Alternative Clothing – Styles and Trends – Fashion

alternative clothing trendsAlternative fashion has always been different and it is this uniqueness which has made it attractive to many people. Alternative clothing covers fashions of subcultures including those of, but not limited to, grunge, steampunk, goth, street, hipster, and punk. Generally, alternative fashion means non-conformity to trends in style of the current time that have widespread popularity.

This clothing style can be an extreme attention getter and has come to be more artistic than it is practical to wear. Why has it been extremely popular? Mainly because this style developed largely from sentiments which focused on utilitarian drives that were simply based on comfort for the wearer and availability and affordability of the merchandise for the user.

Expressing Who You Are

From slightly askew to extremely shocking, alternative clothes do not have the mass appeal that commercial fashion evokes in the consumer public. Alternative fashion is not only an expression for its advocates to show disinterest in society’s moral order; it is a revolt of some sorts against social class and societal structure. It is defiant against behavior restrictions and mass production.

Many of those who wear alternative fashion do not even identify in actuality with any or all of the concepts associated with it. This is because there are, literally, hundreds of subcultures of alternative fashion and which have corresponding styles to go with them. The one thing all these subcultures and styles have in common, however, is that they are all about expressing who the wearer is.

Styles of Alternative Fashion

Alternative fashion allows the wearer to decide what he/she wants to wear instead of being dictated upon to don what is mainstream clothing. Regardless of whether one’s reasons are spiritual based, preferences for comfort or economical, alternative fashion does not force the wearer to fit into any category. What the individual chooses to wear may not be what everybody else is wearing but, then again, that is precisely the point.

To give you an idea of what alternative fashion is all about, here are several styles of this type of clothing (not necessarily in the order they were mentioned in a previous paragraph):


This style has been influenced largely by rhythm and blues (R & B) and hip hop music. It puts a twist on RTW (ready-to-wear) because it mixes both low- and high-end items effortlessly. Also known as urban chic, street fashion is seen most often in major urban locations and associated most with the youth culture. It is prevalent in Japan where it often influences mainstream fashion.

Candid photos of young people are regularly featured by Elle magazine and The New York Times in which they are wearing everyday clothing – baseball caps, sneakers, drainpipe trousers, and drape jackets, to name a few – that are all suitable for city life. The extra bling – mirrored or cat’s eye sunglasses, bags with contrasting tassels, and Chinese-inspired smoking jackets – which the wearer puts on is what makes it different.



Eclectic personalities ride bicycles, have park picnics and coffee chats, watch independent films, buy artisan ice cream, and wear hipster style clothing. Men are inclined to wear pants that are leg hugging while women don skinny jeans, high waist shorts or leggings. Hipster fashion includes v-neck t-shirts, plaid blazers or jackets, shirts that depict images of forests, childhood characters, and animals, and scarves.

A hipster puts on his mesh shirt under a rumpled buttondown made from oxford cloth, throws on a Schott Perfecto, Dior denim, and Rick Owens sneakers and goes out for lunch or dinner looking like a mash-up. What is interesting, though, is that the natural hipster, unlike most of us, manages to look decent in whatever he puts on and calls wardrobe; that’s probably why living outside the mainstream is the hipster’s way of life.


This style is all about expressing yourself, sort of like the hipster but edgier. Think of the 50s where fitted t-shirts, motorcycle jackets, and greases were all over own. Punk is carefree that has a “don’t-mess-around-with-me” attitude expressed with bronze skulls, gold snakes, and silver spikes with some neon colors and checked patterns thrown in as layers or separates.


Leather, top hats, corsets, top hats, gears, and bustle skirts make up steampunk style, a mash-up of futuristic elements, Victorian details, and reinvention of steam. Steampunk clothing has unique enhancements not available in other types of alternative style clothing such as complicated contraptions for buttoning or zippering up and secret compartments in unusual places like the back of the neckline.


Seattle fashion has given wearers of grunge clothing a chance to channel Kurt Cobain and circa 1992 with Doc Martens, plaid buttondown shirts, oversized skirts, and floral dresses. Grunge is comfortable dressing, albeit often excessively. Plus size alternative clothing is synonymous to grunge with boyfriend sweaters several sizes too big. Grunge is nostalgia clothing before apps and smartphones took over lives.

Alternative Fashion Never Changes Unless You Do

Make no mistake about it, alternative clothing styles make their presence seen and felt in people’s everyday lives. They have been on mainstream fashion runways for every season. There are even alternative baby clothes sold in-stores and online for parents who want unique and interesting garments for their kids. Alternative fashion is less expensive than its mainstream cousin.

It is also as “normal” or as “weird” as the wearer wants it to be which means he/she might wear leggings and a knee-length v-neck pullover with high cut rubber shoes and a sequined scarf. The biggest appeal that alternative fashion holds, however, is that long after mainstream trends have gone, it would still be available. And unless the wearer changes styles, alternative clothing never does.

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