The leaves are changing, temperature levels are slowly dropping, and autumn is officially here. It’s just like any other year where pumpkin spice is met with anticipation and the perfect football weather is right around the corner.
But one thing’s not quite the same this season—there’s no trace of infinity scarves, thigh high boots, or cream-colored sweaters. Have the days of “Christian Girl Autumn” finally been eclipsed? Why did it exist in the first place? And do darker days lie ahead?
A walk down meme-ory lane
A photo of influencers and bloggers Emily Gemma and Caitlin Convington was taken during a 2016 trip because, according to Buzzfeed News, they realized how similar they looked and wanted to document the occasion.
Three years later, when Megan Thee Stallion’s song, "Hot Girl Summer," was released, Twitter user @lasagnabby tweeted out the same picture with the caption, “Hot Girl Summer is coming to an end, get ready for Christian Girl Autumn.” Although this tweet has since been deleted, the aesthetic seemed to live on. Until now.
What’s next for fall?
You’ll notice less and less of this millennial-esque style while walking across campus or scrolling through TikTok. Booties and large leather bags are seldom seen among the current generation of young adults. Instead, people have been treating fall as an excuse to don '90s grunge all season long.
As Harpers Bazaar puts it, “grunge is all about de-emphasizing the silhouette of the body and looking 'untidy' in an attempt to mirror the cool look of popular musicians in both punk and heavy metal rock bands.” However, in 2021, grunge is a little more tidy and a little less about the rock bands that came before us. Grunge is self expression through layers of baggy clothing and heavy boots— all of the ingredients for the perfect autumnal storm.
TikTok user Tara Gonzalez, @taramariagonzalez, native New-Yorker and style writer for InStyle stacks heavy chain necklaces (her favorite including a skeleton hand), short, layered dresses, and heavy combat boots on any given day. Another Tiktok fashion influencer, @stewcaldo, leans into black leather, dark, ripped jeans, and neutral tops. And if you’re searching for the holy grail of grunge this year, look no further than Miley Cyrus herself. Her modern mullet-gone-shag and fashion (and music) inspiration from punk artists like “The Cranberries'' perfectly exemplifies all that grunge was, is, and ever hopes to be.
But autumn grunge isn’t only found through social media trends—take a walk between classes and you’re sure to spot anything from skeleton print jeans and dark eye makeup to ripped tights and spiked platform boots. Although these looks exceed the grunge-spectrum, a typical student's fashion is still far from our beloved “Christian Girl.”
Trends are created to be embraced
Does this really mean the 2016 aesthetic-gone-meme is finally bowing out? Or is Gen Z culture so overwhelmingly present on social media that it just feels like that? It seems like this generation is unphased by making an impression on passerby for the sake of being confident in one's own skin. And that is reason enough to embrace the grunge.
If you want to join in, a good pair of wide leg jeans, a leather blazer, and a graphic tee is the basic standard in this new era of fall fashion. But while we’re still navigating a pandemic, remember that sweatpants and an old T-shirt will fare just as well.
Featured Image from InsideHook