Alternative Fashion Tips

The alternative fashion industry provides a way to dress without having to conform to mainstream conventions. There are literally hundreds of different styles and sub genres to choose from to suit any personality. This article provides tips on how you can start your alternative fashion journey and learn about the different looks on offer.



Born in the 50’s and 60’s, the rockabilly fashion style is nowadays considered “retro.” Classic icons include John Travolta in Grease, Elvis and Dolly Parton. The rockabilly style often contains pompadour haircuts, leather jackets and tight jeans. Classic women’s attire includes polka dot dresses, rockabilly skirts, high shorts and porcelain doll-esque makeup.


Punk rock style was birthed in the 70’s and stemmed from New York and London. Over the years the style has evolved into many different subgenres, including skate punk, punk pop, and goth punk. Within the punk moniker, every style has its own unique style guide which often differs greatly from another. Classic crossover elements include leather jackets, ripped jeans and Mohawk haircuts.


Grunge fashion started in Seattle in the 80’s; however, it wasn’t until Nirvana released Nevermind in the early 90’s that it became popular. Grunge fashion is perhaps the most “scruffy” fashion style of all. Common features include ripped jeans, flannel shirts and converse all-stars.


Gothic fashion is one of the most popular alternative styles and has even been featured on the catwalk by Vivian Westwood. The gothic fashion style is often made up of black and red. Most goths wear leather trenchcoats, high boots and dark makeup on a pale skin backdrop.


Emo style is arguably an offshoot of punk. It was popularised in the late 90’s and early 00’s and was a staple part of the mainstream for at least 5 years. Taking inspiration from goth, punk and grunge, the emo style is a hybrid that was shunned by many in the alternative scene.

Hybrid Styles

Throughout the years it’s not been uncommon for alternative fashion styles to mix and match. Many of them will take minor features from each other and present them in new ways. For example, the gothabilly style is a mixture of rockabilly and goth. While it retains the original 50’s and 60’s clothing, it adds dark makeup and leather into the equation.

About the Author

Josefine Andreasson regularly writes about alternative fashion and is in the process of starting her own rockabilly clothing store.