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How to Style a Classy but Edgy Look

Not everyone is mainstream, or covered in pastels and frilly prints. The typically pretty or preppy look doesn’t flatter everyone’s look or complement everyone’s tastes. Some of us prefer skulls adorned in flowers to heart motifs, or sharper edges and a-typical colors. Edgy is pushing boundaries, and mixing new ideas, most people associate that with the avant-garde, but by no means does that mean it can’t also be classy as well.

What Qualifies as Edgy Fashion?

It’s edgy if it pushes the boundaries of what’s normal. It’s taking risky and bold choices with your outfit and the patterns and styles that you pair. Any style can be edgy with the right additions, it’s not just the black and leather that traditionally comes to mind. 

But there are some characteristics of an edgy fashion style that are pretty universally recognizable:

  • Utilizing structure to give harder edges and lines
  • Darker colors
  • Unconventional combinations

As strange as it seems edgy can be classy too. None of these characteristics are going to stop you from looking edgy and avant garde and classy and sophisticated at the same time. You can look amazing, stand out for the right reasons, and feel comfortable in your own skin all at once with the perfect edgy look. 

Pulling from Vintage Inspirations

The 1940s through the 1960s were a great few decades for classic and classy clothes. What makes this era of clothing really special is the silhouettes, particularly in the dresses. Edgy fashion usually strays away from dresses, but don’t rule them out. Pulling some of the silhouettes from this classy-clad era, and mixing and matching with different colors and patterns can give you the aesthetic that you’re looking for.

Using this era for inspiration can work as a classy evening or semi-formal outfit, or by adding a few accessories, like a structured jacket you can make it appropriate for everyday wear as well. 

Utilizing Accessories for Making your Edgy Fashion Classy

Play with pearls

Edgy fashion makes you feel cool, and classy fashion makes you feel sophisticated and smooth. Mixing the two is like creating the perfect blend of cool sophistication without compromising your personal aesthetics.

Pearls are the epitome of class and elegance; even manufactured pearls are spectacular for this purpose. When you’re mixing with a more edgy sense of fashion using them serves the dual purpose of increasing the classy aspect of your outfit, and the juxtaposition with the more edgy elements of your style can add another layer of visual interest to your outfit.

Mix and match necklaces

Play with the styles, lengths, and designs of your necklaces. Layering different lengths of necklaces gives a lot of visual interest to your outfit and can upgrade a classic t-shirt and denim look to something both edgy and classy, without a whole lot of effort.

Earrings as self-expression

Earrings are one of the few places where you can really go nuts as far as self-expression goes. While they can really make a statement and draw interest to your face and hair, they can also be covered up with your hair and leave you a lot of room to play without violating dress codes sensibilities.

Edgy Fashion Style Icons

Edgy fashion isn’t just black, studs, boots, and leather. It’s being fashion forward and alternative in a unique way that can be melded with every other style in one way or another. These three women have really made a name for themselves with their fashion sense, being edgy, alternative, avant-garde, and just generally fabulous.


P!NK is primarily a musician, and her look is one of the best examples of edgy fashion out there, and she knows how to make it classy.

Her hair is definitely edgy and wild in both cut and color. But it’s also versatile and lets her style return to those vintage inspirations for a classier vibe, or push the limits and spike it for an edgier look.

She also is really good at mixing the edgier elements with other hints of vintage, retro, street fashion, and a hint of bohemian sensibilities to really push the boundaries of each style and be classy and glamorous at the drop of a hat, while remaining funky and unique at the same time.


Edgy isn’t just black and leather and Rihanna’s “bad girl” fashion sense is one of the edgiest and classiest ever.

Her fashion clashes, slashes, and mashes together great casual street fashion, and really fashion forward edgy pieces. Her style is definitely edgy and avant-garde, but with Rihanna, classy is more than just appearance, it’s an attitude that you wear just as well as a dress.

Iris Apfel

If edgy has a cut off age, nobody thought to tell Iris Apfel. Iris Apfel is an icon in the fashion the world, especially for her eye for patterns and unique combinations. She brings the color back to edgy, and the edge back to classy. That’s definitely something to admire in Iris Apfel, she doesn’t strive to make edgy classy, she takes what’s classy and makes it new and edgy and beautiful all in her own way.

Her age definitely gives her that classy edge as well, and her choice of accessories ties the whole aesthetic together in a new and unique way.

If you’re ever looking for outfit inspirations, definitely look to Iris Apfel’s style!

Easy Edgy Fashion Tips: (for bringing your style to the workplace)

Office dress codes can be strict, or they can be really relaxed and free. Being able to bring your own style to the workplace can really increase your productivity and enjoyment of the workplace.

Read your handbook

Make sure that you read the rules of the dress code…basically, memorize that thing. Know what is allowed, and what isn’t, and what the consequences are. If you feel like your dress code may be unfair take it to your manager and see if a revision of it might be a possibility. A lot of these dress codes are old and out of date.

Start small

If you just got this office job and you’re working your way into the workplace culture, don’t go in with your edgiest outfit right off the bat. Take it slow with the crazy outfits and accessories. Do a crazy outfit one day, but keep the accessories conservative, then do the crazy accessories the next day with a more classical and sensible outfit. Merge the two together over time, but always keep the attitude that your outfit should be as classy as your style is edgy.

Color your hair

If your office dress code doesn’t explicitly forbid it, pick a funky color for your hair. You can keep the cut conservative and the color edgy with all kinds of innovative color styles and trends that are constantly evolving. 

And if your dress code does forbid it, or discourages it, there are all kinds of hidden color hairstyles that can be conservative at the office, but once you get home and let your hair down, it lets the edgy out.

Paint your nails

Go nuts here, acrylic nails or all other kinds of funky designs can really let your edgy style out without compromising on your office integrity.

Edgy is cool and classy is sophisticated, and when you combine the two, you’ll have an out of this world style that’s going to set you above and beyond. So go be avante-garde, push the limits of your style, and let the world see your shine.

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