Plaid, 1992: Lumberjack-plaid flannel, button-down, shapeless, layered over long-sleeve tee.
It made perfect sense, considering the roots of grunge -- those chilly, wet winters in the Northwest can chill the bones. The plaid flannel was warm, laid-back, careless and utterly unfashionable. In other words, grunge-perfect.
The look spread to locales where it made much less sense, and '90s youth sweated through in the name of perceived individualism. But there's a reason why the wardrobe relic is probably in your attic, if not donated a decade ago: That lumberjack shirt does nothing for you. Luckily, you can still work the plaid -- in more-interesting colors and a variety of patterns; in scarves, vests, head wraps, pants, dresses and even shoes; in silk, velvet, jersey and twill. It's a veritable storm of fashion-plaid out there.
Plaid, revised: Fitted herringbone vest, zipper details, colored lining, layered over slinky jersey tab-sleeve top
Happily, designer labels in the late '70s and early '80s loved the plaid, and you never know when you'll walk into a thrift store to find a mistakenly discarded plaid Gucci skirt or Valentino coat-dress that is truly individualist chic. A stylish tribute to the stringy-haired greats. Your inner grunge, runway-ready. (Not that you care about such things.)
For more information on the grunge movement, vintage trends, and surprising runway looks, check out the links on the next page.