How to Make Indie Sleaze Your Style Identity

how to make indie sleaze your style identity

Start ripping those tights and refreshing Tumblr, indie sleaze is back, baby. As TikTok propels us through trends at breakneck speed, we’ve once again found ourselves navigating a new, nostalgia-informed style era. This time, for an undone aesthetic, and an unapologetic attitude. 

Think Kate Moss at Glastonbury, Sky Ferriera’s unbrushed hair, and anything Alexa Chung. The main appeal of Indie Sleaze was looking unpolished. Even after a full night’s sleep, you had to appear as if coming off an all-nighter. If you could be mistaken for the girlfriend of a rising pop-punk band's frontman, you were on the right track. The makeup mandate was Effie Stonem from Skins. And every girl worth her sleaze-y salt had a digital camera and a dream. 

If you, too, are ready to return to the days of 1000-photo Facebook albums and indefinable angst, we’ve rounded up all the must-haves for those looking to make indie sleaze their new identity. 


Leopard Everything

Leopard has always been a symbol of individuality, rejected and reclaimed over and over for its overt femininity. During the early 2010s, it had once again been adopted as a subversive symbol of the woman’s ‘role’ as a glamourpuss — juxtaposed with shredded pantyhose and combat boots to make an outfit’s irony clear. With this inherent ‘edge,’ leopard print has emerged as a defining element of the indie sleaze aesthetic.

Lived-In Makeup

In the eternal words of Kate Moss, “You can look dirty, but you can’t be dirty.” Gone are the days of perfectly precise winged eyeliner — now, it’s all about the waterline. Pick up that black eyeliner pencil and line the lower and upper inner eyelid, before smudging out slightly. If your eye makeup is messy enough to look like you hit the town, slept in your makeup, and headed out to brunch without giving the mirror a second glanceyou’ve done it right. 


Stud It Up

Warning: this may trigger the DIY girls. Wildflower famously began with one studded phone case (designed to coordinate with Sydney and Devon’s studded cut-offs), and a decade on, studs are making a defiant return. If you want to ease in, start with a studded purse, then work your way up to the big time


Layers On Layers

If an outfit kind of, sort of, doesn’t really make sense, you’ve mastered indie sleaze. Layer belts over mini shorts, fur on top of tanks, or pair conflicting patterns. The only rule in indie sleaze is that there are no rules, so don’t be afraid to go bold. Bonus points if you push the boundaries of accessories, add a pair of knee socks.


Oversized Bags 

If you caught Devon's Balenciaga campaign this year, you know that the ‘Le City’ bag is back. It’s one of the most famous bags the brand ever created, beloved by the likes of Moss for its relaxed, oversized silhouette — and exclusivity. If you don’t want to go full luxury, there are tons more affordable finds on resale sites. 


The Perfectly Unpolished Phone Case 

lifestyle image 03 ipad folio star girl

Go intergalactic with a case that will make you the star of any room. With a monochrome color scheme and undeniable edge, Star Girl is the ultimate indie sleaze accessory.

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