"You know, rock stardom... I have a hard time discussing that because I don't really accept it. It's not really that tangible. What's really bizarre is how it's used as a thing - you know, 'He's the rock star of politics,' 'He's the rock star of quarterbacks' - like it's the greatest thing in the world." - Eddie Vedder, lead vocals
Out of all of the grunge heroes that emerged from the original Seattle scene in the late 80s and early 90s, Pearl Jam - along with Nirvana - is perhaps the best-known. And for a good reason: they're an incredible band.
The origins of Pearl Jam are rooted firmly in the veins of the authentic Seattle grunge scene. Not only were two of Pearl Jam's founding also members of seminal early-grunge act Green River, but they were also responsible for the birth of Mother Love Bone.
These two legendary musos, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, eventually branched out in pursuit of a new musical adventure, which eventually led them to recruit then San Diego-based singer and lyricist, Eddie Vedder. The rest, as they say, is history.
Despite being huge in the 90s and helping to popularise grunge music, the band are still hugely relevant today - and the main reason for this is Pearl Jam's ability to adapt, experiment and move swiftly with the times.
Glancing back to the 90s for a moment, besides the amazing music, Pearl Jam was also known for its striking take on the grunge fashion style. And that’s what we're going to explore.
So, without further ado, we’re going to show you how to create that quintessential 90s Pearl Jam look in three simple steps.
Step 1: The Torso
"Little secrets, tremors turned to quake / The smallest oceans still get big, big waves." - Pearl Jam, Tremor Christ
Grunge was all about big chunky knits, loose fitting jeans and a generally free, easy and self-expressive aesthetic.
The members of Pearl Jam represented this look in spades, but what they are best known for fashion-wise are their ironic t-shirts and distinctive flannel shirts.
A black or white t-shirt perhaps sporting a satirical spin on a well-known logo or subversive quote will do the trick. And dressing it with a great padded flannel shirt will give you that authentic 90s Pearl Jam look.
Tip: Tying your flannel shirt will give you that all-out 90s Eddie Vedder look.
Step 2: The legs
When it comes to sporting that iconic 1990s Pearl Jam-inspired grunge look, worn, loose-fitting denim is critical. Not only this, but Eddie and the guys were also renowned for wearing knee-length denim or cargo shorts to complement their flannel shirts and ironic tees.
There's plenty of scope here to personalise the look of your middle section, with bleached stains, rips, tears, unusual colour schemes and pretty much anything else you can think of - so get creative.
Tip: By buying sew on patches for your jeans or shorts, you can really achieve a 90s grunge look that is tailored to you and your personality.
Step 3: The top and the toes
"So, I just kind of played the way I played and then eventually we kind of figured out what worked best for the band. So, I definitely changed my stuff up and I think we're playing really tight now." Matt Cameron, drums
Now, we've arrived at the feet, but while we're here, we're going boomerang back and talk a little about the head too.
For the authentic 90s Pearl Jam look, a pair of half-tied DM style or steel toe cap worker boots with white socks pulled up above the tops are a must. Worker type boots come in many wonderful colours, shapes and sizes, so there’s plenty to choose from - you’ll look great too.
Now, the head, and this is optional. If you don’t have or you're not planning on growing your hair way down your back, you could finish your outfit off with a striking hat. This could be a baseball cap, it could even be a Fez hat.
Tip: If you suit hats, or you’re into hats, grabbing a piece of Jeff Ament-style headwear will not only turn heads, but it will make you stand out from the crowd in an undeniable way. Oh, and Jeff has recently been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so he’s the real deal.
"With Pearl Jam, everybody is so good at what they do, it's hard to get up the courage to say, Can I sing this part, or, I want to play the guitar. I feel like I have more courage to do that." - Jeff Ament
Pearl Jam was one of the coolest 90s grunge bands ever, and we hope this quick guide has offered you the inspiration you need to get the look you've always dreamed of. If you’re all revved up and ready to become the band member Pearl Jam never had, we have a huge range of great grunge garments for your browsing pleasure.
And don't forget: Rock and roll will never die.
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