You're a Rocker -- Now Wear This Uniform
There has always been a wonderful marriage between the worlds of music and fashion. Since both are very personal forms of creative expression, it only makes sense that they would go hand in hand -- after all, they both come from pretty much the same place, don't they?
As we all know, many of the most revolutionary artists of rock and roll have also been visually radical; the Beatles, or Jimi Hendrix, or David Bowie, or Johnny Rotten or Boy George would not have made quite the same impact on the world had they simply worn polo shirts and khakis onstage.
The problem is that, once the fans get hold of it, the fashion becomes fascism. And that's a drag. Each genre of popular music has implicit but rigidly understood and sanctioned dress codes that go with it, which are enforced by snobbish, insecure, provincial and narrow-minded scenesters. And the irony is that the dress is supposed to be a form of rebellion, when all it really ends up being, at the end of the day, is another form of conformity.
If you wanna call yourself a PUNK, for instance, then you should probably play it safe with the garb. You know the uniform -- mohawk, leather jacket, spikes, Doc Martens and Exploited patch, etc. You can set your watch by that shit. However, if you arrived at the hardcore matinee at the Continental dressed in drag, you may be asking for a beatdown -- even though it's about ten times more "punk" than red bootlaces and a Cro Mags shirt.
I love going to RAVES, but I must say it bums me out to see so damn many people under one roof wearing ridiculously oversize pants, chewing on pacifiers and waving glowsticks. You know what would be rad? Going to a rave wearing Ward Cleaver gear and smoking a pipe.
If you expect to be welcomed into the GOTH/INDUSTRIAL set, you better not have any Hawaiian shirts in your closet. Or white. Or colors. No, to show your individuality in the world, you must purchase a full wardrobe of black PVC -- then get goggles. Yes, goggles. No, not to wear over your eyes. You keep the goggles perched on your forehead. Don't ask why. Just do it.
Then there are the "I'M MORE PIERCED AND TATTOOED THAN YOU" types. One night while drinking PBRs at the lovely Three of Cups in the East Village, I spied a bumper sticker on the ceiling. It said, "YOU'RE NOT TATTOOED--FUCK YOU!"
Suit and tie...suit and tie....suit and tie...
One more thing -- remember the HAIR METAL scene in the 80s? In those days it was de riguer for every lead singer to wear bleach blonde hair, spandex, eyeliner, and do alot of pouting and kicks and stuff. Of course they were all imitating the great David Lee Roth, a true original who once said that his fashion sense was inspired by his two biggest heroes: Marylin Monroe and Tarzan. Now that's art. All those other jokers were just clueless frat boys copying a look they didn't even understand, and that's why they look ridiculous and Roth still looks totally cool.