Here’s How To Wear Indie Sleaze’s (Throwback) Fashion Trend

Indie style is making a comeback – the cultural phenomenon from the late aughts to early 2010s influenced by the music of the same name. Indie sleaze combines grunge and luxury from the 1990s with a slight erotic undertone and is topped off with a pretentious attitude.

Several fashion trends cropped up in 2022 and were rehashed from the early aughts. While there are plenty of neon colors and skin-baring cutouts, it’s not all about blinding colors and bare midriffs.


It was inevitable that some variation of indie dressing would return to the spotlight – but “indie sleaze” wasn’t what we expected. There was a moody touch to the mega-pop aesthetics reminiscent of teenage groups like Play and girl-next-door solo acts like Britney Spears circa “Baby One More Time.” Emocore and goth were significant influences.

Brandon Nicholas H., the wardrobe stylist and image consultant, said, “The Hipster movement had this ‘I don’t try hard mentality but is trying hard to achieve that look.” Generations are the only difference between then and now. Indie Sleaze didn’t begin as a fashion statement; Gen-Z embraced it to place more value on experiences rather than material things.

InStyle reports Nicholas has a sneaky suspicion that while the Indie Sleaze aesthetic has gained media attention in recent months, it has been around much longer. Regarding style, millennials who browsed Tumblr created flash albums on MySpace and listened to Grimes and The Veronicas still put together outfits that rejected trends but still looked pretty.


Metallic leggings, tunics, knit beanies, fedoras, and chunky, pastel-colored costume pearls were classic hipster looks. It was all about skinny jeans, scarves, leather jackets, and vintage pieces for upscale hipsters (think Alexa Chung and the Olsen twins).

“Indie Sleaze” is still affordable or expensive, Nicholas tells InStyle, similar to the 2000s. “I feel Urban Outfitters, Anthropology, and Target have embraced Indie Sleaze.” Their wardrobes are probably also pieced together at thrift shops, as Generation Z is big on sustainability and challenging fast fashion.

In contrast to Kate Moss, Kristen Stewart, Nicole Richie, and Lindsay Lohan of yore, Demi Lovato, Billie Eilish, Debby Ryan, and Lil Nas X adhere to the aesthetic.