How to Dress Like a "Rocker"
Rocker style means looking like you just rolled out of bed and straight onto the stage, head-banging your way to the venue. Men and women--if you're a fan of classic rock and classic rock style, you can learn to outfit yourself appropriately. See Step 1 to start learning how to outfit yourself for rocking.
Rocking Style for Girls
Try out ripped jeans. If you want to get that unkempt cool swag in your style, try out some jeans with well-placed rips. Carefully take a razor to the knees of an old pair of jeans and cut some well-placed holes in them and you'll be screaming "rocker." Or, just wear the heck out of a pair of jeans you've already got and wait until they distress themselves for a more authentic tattered look. Loose-fitting or slimmer styles both look cool with distressed holes and tattered rips.
- Brand-new looking clothes aren't very rock-n-roll. If you want to get more of a vintage look in new clothes, wash them a couple times, and drive over them in a car, or leave darker clothes out in the sun for a couple days to fade. They'll start aging quickly and look a lot more worn-in.
Wear loose-fitting oversized band t-shirts. If you want to look like a rock-chick, band shirts are the way to go. Get some cool-looking black vintage tour shirts from your favorite bands, or look for classic rock icons like Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and the Stones for an easy go-to.
- One popular rock option for girls is to cut the sleeves off, or cut the neck-hole up to make the shirt more like a tank-top than a boy's t-shirt. Wear a white sleeveless undershirt to keep yourself covered and go for an off-the-shoulder look.
Rock an old cardigan or flannel shirt on top. Boys' over-shirts look totally rock-n-roll on girls. Grandpa sweaters might not seem super-cool, but they'll look stylish when paired with that sick Sabbath shirt you scored and ripped-up jeans. It's a cool, semi-ironic way to dress that totally screams rocker.
Match girly and fierce clothes. An easy way to get a rock look but also keep the girly clothes you've already got is to think about opposites. A baby-doll dress or a nice summer sundress isn't super-rock, but with combat boots you'll look like you're ready to hop on stage and start making noise. Punk up your regular look with little accents like combat boots or holy jeans and you'll master the rock style.
Wear bright red lipstick and black eyeliner. If you want to wear make-up, rocker make-up is relatively simple. Don't go overboard. Some simple black-eyeliner and bright red lipstick can help give you a dramatic but totally rock-n-roll look that'll match well with your new style.
Betty Page make-up is still super-popular among rock girls, and could be a good inspiration for make-up styles.
Leave your hair very long, or cut it very short. Rocker girls usually have one extreme or the other:long hair, past the shoulders, with bangs that come down past your eyebrows are a popular look for lots of different styles. Start growing it out, if you want to get that look. Otherwise, the shorter the better. What's more rock-n-roll than a super-short punk cut? Or a faux-hawk, even?
- In general, rock hair has a reputation for being pretty much unkempt, all the better for head-banging in the front row. But, that doesn't mean you have to have a tangled bird's nest on top:
Accessorize with cheap necklaces and vintage bracelets. As a rocker, you can get away with a lot of cool jewelry. Focus on getting cheap vintage stuff that looks like it came from another time, rather than fancy new jewelry that's expensive. Accessories can make the look. Bandanas, chunky rings, and piercings are all super-common rocker chick additions. Wearing lots of rings--multiple on each hand--screams rocker.
- Layer necklaces of different styles for a busy rock look. Think Steven Tyler-meets-Janis. While it's possible to "over-do" it in terms of accessories, it's pretty difficult. Rock and roll, in general, is a look that's almost ridiculous, but super-cool at the same time. Be willing to go extreme.
Look at your rock icons for guidance. Who better to find your style inspiration from than rockers themselves? Rock women with great style include:
- Janis Joplin
- Courtney Love
- Annie Clark (St. Vincent)
- Chan Marshall (Cat Power)
- Paz Lenchantin
Rocking Style for Boys
Grow that hair out. Nothing screams "rocker" on a dude like long hair. Grow it out. If you've got curly hair, you can rock the jealousy-inducing afro, while if you've got straight hair, you can still pull of the moppy lead-guitar-player look. Medium length? All the way down your neck? You decide how rock 'n roll you want to be.
You can't go wrong with a t-shirt and jeans. It looked cool on James Dean and it looks cool on you now: a plain white t-shirt with tight-fitting jeans will probably always be cool. Go for a slimming v-neck shirt and pair with Ray-Bans for the ultimate in cool.
- In general, the simpler the better when it comes to dress. T-shirts should be plain block colors, or graphic band shirts. Vintage would be cooler than brand-new.
- For over-shirts, flannel, denim, and western shirts are always cool. Roll up the sleeves for added bonus points. You gotta get those sleeves out of the way of your guitar, after all.
Make friends with denim and leather. Has anyone ever looked uncool in a leather motorcycle jacket? No. Ditto the motorcycle jacket's equally-rad cousin, the jean jacket. Aim for a relatively tight fit and go vintage, if possible. Old-looking ratty jean jackets scream rock band, and faux-leather doesn't even have to be very expensive to jump into the deep end of the awesome pool.
For shoes, go with boots or Chucks. Chuck Taylors aren't going anywhere. Low-top or high-top, Chucks are where it's at. Go for the classic white or black, or mix it up with other colors. For an added bonus, if you start building up a collection, you could even wear one color on one foot and another on the other foot. Mix and match for endless variety.
- If you can pull 'em off, cowboy boots or Beatle boots are also super rock-n-roll. Wear them inside your pant leg, rather than outside, and give yourself an intimidating height with the heels.
Accessorize sparingly. While a necklace, bandana, or well-placed ring can look cool, it can also make you look like you're dressing up as a rocker for Halloween, not like you're about to jump on stage and start melting faces. Aim for one variety of accessory at the most.
Piercings and tattoos are pretty rock-and-roll, it's safe to say. If you're committed to your rocker persona, you might consider them. Certain piercing and all tattoos are permanent, however, so make sure you're really committed to your look before getting big gauges and half-sleeves. Think about it and always make sure you've got parental permission.
Go for the classy rock look. A beat-up and tight-fitting sport coat with a western shirt and jeans is an up-scale rocker look that you can always pull off. Dinner jackets can be found at second-hand stores for relatively cheap, often in rad patterns and pre-distressed for vintage comfort. Try on lots to get the right fit, or you'll end up looking like you're playing dress-up in your dad's closet.
- Use stylish rock icons like Bob Dylan circa 1966, or the Strokes circa 2002 for great examples of rocking the suit jacket.
No shorts. The unspoken rule of rock and roll stage craft? No short pants. If you want to be a rocker, treat shorts like your mortal enemy. Never wear them, especially if you're actually in a band and play on stage.
- If you must wear shorts, they should be jean shorts that you cut yourself, and should be raggedy as all get-out. This is only appropriate in extremely hot climates. You've been warned.
Never label yourself as a rocker, or people will think you're a poser. Let others think you look like a rocker.
- It's all about the music, man.
- To be a rocker doesn't mean to be a poser.
- Be yourself, don't be who others want you to be.
- Don't try to be cool. It's just not cool.