple.
Silver hearts, locks, and traditional Grunge accessories in silver are an ideal match for the Grunge Emo aesthetic.
27. Vintage Grunge
Mix Match Vintage Patterned Fabrics With Lots of Vintage Jewelry (in an Untidy Way)
Marked by eclectics and plenty of details, the Grunge part of this look comes into play thanks to the messiness and looseness of the overall style.
Wearing 60’s style garments is OK, as long as they are well-worn and distressed.
28. Grunge Skeleton
Skeleton Tees Under a Flannel Shirt or a Jacket, Ripped Jeans, and Leather Boots (With Heavy Makeup)
If goth styles are linked to vampires, Grunge outfits will forever be tied with skeletons.
Putting the look together is easy; mix classic Grunge aesthetic clothes with oversized skeleton shirts or accessories.
29. Grunge Heart
Dark Purple T-shirt With Heart Details, Black Pleated Mini Skirt Over Tights (and a Heart Shape Silver Chain)
Filled with small heart details, this isn’t your traditional Valentine’s Day look.
More suitable for a broken heart club, the Grunge Heart aesthetic will mentally and stylistically prepare you.
With hearts broken or malformed, the Grunge heart aesthetic is the choice for dramatic lovers.
30. Witchy Grunge
Peter Pan Collars, Black Velvet Midi Dress, Rosaries, Tights, and Combat Boots (With a Witchy Hat!)
If Halloween is your favorite holiday, you might as well take it with you year-round.
Creating an almost witchy take on Grunge, this off-shoot of the Grunge aesthetic is ideal for adding spookiness to your day.
And if you don’t know where to start, channel your inner Wednesday Adams.
What Defines Grunge Style?
The grunge style is defined by worn-out, dark, brown, or grey flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and thrift clothing worn in a loose, androgynous manner that de-emphasizes one’s silhouette.
What is a Soft Grunge Aesthetic?
The soft grunge aesthetic is a variation of the classic grunge style that embraces pastel colors, such as lighter pinks and blues. Soft grunge outfits include studs and spikes, Vans skate shoes, platform shoes, floral dresses, flower crowns, and pleated skirts.
What is Grunge Fairycore?
Fairycore, also called Faecore, Fairywave, or Fairy Grunge, is a contemporary variation of the grunge aesthetic that mixes the aesthetics of Fairycore and Grunge styles, defined by explorations of natural themes, butterflies, soft fluffy animals, flowers, and a bit of magic.
In a world where mainstream fashion is limiting and uninspiring, wearing a style based on the grunge aesthetic is a unique and exciting alternative.
Not only does grunge style offer a refreshing departure from the norm, but it also allows you to express yourself authentically and without reservation.
Through grunge aesthetic outfits, you’re making powerful statements showcasing your love for creativity, individuality, and a passion for the unconventional.
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A University of Oxford graduate in Design History, Katherine Saxon is researching arising TikTok cultures from a consumer psychology perspective while covering emerging aesthetics in fashion and beauty for TheVOU, Forbes, Business Insider, and more.