goth woman leans against wall of what looks like an abandoned building

Goth or Grunge: Does It Even Really Matter?

Who cares whether you are goth or grunge? Furthermore does anything really matter?

In 2017 the rules for goth and grunge have evolved to be more adaptive to individual tastes. The availability of online shopping and new technology for playing multimedia means that both goths and grunge fans have more options. You can add any word to goth and it will make sense. For example there is health goth, grunge goth, pastel goth, techno goth, cyber goth and of course goth goth.

You can tell from the following fashion spreads that modern goth grunge is actually a hybrid of 80’s goth and 90’s grunge.

80’s Goth Look Book

In the 80s goth kids wore leather jackets and dyed their hair black. They had to wear all black clothes ordered out of special catalogs that came in the mail, and make their own jewelry from dog collars and safety pins. The PVC or vinyl skirt over black fishnets was a popular look for women. The best technology available for playing music was called a ghettoblaster, which featured a cassette tape player.

80s goth outfit idea inspiration

Absidem Leather Choker with Swarovski Pendant ($94), Aldo Shoes Fragneto Oversized Fishnet Stockings ($12), American Vintage Cotton Tank ($29), Charlotte Russe Caged Floral Lace Bralette ($12.99), Factory Direct Jewelry Sterling Silver Black Onyx Rosary Beaded Gold Plated Necklace ($129.99), Mango Leather Biker Jacket ($249), Pilot PVC Belted Mini Skirt in Black ($24), Sharp GF-9191 Ghettoblaster Boombox (vintage), Rave 4X Mega Unscented Hairspray with ClimaShield ($2), Tarte Maneater Liquid Eyeliner ($20), Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in Hex ($20) and Vice Lipstick in Disturbed ($17).

90’s Grunge Look Book

By the 1990’s “goth” was commercialized by Madonna. So the cool kids had to go back to not caring about clothes. Nineties grunge is epitomized by the alternative music of the time, especially Nirvana. The thing to do was to spend all your money on CD’s for your Sony Discman. There was no way to look up a song by a single lyric on your sweet Macintosh TV. Back then a grunge person would not have admitted to liking the Spice Girls, but in 2017 they are a cult classic.

90s grunge outfit idea inspiration

BeOne Round Women’s Sunglasses ($12), Converse Chuck II Reflective Poly Knit High Top ($90), Fashion Kawaii Plaid Hooded Coat ($27), Hollister High-Rise Super Skinny Jeans ($59.95), LA Hearts Tattoo and Flower Choker Pack ($12.95), KM Tee Spice Girls 90s T-shirt ($24.95), Sony Discman CD Compact Player (vintage), Macintosh TV LD50 (vintage).

Grunge Goth (Circa 2010’s)

In 2017 goth and grunge have merged to become a full fledged street fashion trend. The styles incorporates many elements of previous decades, including leather chokers, fishnet stockings, liquid eyeliner, round sunglasses and studded accessories. Plus new innovations like body glitter, lipstick in colors other than red and graphic prints rendered digitally, which is easier than screen printing.

As usual most major retailers are slow to catch on to a subculture until it has become completely burnt out by the man. But a lot of indie designers sell their designs on content aggregate websites. Others prefer to show off how goth grunge they are on social media. You can listen to any music in the world on your smartphone or laptop. And every hour of every day a musician releases a new song.

goth grunge outfit idea inspiration

Apple iPhone 7 and Macbook Pro (it depends), Berkshire Sheer Fishnet Pantyhose ($11), Betsey Johnson Two-Tone Open Heart Black Leather Choker Necklace ($38), GCDS High Waisted Shorts ($123), Honey Couture LILLY Black Cross Over Bandage Crop Top ($95.90), Jeffrey Campbell Scorpious Booties ($199.95), KILLSTAR Pentagram Over the Knee Socks ($15), Lancôme Artliner Precision Point Liquid Eyeliner ($30.50), MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Heroine ($17.50) and Metallic Lipstick in Foiled Rose ($17.50), Quay Last Dance Mirrored Round Cat Eye Sunglasses ($65), Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit ($45), TrashCosmetics Y2-Konfettie Loose Glitter ($10), Unicorn Lashes Pixie Wisp Lashes ($28).

Popular music and current fashion trends come hand in hand. Before going goth grunge be sure to check out the relevant music on Spotify, YouTube, Mixcloud or Google Play. What a time to be alive.

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Elizabeth de Moya has contributed to DJ Mag, DJ TechTools, LA Weekly and Thump (Vice). She has a BA in Linguistics from UC Berkeley.