By Angie Argabrite, Friday, October 28, 2011, at 9:39 am.
The utilitarian masculinity of ’90s grunge fashion is back—but sweeter this time
When Pippa Middleton wore a flannel shirt, you must have known. Dude, grunge is back. The look caught fire, again, in America’s northwest and quickly appeared on street fashion blogs around the world—in the U.K., Montreal, Sydney (even India, for that matter). Harry Potter darling—and budding fashionista—Emma Watson showed up for her first day back to college in a plaid shirt. It’s been 20 years since Nirvana unleashed Nevermind; the anniversary re-release is nostalgia on a disc. Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary is being celebrated with a new documentary, and Soundgarden is reunited. The grunge-music genre supplied Gen Xers with terrifically angsty music and a whole new aesthetic. Now Millennials are taking a turn with the trend, lacing up Doc Marten combat boots, pulling on knit hats and buttoning into plaid flannel shirts. The difference this time around is the “buttoning into” part. Two decades ago, the flannel was worn loose and unbuttoned; now the look is more fitted, even a tad preppy. Along with rugged boots and flannel, thrift-store owners say they’re starting to see ’90s-era items like long, prairie-style floral frocks and crushed-velvet dresses coming off their racks after years of dormancy. The best grunge fashions have always been about nailing that mix between angelic and devil-may-care—layering Dad’s old workshirt over a baby-doll dress, for instance. The focus is on comfortable, messy individuality rather than high-fashion perfection. To that we say: Rock on.