There’s a sense in which the cleverest thing about grunge was the fashion

A little while back, during a visit to HMV, I happened to catch a giant poster for Pearl Jam and whatever album they were pushing at the time. They were standing in the woods, wearing jeans, t-shirts and flannel. They all would have been in their early forties at the time, and not to be unkind, but they looked their age.

But you know what? They looked good. To put it another way, they didn’t look stupid. They were technically still dressed in the grunge style that the world rushed to adopt and market back in the early nineties. But the reason groups like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Mudhoney and so on dressed that way was because those were their everyday clothes.

Twenty years later, and twenty years older, the guys in Pearl Jam can and do wear the same clothes as they did in their early days, without any pretense and without coming off like they’re trying to look young. There aren’t many “enduring” acts out there who can say that, and there aren’t many popular genres that allow for it.

Do you think the guys in Mötley Crüe really want to wear those leather pants all the time? Do you think Steven Tyler never has lazy days where he feels like putting on a t-shirt and sweatpants and ignoring his closet full of scarves altogether? And what about Madonna? Not only is she obliged to have a “look,” but she’s also got to come up with a new one every six months!

But not Pearl Jam. To them and their peers, I extend a hearty “Good job.” Way to plan ahead, guys!

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One Response to “There’s a sense in which the cleverest thing about grunge was the fashion”

  1. jason says:

    PJ gets away with wearing the same thing for a couple of decades because, frankly, what they were wearing wasn’t that outrageous. Spandex, scarves and pointy bras are outrageous, which means their shelf life is dictated by the fickle nature of fashion.

    Flannel, on the other hand, like diamonds, is forever.