Rock ‘n’ Roll Fashion: The Enduring Influence of Music on Style


Rock ‘n’ Roll has never gone out of style, from past decades to present day. From iconic looks to streetwear-inspired fashion, music has had an enduring influence on fashion, and the spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll is still very much alive. This article will explore the connection between music and fashion, and show how trends have stayed the same while still evolving over time. Put on your dancing shoes, and get ready to learn about the history of music’s influence on our fashion trends!

1. A Brief History of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fashion

Rock ‘n’ Roll fashion began in the 1950s in response to the new music sweeping the airwaves, and along with the music it was embraced by teenagers both as an expression of their burgeoning independence and as a form of rebellion against the stasis of the preceding decades.

  • Early rock ‘n’ roll fashion was heavily influenced by the fashions of the working-class Americans of the time.
  • Hopping on the train from Memphis, Elvis Presley emerged as the King of the era’s style, displaying a flashy approach to fashion soon popularised by music fans across the continent.

Pink ladies and leather jackets entered the style lexicon, 1950s style coats and dresses were bedazzled and skirts became shorter. Vibrant colours in clothing, wild patterns, loud accessories and playful footwear all found a place in the new, electrifying looks.

Style soon became a way to express individual identity on the dancefloor, furthering the status of Rock ‘n’ Roll fashion as a powerful youth statement. Quarterbacks donned leather jackets, teens matched ruffles and cuts and the hippest cats crafted looks from the scarcest vintage pieces.

2. Exploring the Allure of the ‘Bad Boy’ Look

Who can deny the allure of the bad boy look? Leather jackets, aviator sunglasses, ripped jeans and edgy shoes – it’s a timeless look with a timeless appeal. Bad boys are mysterious and they croon with a devil-may-care attitude that speaks to something primal in us.

A little bad boy fashion can be a refreshing break from the trendiest of trends highlighted on the runway. You can easily throw together a bad boy look that says you have a rebellious spirit and don’t take yourself too seriously. There are lots of options for achieving this look.

Leather Jacket – Nothing symbolizes rebellion quite like a leather jacket. It’s the perfect addition to give any outfit an edgy feel. Go for classic biker cut or opt for styles like aviator jackets or racer style.

T-shirts – T-shirts are a cornerstone of the bad boy look. It’s the perfect way to express yourself and show off an edgy attitude. Choose t-shirts with witty phrases or graphic prints – they add instant character to the look.

  • Don’t be afraid of experimenting with statement t-shirts either
  • Play around with the fit and fabric for a unique look

Shoes and Accessories – Bad boys are always well dressed – and well equipped. Experiment with high top tennis shoes or boots to up the bad boy game. Accessories like studded belts, aviator sunglasses and flashy watches can work well too.

3. Music as a Catalyst for Trend-Setting Styles

Music has always been a powerful force in setting fashion trends. Artists define the moment and often influence the style and trends. Whether it’s Jay-Z’s crisp cotton button-up shirts and oversized Birkin bags or Cardi B’s strong shoulder blazers and Gucci sport slides, artists know how to make trends come alive.

Not only do the music’s artists set trends, but the stories and messages presented in the songs themselves can shape fashion for a generation. Take Kanye West’s advice and wear what you want, or Amber Rose’s instructions to show some skin and don’t worry about the haters. Music has the ability to change what people wear and how they view it.

  • Celebrity Endorsements: Music has become a major platform for celebrity endorsements. From Gigi Hadid’s collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger or Rihanna’s popular collections with PUMA, artists and their music are the often the main push behind major fashion collections.
  • Interactive Elements: Events like live music festivals have become major hubs for fashion trends. With attendees interacting with and competing for who has the most interesting wardrobe, festival styles from Coachella or Lollapalooza are often seen on the street.

The influence of music on fashion isn’t going away anytime soon. Whether it’s popular lyrics, worn-out clothing or events, music will continue to set standards and shape culture.

4. Taking Cues from Rock Legends on the Red Carpet

Rock music has brought forth a variety of fashion styles, from old-school leather jackets and combat boots to diamond-encrusted suits on the red carpet. Rock legends like Mick Jagger, Elton John, and David Bowie have all left an indelible mark on the red carpet style game. In honor of their sartorial prowess, here’s what we can learn from these fashion icons.


  • Mick Jagger often gave “a nod to vibrancy” in his red carpet looks, using shades of blue, yellow, and purple.
  • Elton John is known for his memorable, all-white ensembles.
  • David Bowie’s incredible androgynous style has inspired many to experiment with bold prints and daring colors.


  • Mick Jagger perfectly tailored jackets gave him the look of a dapper dandy.
  • Elton John experimented with more casual pieces, like mustard-colored jumpers and triple-breasted suit jackets.
  • David Bowie paired dynamic tailoring with statement pieces, like bodysuits and tailored pantsuits.


  • Mick Jagger’s signature scarf became an iconic part of his everyday style.
  • Elton John often completed his looks with a pair of circular glasses and a crown/hat combo.
  • David Bowie was known for his face jewels that added a playful pop of color to his ensembles.

The fashion choices of rock legends have undoubtedly paved the way for innovation in red carpet style. From Mick Jagger’s dapper sophistication to Elton John’s whimsical take on formal wear, they proved that fashion can be bold and daring yet still polished and refined. Even today, many celebrities are taking inspiration from their unique style and flair.

5. Following in the Footsteps of Rebel Icons

In the world of fashion, some style experts have opted for a daring approach that pays homage to iconic rebels of the past. Such experts acknowledge that the rebellious spirit of style icons remains unparalleled; it is a combination of fearlessness, creativity and willingness to push boundaries that cannot be replicated. For those looking to carve their own unique style path, these five rebel inspirations are key:

  • Deborah Harry – Who could forget the fearless leader of the punk band Blondie, whose eye-catching success was fashioned from her rock & roll attitude? Her blatant disregard for conformity is the most desirable quality of all, and since the beginning of her career she has been a strong influence on the punk style.
  • Jimi Hendrix – Who can forget the incomparable Jimi Hendrix? His classic style of the 1960s was electrifying, and he unashamedly filled rock ‘n’ roll with colour, pattern and a touch of funk. His bold eccentricity is one that was emulated over and over again, and his rock-rebels style has been enjoyed for generations.
  • Gwen Stefani – The wise words of California’s own Gwen Stefani are proof that rebellion and creativity go hand-in-hand. From her edgy make-up looks to her avant-garde clothing, she was a key component in the punk-inspired look of the early 2000s.
  • Elvis Presley – When Elvis Presley made his jumping-jive debut in the 1950s, it completely changed the face of music, and his classic rock attitude was the most prominent factor of his success. Ever since, Elvis has been an inspiration for musicians and fans alike.
  • David Bowie – Bowie was a true chameleon of creativity, and his efforts transformed the way we experience music today – from his flamboyant theatricality to his willingness to experiment. His spirit of patience and expression live on in the world of fashion.

These creative forces continue to influence the fashion world, and their rebellious, iconic styles are proof that rebels really do have the highest style. To embrace your own sense of individuality, these five icons are a great source of inspiration.

6. The Enduring Appeal of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fashion

Rock ‘n’ Roll fashion has endured throughout the decades, constantly reinventing itself, but staying true to its core aesthetic. It is a style that combines elements of rebellion, punk, and counter-culture. The look is cool and timeless, yet modern, taking vintage, retro styles from the 1950s and 1960s and remixing them for the present day.

The most widely recognized item is the leather jacket. Originally made popular by actors such as Marlon Brando and James Dean in the 1950s, the timeless cut has been reimagined time and time again. Brands such as Schott NYC continue to produce iconic leather jackets that have inspired generations.

Another important piece is the white t-shirt. This simple staple has been worn by everyone from Elvis Presley to Kurt Cobain and is closely linked to the rebellious attitude of rock ‘n’ roll. Accessories, including a simple wristwatch or aviator sunglasses, complete the look.

Finally, no rock ‘n’ roll wardrobe is complete without some vintage shoes. From Elvis’ pointy boots to the Beatles’ Beatle Boots, a pair of classic shoes will add the perfect finishing touch. In fact, the best way to channel the rock ‘n’ roll look is to keep it simple:

  • Opt for classic colors. Think black, navy, denim, and white.
  • Focus on fabrics. Go for leather, denim, and cotton.
  • Look for iconic pieces. Leather jackets, white t-shirts, and vintage shoes will never go out of style.

Despite changes in technology, fashion, and music, the rock ‘n’ roll look is still alive and well. It is an understated style that will forever remain relevant.

From poodle skirts to leather jackets, rock ‘n’ roll fashion is just as vibrant and alive today as it was when it burst onto the scene. Its ubiquity in fashion and style speaks to its enduring influence on generations, with trends of the past getting reimagined for the future. Proof that when it comes to style, music continues to remain our greatest inspiration.

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