What Fashion Trends Were Popular in the Grunge Era?

Grunge clothing

What Grunge Stood For

The grunge subculture emerged in the late 1980s, and its members were known for dressing in unbranded, secondhand clothing. The look was dark, raw and unapologetic. What’s more, grunge fashion often mixed the masculine with the feminine -- think flannel shirts with lace-up boots and beanies with skirts. The result is an intriguing mix of seemingly contradictory pieces that have become forever linked to this era.

These fashion trends are still popular today as many of them can be paired with almost anything you own. From lace up boots to plaid shirts and ripped jeans, read on to find out more about what grunge stood for when it came to fashion!

Corduroy pants

Corduroy pants are made from cotton woven material with a raised corded pattern. They were a popular item among grunge fashionistas and were often worn with tights, ankle boots or brogues. You can now find them in a range of colours, and they are a great fashion investment as they can be worn long after the grunge trend has ended.

Flannel and plaid shirts

There are few things as quintessentially grunge as the flannel shirt. Originally made from a thick wool fabric, these shirts were worn by coal miners in the 19th century to protect themselves from heat and cuts. This is why they are often made with a plaid design, which also has its origins in the mining industry. Flannel and plaid shirts are easy to style and can be worn with anything from denim jeans to a pencil skirt.

Ripped jeans

Ripped jeans were a staple item in grunge fashion and have enjoyed continued popularity since the 1990s. Their aesthetic, which is inspired by a worn-out look, has been given a modern twist in recent years with a colourful array of rips and patched-up jeans. Although they may seem like a complicated pair of jeans to sew, they’re actually quite easy to create. All you need is a pair of jeans and a utility knife (or a pair of scissors can be used too!) to create a stylish and authentic look.

You might want to hold off on wearing these jeans to your next job interview, but for everything else, ripped jeans work just fine!

If you don’t have the time to create your own pair of ripped jeans, you can find pre-ripped jeans at many clothing stores. Be sure to choose a pair of jeans that fit you well and are made of high-quality denim. If you have larger legs, it’s best to avoid super baggy styles, as they may make your legs look even bigger.

Beanies and caps

The baseball cap was a popular item in grunge fashion, but it was often embellished with words, pictures or patches. Baseball caps were worn at an angle, and were a common sight among grunge fans, who wore them with everything from suits to plaid shirts and flannels. Beanies and knit caps were also a popular choice for the subculture. They were worn both indoors and outdoors and were usually teamed with plimsolls or sneakers.

Since the 1990s, the baseball cap has enjoyed a revival and is once again a fashion staple. Although they’re a hipster favourite, they can be worn in a variety of ways.

For a grunge-inspired look, try pairing a baseball cap with a plaid shirt, flannel or other layering pieces. And don’t forget to add a touch of your personality to the cap by adding patches, pins or other accessories.

Sneakers and boots

As you would expect, sneakers were a popular choice in the grunge era. They were worn with everything from jeans to suits, and there are plenty of different styles available today. Combat boots are also a popular footwear option for the modern man. They come in a variety of styles and colours, and can be worn for any occasion, from casual to dressy. Sneakers and combat boots were usually paired with ripped jeans, a plaid shirt and a leather jacket for a grunge-inspired look.

Today, sneakers and combat boots come in a variety of colours and styles, from suede and leather to vegan-friendly materials like canvas. You can find them in both high-top and low-top styles, and can be worn for almost any occasion.

Lacy things

Lacy items such as underwear, bras and legwear were a common sight in the grunge era. The daringly feminine items were often matched with masculine clothing such as flannels, plaid shirts and jeans. For example, many grunge fans wore lace-up pants, which was a daring move. Although the look has become less common over the years, it’s making a comeback. Lacy items can be found in many different fabrics today, from silk to polyester. Lacy items are available in an array of colours, patterns and designs, and now come in unisex styles too!

For a grunge-inspired look, pair your lace-up pants with a baggy flannel shirt, a beanie and a pair of sneakers. Alternatively, you could opt for a feminine look by pairing your lace-up pants with a lacy top and a blazer.


The grunge fashion trend emerged in the late 1980s and continued until the early 1990s. It was closely associated with the rise of the indie rock subculture, and it focused on unbranded, secondhand clothing. The grunge fashion trend was raw and unapologetic, and it often mixed the masculine with the feminine.

Grunge fashion was influenced by the music genre associated with the same subculture. Its fashion was dark, urban and often unkempt. The grunge fashion trend is still popular today, and you can easily mix and match grunge clothing to create a variety of unique outfits.