The grunge aesthetic has undergone a massive revival in recent years. What’s remarkable about this particular revival, especially considering how so many old fashion trends have resurfaced, is that it is a huge departure from the original style. Furthermore, it’s fair to say that Korean grunge outfits that you may have noticed also differ greatly from their Western counterparts.
While Korean street fashion and dark concepts are no novelty in the country’s fashion scene, the grunge aesthetic manages to merge some of the two styles’ basic principles. Black ensembles, edginess, and a combination of feminine and masculine along with an elegant and rebellious dichotomy. If western grunge fashion is all about grit and gloominess, the Korean grunge scene is a vehicle for self-expression and defiance.
Today, we’ll be digging a little deeper into this particular fashion phenomenon. And of course, providing you with more than enough Korean grunge aesthetic outfits to draw inspiration from.
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While most fashion trends are typically subject to personal interpretation, there are a few styles that seem to unite like-minded people, with similar views of the world around them, similar likes, dislikes, and even dispositions. Within the Korean fashion sphere, one’s style tends to give you an accurate impression of their personality, or rather what one wishes to disclose to the world.
For the grunge aesthetic, in particular, it’s fair to assume that the wearer is someone who doesn’t settle for ordinary standards, who seeks to explore beyond their comfort zone. It’s not coincidental that the style is most popular among young adults in their 20s, who are either in college or figuring out what they’d like to do after graduating that stage.
As you’ll see, the new interpretations of the aesthetic borrow from original staples, like plaid and leather, but also other returning trends such as Y2K and rocker chic.
Korean grunge outfits can fall into a subcategory of the much-beloved Korean street style. The first principle you may notice is the common all-black ensembles, made less boring by playing with silhouettes and accessorizing with chains and belts.
Another great staple for the trend seems to be ripped denim and cut-outs, often layered over sheer, patterned, or fishnet tights. As for the gentlemen, joggers with buckles, high-waisted slacks, and harem-inspired pants seem to be among the most common bottom options.
There seems to be a big admiration for athletic pieces, be it for comfort or as a way to balance the outfit’s proportions. Sweaters, joggers, and windbreakers are some examples. But it should be noted that these are often altered and accessorized, helping to elevate the look from an otherwise casual ensemble.
When it comes to graphic prints, band t-shirts are still very much a go-to. But the younger generation has also shown a bias for anime imagery and seems to be more concerned about the overall aesthetic than displaying popular brand logos.
Regardless, the grunge trend as by Korean standards is quite versatile and easily adapted to one’s preferences. Feminine looks are just as prevalent as masculine ones, and because the color palette is so limited, it’s fairly easy to put together multiple outfits with only a few pieces.
Below you will find a few Korean grunge aesthetic outfits worn by influencers and celebs that you can replicate or draw inspiration from.
This first outfit is a great example of a simple yet impactful, masculine all-black look. A matte black windbreaker worn over thin fabric pants, complete with a pair of chunky high boots.
The next look worn by the incredible Sunmi is a great example of how to incorporate a bit color into grunge looks. She chose a pink sweater that matches her bright pink hair, tiny black shorts, and an impressive pair of laced-up leather boots.
Bonus tip: try adding some fishnet or sheer tights if completely bare legs aren’t your thing.
For those who love layering (or need to bundle up because of the cold temperatures), Stray Kids’ Felix showed us the blueprint for a warm grunge outfit. A black turtleneck tucked into leather pants, chunky lace-up boots, and a sleek black cardigan. Beanie optional!
The fabulous Taeyeon flawlessly exemplified the Y2K influences that the Korean grunge aesthetic borrows from with her Avril Lavigne-inspired Halloween outfit. The best thing about it’s easily replicated, with just a few necessary add-ons. A cropped graphic tea, leather jeans, black boots, and just enough chains and studded accessories.
Ateez’s Hongjoong is the absolute Kpop king of the Korean grunge aesthetic scene. There is no shortage of great outfit examples that show up when you look up his name. But for the sake of easy reproduction, we’ve picked one of the simplest ones he’s worn. After all, can’t go wrong with an all-black look, complete with a leather jacket, leather boots, and a nice beret because why not?
Are you a fan of this aesthetic? Let us know which of these Korean grunge outfits you liked best, and if you’ll try to replicate one of them. And if you’re missing a few staple pieces, you know we’ve got you covered!
Have fun dressing up!