Do we associate a certain dress style with specific music genres, and do they create trends?

Where do the origins of your favourite trends lie? Charley Moran explores the foundations of certain styles within music genres, and goes back to the roots of some of our most popular trends.

Charley Moran
17th December 2020

The impact of the music industry on the fashion world is evident across generations and the trends that were set decades ago are now what we closely recognise to be associated with a specific music genre. Fashion is often recyclable seeing styles once defining of its time returning to again be popular, with the new label 'retro'.

First the 60’s saw the explosion of all music genres flourishing: particularly in England with The Beatles and The rolling Stones taking centre stage in setting the fashion trends for the decade. London saw fashion designers taking influence from the band to shape their styles, from the cheap suits, Cuban heeled boots and the legendary ‘Mop Top,’ which was the hairstyle which would be the defining look of this generation of rock. They brought together this combination of their own classic look of matching smart suits in the early 60’s then by the end of the decade introduced colour to the genre- wearing bright shades and thus adopting the more casual and fun look which would exaggerate in the decade to follow. The end of the 60s saw the introduction of the infamous ‘Glam Rock', by Marc Bolan’s band T. Rex which would be followed by legendary bands such as Queen, Sweet, David Bowie and Kiss. This style saw no consistency and pairing of clothes but rather a variety of styles combining jumpsuits, flared trousers, silk scarves, feather boas, platform shoes and satin shirts along with extreme face paint and hair styles. This was a turning point in the fashion industry. Although this style wasn’t widely recreated by fans, it encouraged people to express themselves through fashion. The 80’s is where our modern-day association with the genre of rock is, with outfits shaped out of leather ripped jeans, spikes, loose t-shirts and baggy pants. We still immediately recognise these styles with this genre because it still ironically used today by musicians and is a popular trend.

Instagram: @rocknroll_will_never_die

The ‘hip-hop’ music genre, which rap falls into the category of, has been a key influence on the fashion world for decades- but is there a certain statement style for this genre or does it change according with time? One element that is continuous is the wearing of clothing and breathing a new function and purpose to it. This started in the 1980’s with the Bucket Hat. The Kangol company created the signature piece to keep sun and rain out of the user’s eyes. LL Cool added this to his range of headwear and before long became the first official trend of hip hop headwear, seeing artists among the genre following the trend right through to the 2010s. The genres clothes can be defined with one word- ‘baggy.’ Baggy tops, baggy jeans, baggy shirts became the common look starting in the 90’s by rappers like The Fresh Prince and TLC. The themes of baggy continued for the following decades however with their own adaptation. Oversized basketball jersey and shorts, camouflage patterns and chunky jewellery also become a statement pieces in the decades to follow and up until present day and what is commonly associated with ‘rap,’ and hip hop.

instagram: @fiery_fits

The formal dress style which sees men in three piece suits and bow ties, and women in full length ball gowns and showered in diamonds can be closely recognised with the classical musical genre. This genre has too been around for generations and the elegant and simple style of the composed music is frequently appreciated in a formal setting such as the opera, galas, or classical concerts. This often brings the harmony of a formal dress sense with formal music. We associate classical music with a specific dress style which frequently falls into the category of sophisticated.

instagram: @theeternalopera

There are plenty of other styles and genres like gothic, hippie, techno, the list is endless. It is clear however that the music industry has a strong influence in the direction of fashion, whether that be from creating a defining piece for their music genre or setting a trend that will last a lifetime.

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