By Karlie Mickanuik

The term “alternative fashion” covers a broad spectrum of styles, such as grunge, emo, gothic and scene. A few other lesser-known styles that fall into alt are Lolita, vintage and hip-hop.

There are no “rules” to this way of dressing and a person who practices this style often has a signature look. The point of dressing alternatively is to show off your pop culture tastes, personality and the kinds of people you hang out with.

Alt fashion is an umbrella term for many styles, and this style has evolved over the years. While punk fashion became popular in the 70s, outfits with an industrial vibe found its place in the 90s, and now with the app Tik Tok taking over the internet we see the rise of E-boys and E-girls. Of course each style of alt fashion is not limited to one decade, and these styles often intermingle.

Outfit Ideas

If you’re looking to try modern alternative looks or just want to add a few new pieces to your wardrobe, these are a few tips, tricks and pieces to try out.

woman in skirt posing in front of colourful wall

Photo by Karlie Mickanuik

Edgy Royalty

This is an obvious addition to this list as every edgy king or queen needs this staple piece. Putting pins or patches on your jacket is a good way to let your personality show. Play with colours when it comes to your leather jackets to really make your outfit more noticeable.

Pleated skirts are a fun trend that can easily be incorporated into an edgier look. Top the outfit off with a pair of combat boots and you’ll look like an edgy princess. If you vibe with being more of an edgy prince, then swap out the skirt for a set of black jeans.

Man in led Zeppelin t-shirt holding skateboard

Photo by Karlie Mickanuik

So Many Layers

Layering your clothes is a recent trend in alternative fashion and can complete an outfit. Layering makes an outfit look thought out and put together.

Wearing a long sleeve turtleneck underneath your favourite band T-shirt is a great way to make the T-shirt pop. Wrap a flannel around your waist as an accessory to add some dimension to the outfit. Try neutral colours for long sleeves, such as black, grey and white, to add to the edginess of the look or play around with a colourful longsleeve. There are no rules to fashion. This look also remains gender-neutral.

woman in plaid pants and red leather jacket poses in bathroom mirror

Photo by Karlie Mickanuik

P.P.P (Plaid Punk Pants)

Plaid pants are versatile and can be paired with multiple outfits. These pants can be worn in an office setting with a blazer and can easily be adapted to a punk rock look. Add a pair of combat boots and ditch the blazer for a leather jacket and the outfit changes. Plaid pants also come in tons of colours, ranging from grey to red to yellow. There are so many possibilities when styling plaid pants to be creative and try some new colours and looks. Alternative fashion is all about expressing yourself.

The Impact

Alt fashion is often prone to stigmatization, and stereotypes of those in the alternative scene. For example, some people may see a person dressing gothic and assume they are a violent person. This is of course not the case for the large majority of people in this scene.

A large part of a person’s identity within the alternative community comes down to music taste. Dressing like a certain genre of music is a way to express that you are proud to listen to non-mainstream music. This can also create a silent recognition between others who dress similarly. Without even speaking to one another, individuals noticeably share something in common.