Fashion notes: A touch of grunge never hurt anyone
If you have been taking note of recent style trends, you may have noticed a rather peculiar movement. I like to call it the breakdown of grunge. Elements of punk-rock-inspired dressing have begun to surface into the mainstream, and they draw no explicit association with gothic outcasts, rock ‘n’ roll groupies or motorcycle gangs.
This trend is an entertaining one, especially for someone like me – admittedly, I had my own run-in with the whole punk craze in high school. While the black-and-purple walls of my bedroom have since been painted over, and my wardrobe is now dictated by pastel shades rather than blacks and skateboard-brand logos, my rebellious spell doesn’t seem all that long ago. If only I had held on to my stretchy tattoo choker necklaces, tweed high-top Chuck Taylors and shiny black combat boots for just a few years longer.
This trend isn’t about dressing in head-to-toe, shapeless, bedraggled black clothing, but more about incorporating small elements of punk into your everyday wardrobe. This could be something as subtle as a mere safety-pin pendant, or as bold as a spiked, studded leather jacket.
Uninteresting plaid shirts and pleated schoolgirl skirts are far too predictable. This trend isn’t about being generic. Get with the spirit of punk-grunge fashion, and opt for unexpected additions to your outfit. If you’re wondering how to inject some punky attitude into a simple jeans-and-tee ensemble, throw on a pinstriped men’s vest or waistcoat over your outfit. You may even find that your father, or grandfather, has the perfect piece in the back of his wardrobe. Glam it up with some brooches – they can be as floral and feminine as you’d like. The latest addition to this punk-inspired fad is the influx of pins, badges and patches in the market. Buy a handful, and decorate old vests, jackets or jeans.
While fishnet stockings are hardly ever on my “to wear” list, they may look cool worn under a pair of very ripped and baggy jeans. Wear a basic white blouse on top, and your ensemble will have enough of that punk sizzle, without looking overly edgy or over the top. If you’re at a complete loss for inspiration, look to the spring/summer runways. The exaggerated fishnet designs seen from Alexander Wang, silver eyelet details, chunky belts and sporty cuts used by Michael Kors and sleek leather designs at Louis Vuitton all pay homage to grunge fashion in some way or another.
Today, traditional perceptions of what’s acceptable in fashion and society are simply no longer that relevant. A decade ago, dying your hair pink, purple or green would have earned you a seat at the misfit table of your school’s cafeteria, and you would likely sport a range of tattoos and piercings, in addition to an all-black wardrobe. Today, women who flaunt unusual hair colours are rarely characteristic of the above description. Many of them even gravitate towards the “pretty” approach to style.
If you admire how a blunt fringe looks on a billboard, then cut your own. If you see a purple Mac lipstick shade, but worry you won’t be able to pull it off, buy it. If you admire how flat-form sandals look in a shoe advertisement, but your mother says they look ugly and mannish, go try them on in the shop anyway.
There are some rather uncomely stereotypes associated with punk and grunge fashion. The key is to stay true to your own signature style, but make an attempt to be a little bewildering.