It’s hard to tell where the reality of grunge stops and its post-coital nostalgia begins, so quick was the world to jump into bed with Nirvana, Seattle and flannel. Punk might have had a few moments that revolutionized the way people looked: The Sex Pistols’ safety pins or Henry Rollins’ bare chest and tattoos. But grunge was perhaps the farthest reaching. The bedroom habits of teens shifted to greasy hair, clothes that billowed instead of cinched and an attitude toward parents that seemed less about teenage rage and more about luxuriating in apathy.
In an attempt to trace the real roots of grunge, journalist Mark Yarm compiled an exhaustive oral history from the people who lived it. In his book Everybody Loves Our Town, there are interviews with everyone from the early adapters to those that were late to the party, but nevertheless helped extend its shadow of influence by turning it into a look for the world to emulate. Marc Jacobs’ fashion pedigree might not have meant much to the scene, but it did a lot to seal grunge as a style movement when he designed plaid with panache for Perry Ellis. Clothing racks still haven’t shaken grunge’s influence, either. We grabbed some quotes from the book in an effort to try to figure out when grunge became just another look to pull out of your closet.