The Grunge Attitude: Teenage Girlhood and the 90s Revival

The 1990s are back and, arguably, better than ever. Much to the dismay of countless parents, a curious multitude of cultural and fashion ideals of origin exceeding two decades ago have returned stronger and more prevalent. From tattoo chokers to striped sweaters, mom jeans to leather jackets, such icons including Angelina Jolie and Kathleen Hanna certainly continue to possess a certain vitality in their effortless impact. The revival has been gradual and seamless, solely composed of individual items forming a conglomerate resurrection of grunge and teenage girlhood. Is it the ‘90s attitude we seek to own? A careless means of ‘I’m pretending I don’t care’? 

The Craft is only one example of such a dire means to appear reckless. Teenage witches fighting to increase their power while maintaining high school careers is definitely the coolest thing ever, no argument required. Pleated skirts and studded chokers only further the look, creating a mood of dark energy so often desired in a contemporary sense. The emphasis on gothic edge is not accidental, nor is it to be dismissed. 

On the contrary, an unruly femininity consisting of fluff and headbands can be found within ‘90s pop culture just as often. An utter classic, Clueless provides a flawless illustration of what it means to be visually striking. Alicia Silverstone’s array of thigh highs and fuzzy sweaters can only be described as an inspiration. Throughout the film, protagonist Cher Horowitz alone experiences more than sixty costume changes. Her mastery of exemplifying femininity in a manner both confident and savvy is impressive, to say the least. 

Outfits from both Clueless and The Craft undeniably hold an influence in modern culture’s reinstatement of the late twentieth century. Jellies, scrunchies, and flannels are only a small portion of the various pieces forming the modish puzzle.  It is vital to note that this movement did not end in film. As female-fronted rock bands such as Babes in Toyland, Hole, and Bikini Kill explored the complexity in visual representation, a clear wave of change was blatantly developing. Classic femininity and hard rock were fusing together, allowing its witnesses to join the grunge movement themselves. The females in these groups provided a remarkable illustration of the ‘90s attitude that is so desperately desired today. If it were not for such bands, as well as contemporary films’ portrayal of girlhood, perhaps we would not continue to obsess over the grunge outlook. What is more feminine: baby pink and pom-pom earrings or the rebellion in wearing what you want? And why not both? The 1990s were an era of internal debate as such questions sought to find resolve. The fashion holds, though, in its timeless means of making a statement that provokes both thought and empowerment.

text and visuals: olivia ferrucci
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1 comment

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