Alternative Girlfriend: How to Embrace the ’90s Grunge Trend…in Moderation

One mopey glance at Hedi Slimane’s fall/winter collection for Saint Laurent—neo-chubby sweaters, slinky slips, and, yes, plaids—is all it takes to see that Empire Records–era style is alive and well. (Givenchy and Edun also subscribe to the slacker aesthetic.) But before you pillage the local Goodwill and channel Kurt Cobain, remember that this nouveau grunge trend is less about time travel and more about integrating early-’90s wardrobe staples into an otherwise current, high-fashion context. So trade the shapeless baby-doll shifts of yore for a dress with of-the-moment sharp pleats and layer on an oversize leather-tipped sweater. Top it off with a slouchy knit cashmere cap, tough yet polished boots (no Dr. Martens, please), and matte wine lips for a look that’s downtown cool, not disaffected. In other words, we love the ’90s…in moderation.


Photograph by Toan Trinh. Styling by Sabrina Strelitz/Anchor Artists. Model, Christine/Click. Hair and makeup styling by Maryelle O’Rourke/Team.

Elder Statesman cashmere hat
$275, Louis.

Lee Angel gold-plated brass necklace
$197, Neiman Marcus.

Yigal Azrouël wool-blend sweater with leather
$790, Gretta Luxe.

Alexander Wang “Rockie” leather bag
$795, Neiman Marcus.

Proenza Schouler silk dress
$1,450, Louis.

Commando tights
$35, Wish.

Tabitha Simmons “Harley” leather boots
$1,295, Saks Fifth Avenue.

Plus, check out five edgy studded boots that were made for stomping around the city.