Is Indie Sleaze Style Really Coming Back?

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Getting older means watching trends from years past coming full circle. And though the fashion world has always been known to run in a cyclical nature, apps like TikTok have a habit of exhuming previous trends and then burying them again at a much quicker pace. The latest micro trend to resurface? Indie sleaze, baby. This makeup and fashion trend is a complete 180 from the “clean girl aesthetic” trend of the summer; instead, indie sleaze is all about lived-in makeup and grungy, house party-esque ensembles that would’ve gotten you Tumblr famous back in the day.

What Is Indie Sleaze?

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It’s gone by a million different names – ’90s grunge, soft grunge, MySpace-inspired, etc. – but the general feel of the aesthetic is always the same. To truly understand what it means to be indie sleaze, you need to look to the period that best embodied it: the early 2010s. This was the time of Tumblr, flashy American Apparel ads, and when many of us started watching Skins UK for the first time.

Indie sleaze is a darker, edgier subsidiary of the 2010 hipster look that is heavily inspired by the ’90s grunge scene with lots of flannels, heavy makeup, structured silhouettes, and messy hairdos. There is no real technique to successfully achieve the aesthetic, though the more lived-in and less thought-out, the better.

Why Indie Sleaze Is Perfect for This Fall

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With the seasons changing, it makes sense that people are starting to stray from their usual looks. Summer was all about natural makeup, glowy skin, and light feminine ensembles, so it’s only natural for us to want to go in the other direction.

Perfecting the Indie Sleaze Look

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Were characters like Effy Stonem the best influences for us during our youth? No, definitely not, but they embodied what it looked like to be cool. Now that we’re older and have the means to commit to the trend, it’s time to live out our childhood dreams.

Indie Sleaze Makeup

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The key to the indie sleaze look is eye makeup: smoky, uncalculated, and dark. You can achieve the look with dark gel eyeliner, black eyeshadow, and liquid eyeshadow with silver glitter. And don’t worry about getting waterproof formulas; the smudges and smears are just an indicator of how carefree you are (but we recommend using an eyeshadow primer so you look more sultry and less like a deranged raccoon).

Get the Look:
Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black ($9.99, shop here)
Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow in Blackout ($19, shop here)
Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in Diamond Dust ($24, shop here)

Indie Sleaze Fashion

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We love that the indie sleaze style is timeless. It’s made up of staple pieces that work well together and will work well in other looks in the future. Though you can take a note from the era and buy yourself a pair of disco pants, here are some other pieces that will last you trend after trend:

Get the Look:
Hot Topic Deftones Saturday Night Wrist T-Shirt ($22.90, shop here) (Distress it yourself.)
Vans Peddington Washed Flannel Button-Down Shirt ($64.50, shop here)
Levi’s Original Sherpa Trucker Jacket ($108, shop here)
Gap Mid-Rise ’90s Loose Jeans ($69.95, shop here)
Dr. Martens 1460 Smooth Leather Lace-Up Boots ($170, shop here)

Are you ready for the resurgence of indie sleaze this fall? Let us know in the comments!

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