Greater Than Mic Magazine

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ELLE Declares Band Fashion Is Back, and I Agree • And even more so –  Artist & Fan Fashion Coordination 

According to Gabby Wilson in the May issue of ELLE, “Band fashion is back in a big way” – and I have to agree. Following in the footsteps of legendary groups like The Ronettes and The Supremes, band fashion is having a resurgence in cohesion. 

As Gabby points out, Boygenius is an expert in achieving ultimate band fashion. While Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus all embody their own unique styles separately, their fashion meshes together just as brilliantly as their music when they come together in their Grammy award-winning project. When I think of the trio, I think of shades of gray, ties, tailored suits. One of their most iconic looks, their tour wardrobe from Thom Browne, is reminiscent of Victorian era English school children.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 01: (L-R) Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus of boygenius perform onstage during the 36th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert & Gala at Carnegie Hall on March 01, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tibet House US)

To quote my mom, “they look like creepy little boys who are actually old ladies.” Fans of ‘the boys’ will tell you that is a pretty apt description, in the best way. This is accomplished in big part by their fashion as a band.

When it comes to thinking about an artist, there tends to be a particular style that comes to mind; be it red lipstick, a high ponytail, a sparkly glove. And bands are starting to bring back synchronicity within their wardrobes. 

“The rule: All ensembles must be connected by a common element—a shared palette, a texture, a reference—but glimmers of distinctiveness must shine through. In musical terms, it’s the difference between singing in unison and striking that perfect harmony.” 

(Gabby Wilson, ELLE)

Another band following this ethos is UK-based The Last Dinner Party. Their stage look from this year’s Coachella Weekend One was a stunning example of harmonic band fashion.

The Last Dinner Party
The Last Dinner Party (@thelastdinnerparty) styled by Rodarte (Kate and Laura Mulleavy) for Coachella Weekend One performance. Photographed by Jamie Macmillan (@jamie_macmillan_photos)

While each band member is dressed differently, common threads stitch the look together. Each outfit incorporates a lace element, and lives within the band’s signature baroque era aesthetic.

It doesn’t stop there. Another thing Gabby brings up is the connection between Labelle and Beyoncé’s calls to action for fan fashion. Back in 1974, the Metropolitan Opera hosted a show for iconic funk trio Labelle (of “Lady Marmalade” fame) for which the poster told fans to “WEAR SOMETHING SILVER”. Similarly, Beyoncé encouraged her fans to “[wear] your most fabulous silver fashions to the shows”  for her birthday during the 2023 Virgo season of her Renaissance Tour. And the BeyHive followed Queen Bey’s request. 

Gabby asserts “The next level of coordination: performer and audience.” This couldn’t be more true. 

We are more than ever in an age of concert goers imitating the look of the performer. Dedicated fans have always donned their best insert-artist-here attire and copy-cat costumes, but it’s reached a whole new level..or dare I say era. I know I’m young, only entering my mid-twenties, but I have seen a change even from concerts when I was little in the early 2000’s to concerts now. 

Gone are the days when only the biggest fans dress up in the artist’s specific style – now everyone does. Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour is perhaps the best example of this. Not only are sold out stadiums full of fans dressing up as Taylor throughout her career, whether it be a mainstream iconic look or a niche superfan reference, but even the thousands of fans outside the stadiums each night who couldn’t get tickets to the show dress up. 

Photo Left: @mayroseandmagic at the Eras Tour, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Photo Right: Still from Taylor Swift’s “The Story Of Us” Music Video
Photo Left: @mayroseandmagic at the Eras Tour, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA Photo Right: Still from Taylor Swift’s “The Story Of Us” Music Video

Another tour that saw droves of fans show up in artist-clad attire was Harry Styles’ Love On Tour. Sequins and feathers from feather boas could be found outside arenas days after the shows. Even something as simple as fans wearing bows to a Gracie Abrams show, or Doc Martens to a stop on Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS World Tour, is evidence of this shift in artist-fan fashion coordination. 

In fact, I would say this is one of the biggest draws to live music right now, and one of the main trends that emerged and helped live music after the pandemic. The performer/audience style coordination is one more way for fans to connect with an artist, to be a part of what an artist is doing. But not only that, it helps foster community within fanbases. From preparing and comparing concert outfits with friends and other fans online, to trading dozens of friendship bracelets at shows, following the certain fashion “requirements” of a concert elevates the show to an even bigger, more exciting event. 

Credit: From Blackpink to Boygenius, Band Fashion Is Back in a Big Way. ​​Musicians’ synchronized dressing has reached new heights. GABY WILSON, PUBLISHED: APR 24, 2024 in ELLE Magazine’s May issue.