Grunge Decade Makes Comeback

Joelle Nelson, News Editor

We’ve all seen it lately- the flannel, the crop tops, the chokers and the combat boots. All these trends that originated in the grunge era of the 90’s have made their way back into the modern mainstream. But are fashion moguls just taking advantage of this fad to sell more expensive items without actually designing anything new?

  1. Chokers- Probably the most famous old-school trendy statement, chokers are marketed by retailers as a luxury item into the $1000s (See: Shay’s Baguette Grosgrain Choker, $3,045). The style was popularized by millionaire celebrities like Rihanna and Gigi Hadid. Vogue featured chokers from $9-1,375 in March 2016, calling for a 90’s throwback. However, in the real 90’s, these necklaces were plastic and could be sold in toy vending machines at grocery stores for a quarter. It seems like designers have just hopped on the choker bandwagon to make more money rather than for the sake of nostalgia.
  2. Crop Top- It’s made the cover of every girl’s magazine, ever. The crop tops is a recent innovation in the West, originating in the 40’s wartime fabric conservation effort (along with the bikini). However, older styles were more conservative than they are today, because they were paired with a high waist to avoid showing any midriff. In 1945, a woman was fined for wearing shorts and a halter crop top in public! So, although technically unoriginal, this style has been re-imagined so much it doesn’t really resemble its predecessors. Plus, Forever 21 sells it pretty cheap. Designers deserve credit for taking it in a new direction.
  3. Flannel-Everyone has seen one person wearing flannel today, guaranteed. This wardrobe essential was invented in the 1700’s to be durable and warm, and later became part of the 9o’s “grunge” look because it was associated with anti-conformity. Kinda ironic that a symbol of individuality and the working class is now worn by everyone and sold by Ralph Lauren and Burberry (See: Burberry’s Check Cotton Cashmere Flannel Shirt, $595), but that’s just the way the fashion world works. The shirts, synonymous with artists like Nirvana, have since only changed their demographic. So no, flannel isn’t original. Designers took a symbol of rebellion and made it mainstream.
  4. Combat Boots- Obviously, these originated from combat, when soldiers used to wear them not to look good but to survive war. They became part of popular fashion in the 90’s after their previous role in the goth and punk fads of the 70’s. Some people are willing to spend hundreds for a vintage pair, though they can be purchased at virtually any military surplus store (See: Sportsman’s Guide Military Surplus Store). They deserve their high price tag though, as most combat boots are designed to be durable, so they have to be made from high-quality materials. Are they used by fashion designers to make more money? That’s hard to say.

Although it’s understandable to want to dress like they did in the 90’s, to somehow bring back the days of a presidential administration that actually made sense, don’t be fooled into thinking your outfit is a perfect throwback. Be aware of the marketing tricks thrown at you from all directions, and wear whatever makes you comfortable.