Aesthetics Wiki

Soft Grunge or Pale Grunge is an aesthetic based on simple photos with a color palette primarily consisting of white, grey, black, green, and blue. The aesthetic is believed to have appeared on Tumblr between 2013 and 2015. Some photos are intended to be sad looking, often of someone suffering for love or with a '90s vibe, for example.

Despite calling themselves grunge, followers of the aesthetic were fairly popular in the mainstream and connected to the rise of the Alternative, emo, pop, and indie music and fashion trends of the time, such as galaxy prints, black and white grids, and fandom merchandise. Because of their close-knit community on Tumblr, they developed a "not-like-other-girls" attitude, especially in contrast with the "hipsters" (which is more accurately described as an early version of VSCO). The type of media they consumed was also incredibly specific, with fangirl culture and this aesthetic often overlapping. This style later declined, yet has gained short-term popularity in 2020 due to a desire to escape to the past.[1]


This aesthetic can be described as very fresh or a clean variation of the grunge style. Enthusiasts of this aesthetic focus on taking pictures that contain:

  • Band posters, cover art, and merchandise
  • Black and white edits of movies and TV shows
  • Cigarettes
  • Concrete edifications
  • Faceless photos
  • Glass
  • Greek statues
  • Guitars
  • Japanese kanji
  • Lyrics and quotes in simple fonts over solid or gridded backgrounds
  • Outfits
  • Old TVs
  • Plants
  • Polaroids
  • Silver objects
  • Simple drawings
  • Storefronts
  • Succulents and cacti
  • Technology such as iPhones and headphones
  • Vaporwave GIFs done in black and white
  • White rooms
  • Water bottles
  • Writing and quotes



A basic look

The style associated with 2014-era Tumblr has a very defined color palette in that it is typically monochrome or pastel, depending on personal preference. Japanese fashion, early 2000s emo, and more authentic grunge influenced the style, which has outfits that were incredibly specific, almost formulaic. Unlike grunge or the DIY ethos of other alternative fashions, these pieces were typically bought brand new at mall stores such as American Apparel and Hot Topic. Despite the term "Tumblr girl" being the most popular term, men can wear the aesthetic too. Soft grunge outfits are now often associated with bisexual people and LGBT fashion. Typical fashion pieces include:

  • Band and fandom printed t-shirts
  • T-shirts printed with patterns popular at that time, such as galaxy, horizontal stripes, and black and white grids
  • Plain black and white t-shirts
  • Flannels
  • Denim jackets
  • Cuffed jeans
  • Ripped jeans
  • Black skinny jeans (typically associated with the Hot Topic emo fans)
  • Pleated tennis skirts
  • Fishnet tights
  • Knee socks
  • Converse sneakers
  • Creepers
  • Combat boots
  • Vans shoes, often the black and white checks
  • Black plastic chokers and bracelets
  • Beanies
  • Flower crowns
  • black or blue baggy jeans
  • studded belts
  • crystal Necklaces or any necklaces

Websites & Stores[]

American apparel

The main store of the aesthetic

Stores that are popular among members of the Soft Grunge community include:

  • Adidas
  • All Star
  • American Apparel
  • BLK Water
  • Boxed Water
  • Crosley Cruiser
  • Evian Water
  • Fiji Water
  • Nike
  • Voss
  • Zara



Space buns are two high buns.

Coloured or faded hair is great for this aesthetic, but natural hair also fits very well. Also hairstyles and haircuts like:

  • Bangs
  • Space buns
  • Messy buns
  • Long bob
  • Long hair
  • Short hair
  • Pigtails
  • Microbangs


Pale aesthetic room

A lot of plants.

To decorate your living space in the Soft Grunge way, here are some quick tips to achieve this aesthetic quickly.

  • Plants are essential when it comes to decorating in this aesthetic. Plants such as succulents, ferns, and cacti should not be missed and rooms with white walls and simple decoration.
  • White sheets and pillowcases or with grid, stripes or plaid prints
  • Polaroids, pictures of album covers, drawings or photos of famous people stuck on the wall.
  • Write quotes on the walls.
  • Put vinyl records on the walls.
  • Add a vinyl record player.
  • Marble patterns are key.
  • The intention of a Soft Grunge room is not to look minimal, but simple.



Lana Del Rey and Arctic Monkeys

A lot of Soft Grunge music tends to fall into the Indie category.


  • Lana Del Rey
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • The XX
  • The Neighbourhood
  • The 1975
  • Hozier
  • Charli XCX
  • Lorde
  • Troye Sivan
  • Halsey
  • Melanie Martinez
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • The Smiths
  • Mac DeMarco
  • Lykke Li
  • Lorde
  • Azealia
  • Sky Ferreira
  • Allie X
  • Cage The Elephant


  • Pure Heroine by Lorde
  • The 1975 by The 1975
  • Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey
  • badlands by Halsey
  • Born to Die by Lana Del Rey
  • Blue Neighbourhood by Troye Sivan
  • Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez
  • Suck It and See by Arctic Monkeys
  • Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier


  • "She's Thunderstorms" by Arctic Monkeys
  • "Mad Hatter" by Melanie Martinez
  • "for him." by Troye Sivan
  • "Carmen" by Lana Del Rey
  • "Lonely Hearts Club" by MARINA
  • "Bitch" by Allie X
  • "Cigarette Daydreams" by Cage The Elephant


External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.


Pinterest Boards[]