OPINION: Rock and fashion go hand-in-hand

These stars and style gurus led the way in fashion with creative on-stage looks



Rock ‘n’ roll fashion is different for each artist.

MIA PUZZO, Evergreen columnist

Fashion and music are not always associated with each other, but the two have been long connected for decades, especially in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. Rockstar status does not only come from the music but also their attitude, style and persona.

Even if you may not realize it, there may be something in your closet that was inspired by one of these stars. With that being said, let us look back on a few of the best fashion icons in rock history. 

Elvis Presley

Like rock itself, rock fashion starts with Elvis Presley, an elusive creature of style. 

Presley dazzled audiences with his charisma on stage. He defined and influenced youth identity during the ‘50s by breaking unknown  boundaries. 

The clothes he wore contributed to his alluring confidence, and while it is not exactly clear how Elvis cultivated his dress style, his fashion inspired many artists after him as well.

Let’s talk most iconic outfits – one of Presley’s signature suits shows just how pink can be everyone’s color, even when it was not widely accepted yet. Presley was a fierce proponent of pink for men, wearing a boxy pink suit jacket with black trousers and a black shirt during his first performances. 

Presley was not afraid to break boundaries in his fashion or music choices. 

Another notable and recognized fit of Presley’s was the white jumpsuit

Designer Bill Belew created a number of different versions with different colors and elaborate embellishments. Pointed cuffs, raised collars and metal studs are features that paint the picture of Presley to this day. 

Stevie Nicks

Rock fashion cannot be discussed without mentioning the one and only Fleetwood Mac singer, Stevie Nicks. Nicks is a style icon of the 70’s known for her dreamy, yet witchy aesthetic. She is best described as “bohemian,” with a sprinkle of rock ‘n’ roll.

Nicks’ unique and eclectic style proves to be just as relevant today. Runways and stores like Free People take on many of her inspired theatrical looks. 

Nicks’ style is unique in that it does not fit into a box; it continued to change and evolve throughout the 70s, 80s and even into the 90s. Nicks wore outfits that made her feel confident to help combat her stage fright.

 In a 2009 interview with The New York Times, Nicks said, “I’ll be very, very sexy under 18 pounds of chiffon and lace and velvet. And nobody will know who I really am.”

With the help of her designer Margi Kent, chiffon blouses, maxi skirts, cool jackets and fun boots became Nicks’ favorite stage uniform. 

Freddie Mercury 

Freddie Mercury was a British singer and songwriter whose main claim to fame was as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Known as one of the best rock singers in history, Mercury stunned audiences with his four-octave vocal range and mesmorizing confidence on stage. 

Mercury graduated from the Ealing College of Art where he earned a diploma in graphic design – it is safe to say the that Mercury had an eye for design and style. He teamed up with designer Zandra Rhodes in the 70s to help his ideas come to life.

Mercury loved the idea of pleats, which were dramatized in his 1974 costumes. Mercury also sported a satin number in “Bohemian Rhapsody” and a monochrome catsuit in “We are the Champions.”

 During the 80s, Mercury moved away from elaborate stage theatrics and moved into something a little simpler. His studded accessories and his defined mustache represent his stylistic way of moving past glam rock. 

While Mercury adopted a more masculine look, the leather culture was associated with gay-style subcultures in the 80s. Mercury’s blue jean and leather look are most remembered from his powerful Live Aid performance in 1985. 

Elton John

Whenever someone says the name Elton John, it is nearly impossible not to think about his iconic sunglasses or fun outfits. It is true that some of his looks may be just as popular as his top songs. 

John is an example of a star who has stuck to his favorite looks of glitz and glamour. Nowadays, John has a custom wardrobe designed by Alessandro Michele, but it was not always that way. 

In an interview with Vogue, John said he chose outfits that he liked based on their playfulness and if the outfit had humor. Shiny tracksuits, satin, leather, jewels and sequins all became part of his eccentric and flamboyant style.

An example is John’s sequined-out baseball uniform that was worn at Dodger Stadium in 1975. Even Harry Styles could not get enough of this look with his 2018 Halloween costume.

John has always had a go-big-or-go-home sense of style, which has become part of his overall identity as an artist. He is an inspiration for many breaking gender norms in fashion and encouraging others to embrace their own style. Even today, John stays true to himself, walking the red carpets in sparkly Gucci suits.