How to Create a Vintage Grunge Music Aesthetic

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In this post, we’ll show you how to create a vintage grunge music aesthetic. You’ll need to gather some supplies and have a few hours to devote to the project.

What is Grunge Music?

Grunge music is a genre of rock that emerged in the mid-1980s in the American state of Washington, particularly in the Seattle area. Grunge music is characterized by its dirtiness, its raw sound, and its unpolished aesthetic. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to create a vintage grunge music aesthetic.

The History of Grunge Music

Grunge music is a genre of rock music that emerged in the mid-1980s in the American state of Washington, particularly in the Seattle area. It is characterized by a heavy, distorted guitar sound, gritty vocals, and a generally dark and abrasive tone. Grunge music became hugely popular in the early 1990s, culminating in the release of Nirvana’s album Nevermind in 1991.

The genre was subsequently defined more clearly by other bands such as Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Grunge music was also often associated with a DIY ethic, as bands self-released their albums and promoted themselves through word-of-mouth rather than relying on major record labels.

Despite its popularity, grunge music was largely misunderstood by the mainstream media, who often attributed its dark themes to depression or nihilism. In reality, many grunge bands were simply writing about the struggles of everyday life in an honest and relatable way. Grunge music ultimately fell out of fashion in the late 1990s, but its influence can still be heard in many modern rock bands.

The Sound of Grunge Music

Grunge music is a style of rock that emerged in the mid-1980s and reached its height of popularity in the early 1990s. Grunge bands were characterized by their raw, unpolished sound, which was often achieved by distorted guitars, grungy lyrics, and a general disinterest in conventional pop music conventions. While grunge music was perhaps most popular in the Seattle area, where bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden got their start, it quickly spread to other parts of the United States and the world.

Creating a Vintage Grunge Music Aesthetic

Grunge music became popular in the early 1990s and was characterized by its DIY aesthetic, often with lo-fi production values. If you’re looking to create a vintage grunge music aesthetic, there are a few things you can do. First, start with the basics: get some distressed jeans, a flannel shirt, and a pair of Doc Martens.

Finding the Right Clothing

Achieving a vintage grunge music aesthetic requires more than simply throwing on a flannel shirt and ripped jeans. Like any other fashion style, nailing the look requires careful consideration of every detail, from the fabric of your clothing to the accessories you choose to finish off the ensemble.

To get started, consider raiding your local thrift store for some key pieces. A well-worn denim jacket or a pair of beat-up Doc Martens can go a long way in helping you achieve the desired look. When it comes to your clothing, look for items that are comfortable and easy to move in; after all, you’ll want to be able to dance the night away without being hindered by your clothing!

Once you’ve found some key clothing items, it’s time to focus on the details. Consider adding some patches or pins to your denim jacket or jeans; this will help give your look an authentic edge. And don’t forget about choosing the right accessories! A simple chain necklace or leather bracelet can add just the right amount of attitude to your ensemble.

Wearing the Right Makeup

The grunge music aesthetic is all about creating a look that is both DIY and stylish. One important element of this look is the right makeup. To get the grunge music look, start with a base of foundation or BB cream to even out your skin tone. Then, use a dark brown or black pencil eyeliner to create a smoky eye look. Line your lower lashes as well, and smudge the pencil liner with a brush to create a softer effect. Finish off your eyes with two coats of volumizing mascara.

For your lips, go for a matte finish in a dark color like burgundy or plum. If you want something more subdued, you can also try a nude lip color. Just make sure it has matte finish so it doesn’t look too shiny.

To complete your grunge music look, add some rouge to your cheeks for a pop of color. Then, style your hair in a messy bun or low ponytail and you’re good to go!

Listening to the Right Music

If you want to create a vintage grunge music aesthetic, you need to start by listening to the right music. There are a few key genres that will help you get the look and feel you’re going for.

First, start with some classic rock. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains will give you the foundation you need. From there, move on to grunge-influenced metal like Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots. And finally, add in some alternative rock from the 90s for good measure. Bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and Beck will round out your vintage grunge music collection nicely.

Of course, your music collection is just one part of creating a vintage grunge aesthetic. You’ll also need to pay attention to your fashion choices and the way you style your hair and makeup. But if you get the music right, you’ll be well on your way to nailing that perfect 1990s look.


Now that you know the basics of creating a vintage grunge music aesthetic, you can start experimenting with your own style. Remember to keep your look consistent by choosing a limited color palette and sticking to distressed, worn-out textures. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create a unique and evocative aesthetic that will set your music apart from the rest.

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