Indie Sleaze has been creeping back up on us, one “Rock-star girlfriend aesthetic” Tik Tok at a time. With popular Instagram blog pages like @brit_cult and @indiesleaze popping up on our feeds with a hit of smoulderingly cool and sometimes deliciously cringe nostalgia, it’s no wonder that the trend has managed to claw its way back up into the upper echelons of the fashion world.
Just check out Celine’s SS23 Indie Summer collection and its AW23 Womenswear collection, where it was as if someone robbed the wardrobes of Pete Doherty and Kate Moss whilst they were living it up at Glastonbury 2007.
Its resurgence has bought both joy to those wanting to re-live it or experience it now that they are old enough to, and dread to those who recoil at the memory of its body-dysmorphic-inducing waif-worshiping. Now, it’s 2023, not 2007 and it’s time to have your cake, eat it, and layer some statement belts across your waistline without worrying about its dimensions.
Laurelle, a fashion styling student here at LCF, gives us her take on the style: “There’s something about the indie sleaze trend that speaks to us on a somewhat carnal level. It allows us to tap into the lazy, wild, carefree parts of ourselves without the shame. I love this trend and adopt aspects of it in my own style too. If I were to think of my perfect indie sleaze outﬁt it’ll probably consist of some denim shorts paired with a worn-out belt with a diamanté buckle, colourful patterned tights, a statement tee with a vulgar slogan, lots of silver rings and some distressed calf boots.”
We’ve distilled it down to ten of our favourite indie staples to give you that never-ending night out, backstage beauty look that will have you in Julian Casablancas’ dressing room in no time.
Buckled/ harnessed biker boots
As seen above on edgy it-girl fashion icon of the late 2000s, Ashley Olsen, pulling off the boot and bare legs combo is an effective indie girl move. It combines the heavy-duty aspects of the boot with the softer femininity of a dress or shorts.
Miu Miu’s leather buckled biker boots are currently sold out, but not to worry, harnessed and buckled biker boots can easily be found second-hand on Vinted and Depop at less than a fraction of the price. And if you’re lucky, will be worn-in and distressed for increased indie edge.
Keeping to its 70s rockstar influences, a long and flowing skinny scarf is another indie sleaze staple to top off your outfit. Tie in a knot, or pussy bow, but keep it loose like your morals and you’ve nailed the look.
So that you don’t freeze your tits off when you’re chatting up musicians in the smoking area, whack on a fur coat, the shaggier the better. Or even if you’re just popping to the shops. A fur coat can elevate any look from flat, to “Do you wanna come back to my flat?” Mix the grunge of your outfit with the glamour of your jacket for the perfect combination. Vintage or faux obviously.
But not the wispy baby bangs we’ve been seeing, we’re talking vision obstructing statements that are long enough to give Claudia Winkelman a run for her money. Are you ready to enter the Winkleverse?
You may be a pacifist, but you can’t fault the design of a military jacket; worn in homage to The Beatles and made infamous in the indie scene by gritty, patriotic musicians, The Libertines. In the spirit of their intended purpose, military jackets are fighting to make a comeback, where one was recently sighted on the Celine AW23 runway in Libertines red and gold. Is this the start of the piece’s resurgence?
Beaten up and oversized biker jackets
Remember when Arctic Monkeys released AM? Simpler times.
Take the classic suit, swap out the trousers for jeans and the blazer for a worn-out biker jacket like our indie queen Devon Ross and you’ve got an effortlessly cool day-to-day outfit. Equally, the juxtaposition of mixing a party dress with an oversized and worn-out biker jacket brings edge to the look, following the indie styling trait of combining both hard, butch, and heavy-duty pieces with lighter and more feminine ones. Extra indie points if the jacket still honks of http://gty.im/1428741726 BO from the previous owner.
The Union Jack
This piece references how punk and Britpop also influenced the scene. Patriotism, but not for King and country, for fish and chips, for the love of Wetherspoons, Greggs sausage rolls and Tracy Beaker. Real reasons to don the Union Jack. Bring edge to a suit or blazer by popping a Union Jack tee underneath.
Accessorise! And when you think you’ve gone too far, add one more thing
Being draped in all sorts of trinkets is an elite indie move. You’re aiming to look as though you’ve cleared out the accessories section at an Oxfam on payday. Think rings and colourful, fishnet and patterned tights. Flat caps, baker boy hats and train conductor caps. Broaches and pin badges, particularly ones that say, “Mystery Jets.” Pearl, crucifix, and long beaded necklaces. Oh, and if you’re going to re-watch Skins for maximalist accessorising inspiration, make sure you have a friend on standby for emotional support.
Metallic and sequins
Now this part plays right into the ‘sleaze’ aspect of indie sleaze. Nothing says “going out” like a flashy and reflective sequin or metallic number. The key is to pair your eye-catching piece with something more muted and day-to-day. For example, mixing a sequin skirt with a vintage band tee and a pair of biker boots, cowboy boots or Dr Martens.
After binging the BBC series adaption of Everything I know About Love, (which is set in the middle of the action of the original sleaze era), main character Maggie has left me hungrier for sequins than Ru Paul.
Dark, glittery, and slept in eye make up
Think Zoë Kravitz in the YSL Black Opium advert or Ke$ha circa 2009 after a four-day bender. That’s the look we’re going for. Black kohl on the waterline and generously crayoned and smudged around the eyes. Glitter haphazardly brushed across the eye area and whatever you do, don’t clean up the fall out, you’ve just been on a mad one, remember?