What Is Scene Style?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree

Scene style is a mix of punk rock, indie, and emo fashion that became popular in the early 2000s. Its exact origins are highly debated among those who consider themselves scene. Certain types of clothing and hairstyles are widely considered scene style, such as graphic t-shirts and bleached blonde hair with neon streaks. The purpose of scene style depends on who is asked. Some people believe it is only a fashion statement, while others believe being scene is a way of life. Like emo fashion, scene fashion gained quite a bit of popularity on the Internet.

Scene style had elements of punk, emo and indie music fashions.
Scene style had elements of punk, emo and indie music fashions.

Graphic t-shirts and skinny jeans are often considered scene clothing for both men and women. Leggings or tights are occasionally used in place of skinny jeans. In general, the clothing is bright and colorful and heavily accessorized. Most scene kids wear clothing that fits well or hugs the body; baggy clothing is generally not scene. Large hair clips, headbands, and ballet flats are popular among scene women.

Emo fashion may include black nail polish.
Emo fashion may include black nail polish.

Scene hair is incredibly varied in color, but the style is usually choppy with long side-swept bangs. Mens’ scene hair styles are normally similar to those of women, though sometimes shorter. Scene hair is heavily layered for a choppy look, with some people opting to cut their own hair to better achieve the uneven look. Both blonde and black are well-used base hair colors, but the dyed streaks can be of any color. Red, blonde on black, and black on blonde are commonly chosen.

Many people who opt to practice scene style do so because the fashion appeals to them. Others believe it is more of a lifestyle for those who love art and the music that influences scene style. Generally, these two groups of scene people strongly disagree on what scene actually is and might even look down on each other because of their difference in opinion. In addition, many scene people reject the idea that emo style can be scene or that it influences scene style at all, while others view emo style as a related fashion.

The Internet helped scene fashion blossom into a multi-country fad, especially on the social networking website Myspace™ where scene pictures were often posted. This sudden rise in popularity was not without backlash, however. Scene fashion was often openly mocked, made into Internet memes, and generally considered socially unacceptable among some groups. Emo fashion experienced a similar reaction when it first became popular.

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Discussion Comments


I can see why this was popular around this time. For me, the first decade of 2000 had a lot of fantasy trends, like Twilight and Harry Potter and so forth and this style is kind of like an offshoot of that.

Multi-colored hair and emphasis on the dramatic waif look fit right in with that kind of fantasy. I'm sure there is a particular mentality around it as well, as fashion always seems to build up some kind of culture and justification.


@browncoat - I don't think it was all that popular or distinctive. It was kind of just another style, not a way of life, like goth or punk might be.

I always thought of it as kind of an extreme version of the skater girl style. It's kind of cutesy and bright with a harder edge.

For the most part it seems to be about the hair and dramatic eye makeup. If you put "scene style" into an image search, you mostly get a lot of girls with neon colored wigs and kohl outlined eyes.


The funny thing is that this style was happening right under my nose for the whole decade and I never knew what it was called. I could pick out people who were dressed in scene style, but I didn't realize that's how they referred to themselves. I just thought of it as a variation on emo or possibly as some kind of indie style.

Maybe it's because that decade was kind of a mash-up of different styles anyway and people were starting to accept an "anything goes" mentality, so it became harder to separate different styles.

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    • Scene style had elements of punk, emo and indie music fashions.
      Scene style had elements of punk, emo and indie music fashions.
    • Emo fashion may include black nail polish.
      Emo fashion may include black nail polish.