Grunge is Dead But That’s Kind of the Point, Right?

I miss the 90’s. Every. F@#$ing. Day. I miss shirt dresses and Dr. Martens (Doc M. is the only physician I trust with my life). I miss Kurt Cobain, Biggie Smalls and Berry Berry Kix when the ‘berry berry’ pieces were still shaped like little bunches of grapes. I miss not washing my hair, wearing copious layers in the bitter Detroit winter, and passing it off as a legitimate style. Grunge, why have you forsaken me?

Grunge as I knew it is dead, which is perfectly fine because grunge would want it that way. In point of fact, grunge is so dead it’s beginning to smell. Which means it’s probably time to start wearing it again…


From left to right: Dries Van Noten, Saint Laurent, Marc By Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood

1) Light a Candle for Your Flannel.

I really can’t stress this enough, especially as an underweight, anemic Detroiter; flannel is the skin I wish I’d been born with. With its radical plaid patterns, fit for a pancake-snarfing lumberjack, and its snuggly-soft propensity for making me sweat while sitting in a deer blind in November (it can’t all be from the bourbon), flannel is a staple regardless of time or trend. Summertime grunge suggests you tie a flannel around your hips. Michigan winter grunge demands that you wear your flannel proudly over a thermal… And maybe tie another one around your hips just in case… And perhaps stuff a back-up in your purse…it is cold as shit here.

If you’re trying to maintain a shred of femininity, or to continue to be taken seriously as an adult (but why?!), the best and brightest alternative to the flannel is a pop of plaid strategically placed in your outfit. I’ve found a mid-length a-line plaid skirt works well for meeting the mother of your boyfriend, as well as other such sober-good-time outings. For a more professional look it’s perfectly accepted, and even encouraged, to don a good old-fashioned plaid blazer, preferably with elbow patches. Nothing says, “I’m being forced to try to give a shit despite my current level of acid use” like a plaid blazer with elbow patches. It doesn’t matter how unkept the rest of your look is, you throw that baby on, and they’ll probably give you a lecture room in the philosophy department of your local university.

FRAME Le Color Rip Skinny Jeans

FRAME Le Color Rip Skinny Jeans

2) Exorcise your Denims.

Just like with exorcising spirits, exorcising your jeans begins with making them as hole-y has possible. You guys…I’m hilarious. Luckily, ripped and distressed denim has not only become fashion forward but is widely accepted as appropriate attire for adults nowadays. As opposed to the boyfriend fit, boot cut, and high-waisted jeans of the 90’s, opt for skinny jeans or jeggings, like the FRAME Le Color Rip Skinny Jeans, with this look. Shredded skinnies with a blazer are so on point, you don’t even need to fit a genre to wear ‘em, you just need a cell phone with enough space for all those digits you’ll be getting. Conversely, keeping with the grunge attitude, tight shredded denim paired with a flannel shirt confidently snaps “I’m not even trying and we both know you wanna f@#$ me.” 

For those of you who simply can’t stand to slash, opt for jeans in a light or acid wash. Or stick with dark, angry black denim.


Classic high top Converse.

3) Seek Out the Lost Soles

I have a fantasy about two men. Both of them spend hours, sweating, going over every detail, trying to please me.

Doctor Marten,” I whisper. “Chuck Taylor,” I purr.  “You both fit so well.”

Whether boots are your booty or trashed Converse are your treasure, you’re quite welcome in this grunge-love triangle. For work meetings (nap time) or weddings (don’t you judge me!), shiny, black, leather combat boots are the grown-up grunge girl’s go-to footwear. However, DO NOT, ever, EVER, forget about your Converse. They were there, mixed in with our jelly shoes and barbie dolls in the hot mess of our girlhood closets. They were there, strapped to our stumbling feet at our first kegger. They were there for our first break-up and our last final exam. This love goes way beyond any affection for a subculture or a decade. Converse are a way of life. Wear them. Ruin them. And then keep wearing them. Remember: Dirtbags belong on your feet, not in your beds, ladies!


Beauty at Diane Von Furstenberg SS13

4) Smudging

While grunge would suggest a total lack of effort, and therefore makeup, I just don’t get down with the bare faced movement. Still, grunge style makeup is meant to look like you washed away all your f@#$s last time you showered. Welcome back, bed-head, I missed you and all of our naps together. Messy hair and smudged eyeliner suggest that maybe you didn’t go home last night, without going so far as to suggest that maybe you’re homeless. You can obviously afford luxuries like eyeliner and pomade, but you’re so preoccupied doing awesome, late-night things you just haven’t found the time to reapply either of them. A little black eyeliner and some texturizing spray does quite well in the way of making men wonder if you’re going to kiss them or kill them.

So, when deadlines, meetings, responsibilities, and suggested sobriety between the hours of 2am and 5pm begin to get the best of you: Throw on some Nirvana, throw back some PBR’s and raise the dead.

Katherine Vergin is a Detroit based model, singer, writer and entrepreneurship student. She has always had an interest in the obscure sub-cultures of fashion, music and pop culture. Previously a featured contributor for the comic-book website, Katherine also currently operates a number of personal blogs. She can be found on Twitter, Instagram and her blogs and

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