As someone who never got over ’90s trends in the first place, I couldn’t be more excited to see the decade’s standout styles make a comeback. Acid-wash jeans and combat boots have always been at home in my closet, and at last they are back at home in the fashion world. Although I’ve finally tossed my coin machine chokers and velvet scrunchies (okay, I held onto one purely for posterity), I had a feeling the more sophisticated components of grunge style would live to see another era.
An IIIBeCa by Joy Gryson backpack is practical, chic, and the perfect pop of color in a grungy summer outfit.
Heat creates an interesting dilemma for the grunge girl, who risks losing her toughness with each layer shed. What to do without the trusty leather jacket? The second-skin jeans? Rather than mourn the temporary seasonal loss of these things, I see summertime as the perfect opportunity to rediscover my inner badass. I say ditch the black beanie for a cool top knot and let’s get started!
First, plaid is a necessity. Swap out your flannels for a few lightweight plaid button-downs. RAILS is a good place to start. Pick a versatile style, and I swear you can wear it a new way every day of the week. Roll the sleeves, knot the hem, leave it open over a graphic tee, or tie it around your waist. Every bit of it is ’90s perfection.
Dress up denim with a cool Monserat De Lucca necklace, a Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry bracelet, and Italia Independent sunglasses.
Distressed denim is also key. Baggy and full-of-holes not only looks cool, but also allows for a nice breeze. A good pair of cutoff shorts, a pencil skirt, and a pair of boyfriend jeans should get you through the entire season, no problem. Plus, roughed-up denim can easily be dressed up with jewelry for less casual occasions. Trade the ’90s smiley faces and peace signs for much cooler crosses and skulls (here are my picks for best necklace, ring, and bracelet), and you’re good to go.
As for the shoe, it’s all about the chunky sole. Instead of pumps, reach for a bootie with a thick heel, and instead of flat sandals, opt for a pair with a platform. Though big black boots aren’t ideal in the heat, there’s no doubt they look amazing paired with a mini dress or high-waist shorts with white socks peeking out.
Maison Martin Margiela and Alexander Wang have tons of options for sophisticated-grungy boots, sneakers, and sandals.
Now on to my favorite part—backpacks. Most of my adult life has been spent waiting for them to become acceptable carryalls for young women. And now, thanks to this season’s crop of sophisticated packs, one can maintain elegance while sporting the style, as long as clear plastic straps are avoided (shoulder sweat alone makes this not okay). Opening Ceremony and Elizabeth and James have some amazing sling bags that are miraculously both rock concert- and office-ready.
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