8 Ways To Try Out Indie Sleaze For 2023 If You Missed It The First Time

The early 2000s are having quite the renaissance this season, and just because you're a fashionista, that doesn't mean you're not threatened by some of these Y2K trends. Luckily, there are a few trends that are accessible even for those of us who can't stomach a visible thong or socks with sandals. One style was created for those of us who want to be on-trend but can't quite get on board with most of the trends at our disposal.

According to image consultant and stylist, Brandon Nicholas H., "The Hipster movement had this 'I don't really try hard' mentality (but is really trying hard to achieve that look)," per InStyle. He added that "Everyone decided to dress more relaxed and more carefree during COVID-19 lockdown," and the indie sleaze reemergence has come as a result of this switch to more comfortable, laidback dressing.

For those of us who loved Tumblr back in the day and collected records while filtering our photos to look vintage, we know the indie sleaze aesthetic when we see it. Still, that doesn't mean that we necessarily know how to put it into words, let alone the pieces we need to pair together to get the look. Luckily, capturing the feel of indie sleaze is more about how you combine pieces than individual clothing items. We've got all the ways to curate perfect indie sleaze-inspired outfits that also fit the trends for 2023.

Layered details

Layers can be a great way to channel your inner indie sleaze because layering allows you to juxtapose different styles and create a perfectly curated indie vibe. This outfit is an ideal example; it layers a leather jacket over a collared shirt and Mary Janes over tall white socks. This unique layering turns pieces that may not entirely fit the vibe on their own into an ensemble that fully embodies the indie sleaze aesthetic. Combining classic and grungier pieces, in particular, can really enforce the cool, understated aesthetic. 

Graphic tees

Graphic tees with the right styling are perfectly indie sleaze, and they just so happen to be one of the easiest ways to make this aesthetic come together. Ringer tees, cropped tees, and tucked-in t-shirt moments are easy ways to make sure you're getting the exact right vibe. Pair your fave tees with high-waisted jeans, long skirts, or mini skirts with tights and chunky socks. Finish it off with one of the myriad of 2023 shoe trends that give edge to classic looks, like chunky boots or Mary Janes, for the full effect. Bonus points for a funny and/or ironic message on your t-shirt — that just screams "hipster." 

Punk inspo

There are plenty of understated, effortless ways to rock the indie sleaze look, but if you're interested in something that's a bit bolder and statement-making, punk is the direction you should go in. While there are more classic, cleaner ways to get the indie sleaze look, punk elements work perfectly with a hipster vibe. Consider chunky boots, heavy, layered jewelry, fishnet tights, and leather pieces. All of these elements can be mixed in with other, more classic staples like high-waisted jeans, graphic tees, oversized blazers, and collared shirts to really embrace the aesthetic in a unique and specific way. 

Play with size and fit

One of the best parts of the indie sleaze trend is that you don't necessarily need to add many pieces to your wardrobe to get the look like you would with other trends. One of the trademarks of indie sleaze is thinking outside the box when it comes to size, fit, and how pieces are juxtaposed. Building mismatched, layered, deliberately strangely proportioned silhouettes is an easy way to elevate your current wardrobe staples to work for the indie sleaze aesthetic. This can also take classic staples and make them look elevated and more fashionable.

Eccentric accessories

Accessorizing your look with unexpected, androgynous, and/or seemingly out-of-place jewelry and add-ons is an indie sleaze trademark. Video editor and indie sleaze aficionado, Ilia Espialidi, told Harper's Bazaar, "Indie sleaze feels very vague but also super specific at the same time. It's American Apparel ads, flash photography, Urban Outfitters, Ed Banger records, Nylon magazine, and Myspace. I love how random and tacky it is." To fit your indie sleaze look into the "random and tacky" but also cool and fashion-forward box, it's all about unique, juxtaposed accessories. Ties, hats, and unusual jewelry can help to elevate any outfit to an indie sleaze dream. 

All black all the time

This may come as a surprise to even the most well-versed fashionistas among us, but black is the "in" color for this summer. The spring/summer 2023 collections showed that while color is trending, black is the shade of choice for the warm weather months. Writer and assistant fashion director at Bloomingdales, Kendall Becker told the Zoe Report, "Think [materials like] linen, crochet, and silk, black & white prints, or feminine details like tie straps or cutouts that make an all-black item feel a little less harsh." All-black looks in summer-ready silhouettes and fabrics are ideal for the indie sleaze vibe. 


Denim can be incorporated into most styles; it just depends on the cut, fit, and color you choose. Black and light wash are the denim shades of choice for the indie sleaze look, and relaxed, oversized, baggy fits with or without distressing can work for the aesthetic. And, don't be afraid to embrace a good ol' Canadian tuxedo. Denim-on-denim has come a long way since the early aughts, and layering it up with band tees, collared shirts, or sweaters with Converse or chunky boots can help you get the look while staying on-trend. 

Nostalgic pieces

The OG hipster style was all about irony and wearing things that may otherwise seem old-fashioned or goofy in an edgy, cool, and ironic kind of way. For this reason, adding unique, retro pieces to your ensemble can capture that specific, elusive indie sleaze vibe. Lean into the popularity of thrifting and vintage shopping, and search for unique pieces to add to your wardrobe. Curating a closet of anti-trend staples that have unique elements is a great way to build a wardrobe that's apt for layering and captures the authentic indie sleaze feeling.