Grunge Renaissance

There’s a school of thought that dictates if you’re old enough to remember a trend at it’s genesis, then you’re too old to wear it again.  I had believed this to be a sound principle, until I got old enough for the fashion merry-go-round to complete a full cycle within my lifetime.  Alas, I’ve now reached an age where a look of my youth has regenerated, and every trendy youngster worth their salt is wearing the threads of my early teenage years.  I’m referring to the renaissance of grunge; checked shirts self consciously tide around the waist bands of ripped jeans, doc martins,  dungarees, chipped nail varnish, and baggy Nirvana t-shirts with the arms slashed off were de rigueur as I was teetering on the precipice adolescence.  

Nirvana: photo courtesy of Bestsoylatte.blogspot.co.uk
Nirvana: photo courtesy of Bestsoylatte.blogspot.co.uk

I, like every other teenage girl knew, was obsessed with My So Called Life, the US TV show with Claire Danes that encapsulated the angst and excruciating awkwardness that accompanies adolescence.  The signature look from the show is being emulated in by the cool kids who populate street style blogs.

My So Called Life: photo courtesy of tabayag.com
My So Called Life: photo courtesy of tabayag.com

The angst sodden look of my teens reared it’s unbrushed head on the runways – Hedi Slimane’s A/W13 was a nostalgic ode to the tortured souls of the who festooned the bedrooms of teenagers in the 90’s.

Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com
Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com
Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com
Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com
Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com
Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com
Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com
Saint Laurent A/W13: Photo courtesy of Style.com

The Saint Laurent collection wasn’t especially original, but what it lacked in newness it made up for in moody, scruffy (yet oh so appealing) insolence.  This is a look that’s roots are in teenage rebellion and never looking too ‘done’; the formality of evening wear is undermined with utilitarian pieces, the delicate prettiness of baby doll dresses are counterbalanced with heavy, made-for-walkin’ boots.

Despite the fact that I’m WAY to old to be acting like a rebellious teenager, there’s a nostalgic brilliance about this look that’s highly seductive.  The combination of elegance and dishevelment means that you never have to worry about looking over dressed.  The 90’s was a good time to be a teenager; artful dishevelment was very much a part of the zeitgeist.  I wouldn’t go back to being an insecure teenager for all the tea in China, however there are principles of grunge dressing that I apply apply as an adult; don’t be afraid to contrast something dressed up with something casual, always contrast fabrics and never, ever, look like you’ve tried too hard – even if you have.