We had safely come a long way from the fringe denim shorts and cutoff leather vests of the ’90s—until now. But the best thing about
the revival of previous fashion eras—mainly downtown grunge—is the chance for a stylish do-over. And the Spring 2013 collections of lumberjack plaid and leather vests, seen at Dries Van Noten, and cutoff tees and sweeping, floor-length skirts at Acne, prove that some things are better the second time around.
“I think it’s more colourful now and more embellished, eclectic,” says Cher Coulter, an L.A.-based celebrity stylist, about this year’s grunge fashion comeback. “Back then it was more bare threads and dirty washes.” Coulter shared her expert fashion tips on how to rock the grunge fashion trend this spring.
How to wear the grunge trend #1: Study your ’90s fashion history
To wear today’s spring fashion grunge trend well, get to know its roots in prominent places (downtown L.A.), players (Courtney Love), and anything that smells like teen spirit. “I think the best inspiration for this style is photo shoots from the ’90s British fashion magazines, like
The Face and
i-D, and photographers like David Sims and Corinne Day,” says Coulter. And, of course, study the look the iconic models of that era: Kate Moss, Rosemary Ferguson and Emma Balfour.
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How to wear the grunge trend #2: Build the ultimate high/low look
For this look, always start at the top: “I think an amazing slip dress from Chloé or Nina Ricci is worth the money and good to wear solo for a night out or layered with a plaid button-up shirt and coloured bra peeking out, and Doc Martens boots. Or the Balenciaga boot!” How to add luxe appeal? “A good pair of coloured shades— like the pink Dior cat eyes—adds a really cool pop of fun to any grunge look.”
Take it outside: “I think the grunge look lends itself to the weekends and hanging out with your friends in parks and shopping downtown, but it can be dressed up with jewellery and heels—
a metallic heel or white sling-back work well.”
Read on to the next page for more of our expert spring fashion tips on how to wear the grunge look…
How to wear the grunge trend #3: Look grunge-y but not dirty
This season’s take on grunge is about striking the fine balance of a gritty, thrown-together outfit in a polished (and clean) manner. “It’s all about mixing textures of fabric: if you wear an oversized plaid shirt knotted at the waist, pair it with a chiffon skirt or shorts and add a sparkle belt or choker necklace so that you make it runway modern,” Coulter suggests. “Don’t do a plain shirt and jeans—it will look lame.”
Think Courtney Love with some bling. “Make sure you have some sparkle somewhere,” she adds. “Even a black chiffon skirt over, say, a blue-black mini, and worn with a silk kimono top wrapped with a silver belt tied like a sash,” she says. “It’s effortless cool.”
How to wear the grunge trend #4: The DIY downtown look
Take the grunge look into your own hands: “I think a good beat up, oversized plaid, cotton shirt could work well if dyed at home into a pink or powder blue. This could then be wrapped and tied into a skirt,” says Coulter. “This will set you up for the Comme des Garçons revival we see coming through for fall.”
But again, go for a sparkling finish. “Look for a good pajama pant in a men’s cut to wear with sparkly sandals,” she says. For a gilded touch, seek out vintage belts in chunky gold or silver that can be wrapped and tied as a sash.
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How to wear the grunge trend #5: Go from day to night
“Try to keep silhouettes long, lean and flattering, so if you do opt for making a shirt-skirt, keep the top super simple. Alter jewellery [accordingly] and add a kitten heel,” says Coulter about your grunge-by-day look. “For evening, layer slip dresses and throw a simple kimono over it wrapped at the waist.” Or for a downtown chic look, go for a very simple straight-leg pant with an oversized shirt, belted, that drapes to the knees.
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How to wear the grunge trend #6: Accessorize your grunge look
Take your ’90s-inspired grunge look into Spring 2013 with playful, luxe accessories: think coloured glasses, chunky chokers, metallic belts and multiple piercings with lots of small earrings, Coulter suggests. “I also think a fun bag with a great print is cool, as it could be embellished—go for a square or striped and larger style for the perfect mix-and-match feeling.”
But the real nouveau grunge saving grace? “A metallic shoe,” says Coulter. “It brings some glamour to a shredded sweatshirt and long chiffon skirt.”
Cher Coulter is an L.A.-based celebrity stylist with Starworks Artists.
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