This is a bit of an open letter to those former goth/punk/emo kids like myself. We all remember being 15 and feeling that unparalleled excitement when we got our hands on a new piece of clothing that fit so perfectly with our style – in a way it was even more pure than the buzz I get from the same thing now, as the clothes were so much harder to come across. It feels like only yesterday that I was saving up my lunch money to spend on crazy alternative dresses from Afflecks in Manchester and not being able to sleep the night before I went shopping for my first ever pair of New Rock boots…
For a few years in my earlier 20s, I lost my way with alternative style. I felt too old for my former looks, but when I tried out more ‘conventional’ outfits I just didn’t feel like myself. So I turned to some new ways of gathering inspiration, and figured out my own ways of incorporating those rock n roll elements into my signature personal style. I’m going to share my tips with you today!
Pink Snake Shirt: Topshop
Leather Jacket: Pretty Special
Black Jeans: River Island
Look To The Past
Nope, I don’t mean dig out your old Myspace photos from 2005. My favourite way to get inspired when putting together outfits these days is to work out who embodies that rock n roll style for me, and create a bank of reference images from there. I love to do this on my Pinterest page (which I’m super active on by the way – feel free to follow me on there!) – I have photos saved on my ‘Eternal Fashion Inspiration’ board of everyone from Joan Jett and Debbie Harry to Stevie Nicks and David Bowie.
Of course, there are a few more modern examples, like Taylor Momsen, Helena Bonham-Carter and Gwen Stefani, too. I love to mix and match my sources of inspiration from all of them, and I find this helps me to make sure I’m choosing styles I really adore rather than dressing up in what feels more like a costume. Take this outfit as an example: the Pretty Special Alice Leather Jacket (which the brand kindly sent me) is very Joan Jett-esque, whilst the Topshop Pink Snake Print Shirt has much more of a glam rock feel to it, a la Bowie.
Put Thought Into Your Purchases
Shopping as a teenager was easy for me – I headed to the same alternative shops, like Rowfers, and knew I’d always find something I loved. The thing is, most shops like that still have the exact same kind of stock they had 15 years ago, and no one wants to feel like their style hasn’t evolved in a decade and a half. Even back then, I didn’t care for labels in the sense of putting myself in one box (if I was pushed, I’d say I was most closely aligned with being a ‘punk’ kid) but now I like to think of my personal style as having a ‘rock n roll edge’.
I love each outfit I put together to have some kind of quirky element, be it some wacky shoes, a badass statement jacket like you see here, interesting textures like mesh or a super bold print that wouldn’t look out of place in a lead singer’s stage wardrobe. I no longer just grab clothes that tick that ‘alternative’ box – I balance everything out with current trends I love, and make sure the finished look is both stylish and make me feel great.
Don’t Be Afraid To Evolve
When I thought about having that rock n roll element within my style a few years ago, I always associated it with skulls – they were very much in fashion, largely thanks to Alexander McQueen, and were a kind of default option to add a little edge to your look. These days they rarely feature in my outfits as the motif became a little cliche for me, but that’s not to say I’ll never love them again…I just evolved and fell in love with design elements that were a little less obvious. Animal prints have always been a part of that glam rock vibe, and the amazing playing card studs on my jacket are subtle yet perfect for my style.
Look out for things that inspire you, and make you think of all those on stage outfits, 70s photoshoot and album cover looks you adore. It goes beyond music, too – I’m always inspired by old wild west movie vibes, or places I’ve visited (like Joshua Tree, for example). Evolve with your own tastes and life experiences, and you won’t go far wrong.
Do you love to incorporate a rock n roll edge to your look?