By Greg Allard
originally published in Silent Charm.
(Maria Corrales acted as jewelry consultant)
Whether you’re a foxy lady or a Williamsburg hipster, band t-shirts not only communicate something about your musical taste, but depending on how you accent them, can send a subliminal statement about your fashion palate as well.
Whether you’re into pop, hip hop, country, punk, classic or indie rock – your manner, mode, method and style can all say things about your personality, and in turn, how others treat you. It all depends upon what you wish to communicate.
Now, if you were just a straight-on rock n’ roll guy like me, you likely wouldn’t give a flying fig about how you looked. As long as you didn’t have any food stuck in your teeth and your shirt passes the smell test, you’d probably feel that you were pretty much good to go.
Being admittedly a somewhat relaxed, wandering beast of the male species, you might even wonder or ask what the hell does he know about music fashion and why should I consider his advice?
Well, first of all, I’ve been a big music fan since I was a boy and now I’m a all-grown-up music journalist who owns about 100 band t-shirts from Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jethro Tull and the Beatles to Fountains of Wayne and Johnny Cash.
I am so fond of them, in fact, that I not only remember how I received each t-shirt, but where I was and what state of mind I was in when I obtained them – much the same way I recall procuring every vinyl album, CD and digital track in my collection over the last 40-plus years.
And how do I wear such illustrious garments? It’s really quite basic: I simply drape one on that can comfortably fit over my ever-changing and often-expanding torso on any particular day.
But a more important factor that perhaps further qualifies me to write this piece is that I could not help but notice the wonderfully-varied attire of the opposite sex during the seemingly countless concerts I have attended in my time.
As anyone with eyes knows, women of all varieties express their manifold moods and modes with the many styles they wear.
So, blessed with those insightful experiences, and with a little help from my fashionable friends, I’ve compiled a list categorizing 12 different types of womanly music fans and the clothes and jewelry they might tend to wear to spruce up their band t-shirt experience.
The Hardcore Punk Rocker
The punk rock girl will possibly wear a t-shirt of Anberlin or This Wild Life if she’s going to the Vans Warped Tour this year.
If she’s old school, she’s likely to be adorned in threads of the Clash, The Ramones, the Sex Pistols or Black Flag. If she’s straight-edge vegetarian, you might see her with a logo of the Cro-Mags.
No matter what t-shirt she wears, she will look always very authentic with dark, denim jeans, and perhaps a finger-less black Chanel glove or a gun-metal badge with edgy textures.
A spikey statement necklace and simple stud earrings would work well to wind down her accessories.
She might be a Tom Girl who plans to stay that way forever or perhaps she’s soon destined to let her female side bloom.
It is optional to tie a knot at the bottom of her t-shirt and/or a thin- chained necklace a little past her chest for a more feminine look.
The party/social girl might wear a tee of anyone from Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry to Pink, or Madonna or Cyndi Lauper, if she’s more retro.
She’ll slip her legs through a leather mini skirt if she’s in her bad-girl mood, or designer jeans if she wants to be a little more versatile.
Contrary to common belief, there’s layers to her personality, so there will be layers to her lariat 38-inch necklace, which can be double or triple-wrapped according to mood because a party-girl simply does that.
Heels with leopard or some other kind of reptilian print will lend her that free-spirited party feel without compromising her well-being.
She’s partying so she doesn’t want so much clutter on her, therefore no purse because party girls just want to have fun, let go and even sometimes be that girly-girl with a free-spirit.
Powerful and Sexy Rocker
The powerful and sexy young rocker woman is often a beautiful and almost always a confident girl who likes that old time rock ‘n’ roll.
Whether her torso curves to the guitar of Jimi Hendrix, the lion’s mane of Jim Morrison, or she simply has Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers stamped across her chest, the sidewalk is sure to crouch at her feet when she walks down it.
Adorned in cut-offs and summer sandals, this daring creature has a vibe to her that make her earrings appear to have movement. As she walks in her easy but mysterious way down Love Street, she doesn’t want much weighing her down because she already seamlessly carries it on her.
A wire or braided-cloth bracelet with one centered-focaled accent can enhance her charm by adding a light and delicate impression to a woman already at the height of her powers.
The hipster is a girl who knows the trends but has no problem going against them if they rub her the wrong way or conflict with her ideals.
She is an individualist to the max and the T-shirts in her collection, which may include the Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith or perhaps The Fratellis (if she’s recently spent some time across the pond) reflect her introspection and tendency to find quality in artists with large cult followings at best.
Whether you see her in Williamsburg, Eugene, Austin, Savannah, Seattle or the hippest area in your town or city, she might be at her favorite vegan dig, art movie theater or cozy coffee bar bedecked with a thin choker or princess-length necklace with stone accents, a Kashmir scarf, maxi skirt and a blazer.
Hip Hop Empress
For the hip-hop queen, accessories are often her channels for expressing herself from out of her seemingly tough exterior.
In reality, she has a soft-inner core that is meticulous down to her most subtle thought and is expressed through her bodily fittings and ornaments. She takes her time to make sure she knows what she wants.
A v-shaped (curve-link) statement piece with tough links and subtle streaks of elegant rhinestones or a foxtail chain both go well with her T-shirts of Tupac, Lil’ Wayne, Public Enemy and Rocky A$AP.
Along with her Givency shorts and Chanel shoes, her earrings are long and give one the impression of her being viewed from top to bottom, which complete her head-to-toe look like an exclamation point.
Pop Star Diva
Pop-star divas don’t need to wear a lot, although they could.
They often need just one piece to express their point because they are goddesses from heavenly spheres and their beauty does most of their talking for them.
The accessory or piece she is wearing generally benefits from her touch more than her body benefits from its piece. If anybody can handle gawdy, it’s her.
She can pull off flashiness and those rare avant-garde pieces with simple jeans, heels and a tee-shirt of Beyonce, Lady Gaga or Rihanna as naturally as trees wear leaves or flowering plants bloom flowers.
New Wave Woman
It takes more than a stylish hat, ballet flats and dark wash jeans or above-the-waist tights that hug at the hips to understand the New Wave Woman.
She’s a rebel but she wants a cause. She wants to die for something — she doesn’t want to die for nothing.
She’s a rocker and punker who also likes melody and expresses the power of womanhood through her sound and dress.
The modern New Wave chick might be wearing a T-shirt with images of Two Door Cinema Club or The Ting Tings, while the girl who knows her history, might be wearing a tee of The Cars, Blondie or The Talking Heads.
Whatever icon she chooses to celebrate, she’ll carry it on pilgrimage to the site of CBGB’s while probably wearing a thin delicate necklace with a little rhinestone or a crystal pendant at the center. Her hair will speak volumes.
The mind-expanding mentality is owned by ladies who see life in multi-dimensions. For such women, their musical taste often gravitates toward such altered-states bands as Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, The Dead Can Dance, Beck and more recent artists such as Hookworm and Goat.
Women under such other-worldly influences often wear dark color palettes, surprisingly enough.
They decorate themselves with hematite jewelry, dark, silver hints of sparkle, and shades of color that are reflective like the lyrics of the bands they are into.
She has mystique and an ability to bring a hard edge into a soft setting and softness into a heavy vibe.
She appreciates the different shades of the darkness and loves sharing her experiences with those she deems worthy.
Whether from the Deep South, the back woods of New England, the mountains of California or the streets of Brooklyn, the Rebel woman overpowers any room she walks into with an aggressive masculinity that carries a body on slow-burn feminine sexuality.
With a bandanna on her head and a leather jacket around her tee of the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rage Against the Machine or Joan Jett, she has an affinity for hard rock and an attitude against the man.
Her earrings are sharp and her two-fingered ring has the potential to both impress and punch you at the same time.
She wears distressed or black skinny jeans, depending on what region she’s from and perhaps a button-clasped bracelet with one very strong piece in the center or just a ton of studs.
The heavy metal girl wears a Black Sabbath or AC/DC t-shirt with a retro jean jacket that might have with studs on it. Either that, or she wears tight-leggings and a Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson t-shirt with Goth makeup on her face.
She likes dark or mystical-looking pendants, might be temperamental with her parents but she’s super sweet with her grandparents.
She sometimes has attitude but a soft-heart for the downtrodden, being perhaps a juvenile delinquent herself sometime in her teenage years. She’s a rebel misfit who has found comfort in her own kind.
She might also wear dark leather pants or shorts and an armlet or cuff on her bicep. She’s into studs and sometimes wears dangling earrings. She can always accent her wardrobe with chains, spikes and other heavy metal or her liking.
While the Deadhead Girl is really almost technically dead, new generations of them have continued to sprout up under the monikers of many jam bands, not least of which is Phish, the most popular one. If the girl is not brand new to following a band all around summer sheds throughout the nation during the warmest part of the year, she is the more idealistic version of the Deadhead Girl.
If, however, she has been around the circuit more than once, chances are she is just a little bit jaded with the ways of the world and even slightly cynical as to the intentions of others. So, although this girl may wear a tye-dyed “Steal Your Face” tee-shirt or one that declares that “Trey is a Jedi,” she is a hell of a lot more savvy to the game of life than her hippie skirt and tulasi beads may lead you to believe.
Such a girl is often heavy into hemp – not only the leaf that grows from the plant and alters your worldview while messing with your sense of time if you dare inhale any of its burnt offerings – but for making clothes, like yogi pants and blouses and sturdy-cloth bags that are as ecologically green as they are aesthetically hippie.
This girl may also wear a scarf around her head, replete with a choker and a mystical pendant of some kind like an om or the peace sign (peace, sister). She may even get to thinking that weaving her clothing and jewelry together is a good idea during one of those more inspired moments. She might also want to wear a two-layered necklace with center pendant of little beads or crystals or birthstone for whatever energy she feels she needs to express on any given day. Her favorite hoop to wear is the hula, without a doubt.
These days, the country gal is perhaps more of a party girl than those that are into Miley Cyrus or used to be into Britney Spears. All a country girl wants to do is get decked out in a straw hat, black boots, shredded cut-off jean-shorts and have a stompin’ good time.
She may tie her blouse in such a way to attract an eligible cowboy if she can – that is if she’s single — although, come to think of it, there’s probably not a real cowboy existing within 500 miles of her.
Unlike men who follow this genre, this girl likes to wear T-shirts with men’s names on them like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney and dance about to the new king of the radio – contemporary country – or as Tom Petty recently called it – bad rock with a fiddle.
But seriously, there are some talented musicians in this genre and one doesn’t have to look any further than the Zac Brown Band to realize that.
And if you’re old school, Johnny Cash or Hank Williams is always in style.
The girls that follow these artists are generally pro-military and like to dress patriotic – so anything with a flag on it is a keeper. They love to tailgate hours before shows, call themselves rednecks, although most of them aren’t racist, and even make fun of themselves by saying “’merica – F@#$ yeah!”
Bubble jewelry and pendants with animal heads or antlers, like deer, on them are popular. Pearl necklaces, doorknob earrings and a statement flower ring that grandma used to pin on her dress can also frequently be seen on these good-time enthusiasts.
There’s few better feelings than walking down the street with a t-shirt of one of your favorite bands on your back and have some perfect stranger approaches you and says “nice shirt.” There’s an unspoken rapport and camaraderie there that says “you and I have been through it together.
When you’re able to top it off by accessorizing your band shirt with style and flare, the admiration doubles. The way I figure it, if you have at least five people say they like your style on any given day, it’s a pretty good day for rock ‘n’ roll.
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