"People listen to music for different reasons. Some people, -its background music— but other people need it to survive. Other people need music to get things out and maybe that’s just where I’m coming from, you know, when things weren’t easy for me, growing up. You know, music, I felt, saved my life. Pete Townshend, wherever you are, Pete, you saved my life.” - Eddie Vedder, grunge music and fashion icon
The sun has been shining which can only mean one thing: summer is on its way (if you're in the UK, it's important to take this with a pinch of salt, of course). And if you're a left-field, alternative soul with an aversion to loafers, chinos and fitted polo shirts, you’ll no doubt want to wear clothes that are light and practical without losing your identity.
Now, grunge is known for its radical, loose-fitting, heavily layered brand of anti-fashion. But with the sun on its way, it might be time to ditch the chunky knitwear and big jeans for a while and expose those arms and legs to a healthy dose of vitamin D.
To help you stay grunge while staying cool (we mean that in a literal sense), here is our quick guide on how to do summer grunge style.
Key Grunge Fashion Characteristics
At its core, the most fundamental element of grunge fashion is that grunge, by its very nature, rebels against fashion: it's distinctive because it doesn't care about trends, tones, clashing and matching. It simply is what it is, and that's a beautiful thing.
That said, as a result of this attitude to aesthetics, since its incarnation in late 80s Seattle, striking Grunge fashion characteristics have become apparent.
Classic grunge fashion items consist of ripped, torn and time faded jeans (loose fitting), flannel shirts or big woollen knits - often Pendleton (a Seattle-based knitwear company) - slapped on top of muffled T-shirts and black combat-style boots such as Dr Martens.
As you will by now know, Grunge fashion often comes in layers, but in the searing heat of the summer sun, that just won't do.
To strip back while maintaining an authentic grunge look, the best thing to do is don a worn, loose-fitting tank top or vest. It could be band related, it could sport an ironic logo or it could just be plain with the odd rip or tear - as long as its unique, authentic and loose fitting, it will look the part.
And, as mentioned in our Pearl Jam dress guide, a hat - a la Jeff Ament - makes for a fitting grunge addition for the summer months. Again, a knitted hat will probably melt your cranium, so perhaps a trucker-style baseball cap or traditional flat cap will do the trick. You decide.
While the vast majority of grunge icons wore big, loose-fitting jeans or cargo pants, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder was renowned for his knee-length shorts.
To achieve your ultimate summer grungy look, cutting a less beloved pair or denim jeans or cargo pants to your knee is an excellent option; you could even sew or iron on band patches will give your outfit an extra individual touch of grunge excellence.
But, if you don’t fancy completely butchering a perfectly good (albeit, a little worn) pair of pants, you should grab yourself a pair of baggy cargo shorts, worn out, faded chino shorts or denim skate shorts, finished off with a pocket chain.
While it’s more than acceptable to don a pair of chunky DM-style boots in the summer, if you want to put yours into hibernation for a month or so, a pair of robust sports trainers, Converse-style high tops or skate shoes will make the perfect complement to your summer grunge look.
Tip: If you grab yourself a plain pair of canvas high tops, you can customise them with iron-on patches, marker pens, stick on studs and band badges to make them is grunge-like as humanly possible. Doing so will also showcase your grunge preferences and allow your personality to shine through - so do get creative - the sky’s the limit.
And if you’d like to dress up any part of your summer grunge look, when it comes to accessories - the sky really is the limit. You'll know what to choose - your summer grunge accessories will help to showcase your grunge-loving identity, after all.
"It's like, what happened, I was always leading fashion, and then the grunge thing kind of came along. And because I've been so on top in the '80s you know, I, you know, what can I do? Suddenly go grunge?" - Billy Idol
Grunge is all about self-expression, throwing caution to the wind and sticking it to the man. The sun may force you to strip down your look (or melt), but if you follow these RebelsMarket grunge fashion tips, stay true to yourself and customise your look to suit your personality, you will look and feel tip-top top for the whole summer - keep on rocking.
What's your go-to look for a summer grunge style?