This is THE MOST comprehensive guide to the rock aesthetic out there! Rockstar clothes, jewelry & fashion, plus guides to the grunge aesthetic, punk aesthetic and indie rock aesthetic, and endless important tips from years of research and experience are what awaits below. Strap yourselves in.
Few things in the fashion world are as cool as the rock aesthetic. Full of attitude and rebellion. Self-expression. Challenging the status quo.
Just like the music it came from, rock is about shaking the HELL out of the foundations of society and breaking new ground.
The inspiration for this article today is from thatrockaesthetic.com – they have some of the most unique and badass men’s jewelry and rings out there, at the highest quality for the best prices, and we’re excited to be bringing them to your attention. More on that later…
If you want to jump straight into the list, then just click right here!
Your Image Conveys a Lot!
The great thing about the rockstar style is that it can help you grow in confidence. You can’t be shy when you’re grabbing attention. This is a GREAT thing, especially if you’re a musician, for 2 reasons:
- The “fake it til you make it” principle applies – you start looking like a confident person, then you’ll start to act and feel like a confident person
- People will perceive your band as being better – no one wants to go to a concert and see people that don’t put any thought into what the visual look of their band is. The music is the most important thing, but don’t neglect the visual aspect – visuals uplift the good qualities of the music and make it come across as even more powerful and expressive.
Rockstar clothing and fashion can be such a vast topic. Things have changed and evolved a lot over the decades.
But today I’m going to boil a huge topic down to some core ingredients to get you started. There are things that have remained consistent throughout the decades. We’ll be taking inspiration from the 60s and 70s classic rock style and seeing what stuck around.
This is about TIMELESS style. We’re not about just jumping on trend bandwagons.
Then I’ll dive into specific looks, like the grunge aesthetic, punk rock style, and the indie rock aesthetic.
Quick Tip: Don’t Follow the Crowd
Rock style and fashion is never ever EVER about just copying the crowd. This article is here as a guide.
It’s not just about wearing the rockstar clothes you’ve lazily copied off of somebody else. What’s rebellious about that?
It’s about tapping into the core of who you are and expressing that to the fullest. Unapologetically.
Wear your clothes with attitude. Break norms. Don’t seek other people’s approval, EVER.
Use this as inspiration, pick and choose pieces that fit and try new things out. Get weird with it. EXPRESS yourself.
So What the Heck Is the Rock Aesthetic?
Let’s break this down decade-by-decade:
- 1950s – denim and leather jackets, greaser/tough guy looks
- 1960s – hippie fashion, psychedelic, more colourful and expressive, flared pants, loads of accessories and jewelry
- 1970s – more androgynous glam rock aesthetics, flares get even wider, double denim, loads of corduroy, tattered and torn punk rock style takes off
- 1980s – rock fashion gets more wild, skin-tight clothing, big hair and makeup, loads of leather, accessories galore
- 1990s – alternative grunge aesthetic in reaction to the 80s, flannel plaid shirts, ripped baggy jeans, more casual attitude
- 2000s – skinny jeans, indie rock aesthetic incorporates elements of formal styles like suits and ties and gives them a goth/emo edge
- 2010s onwards – free-reign! Basically the rules are gone, incorporate styles from previous decades and bring in new elements. All kinds of jeans fits, casual looks to more dressed up looks
As we can see here, rock fashion and what defines “rockstar clothes” has changed a lot over the decades, but certain things remain solid throughout…
The 8 Core Ingredients of the Rock Aesthetic
I’ve boiled it down to some core elements. I’ll be doing a deep-dive on each below to nail the rock aesthetic:
- Jewelry – rings, bracelets, necklaces
- Jackets – leather (black) & denim (mainly blue, from light washes to indigo washes, but also black)
- Denim jeans – primarily blue and black washes – all kinds of fits, from straight cuts to skinny jeans to flared cuts
- Boots (black chelsea boots, Doc Martens, brown lace-up boots) & shoes (Converse & Vans)
- Long-sleeve button-up shirts – flannel plaid, floral, paisley, patterned, animal prints, denim, corduroy
- Rock and roll t-shirts – band t-shirts like: The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division, Motorhead, Misfits
- Hats – wide-brim felt fedora, Fisherman cap, low-profile caps
- Accessories – belts, sunglasses, scarves & bandanas
Now let’s do a deep-dive…
1. Rings & Jewelry
Let’s kick this thing off with one of the most interesting and easy ways to elevate your outfit.
Rockstars have been wearing rings and jewelry from day 1.
If you want to really nail that rock aesthetic, then you’re gonna need to go a step further and adorn your fingers, neck and wrists with rings, necklaces and bracelets.
Jewelry can be one of the most expressive things you can add to an outfit. It can convey different aspects of your personality and have different personal meanings.
Skull rings convey a tough outlaw biker vibe. Turquoise rings convey a rugged western vibe. Gothic, punk, metal and hippie vibes are all possible depending on what pieces of jewelry you wear and what outfits you pair them with.
Mix and match for a variety of flavours.
Rings are essential!
If you’ve never worn rings before, then you may not see what the fuss is about. But once you find a cool one to wear and it becomes your signature, you’ll soon be on the hunt for more.
If you want an easy way to spice up a simple outfit, like black jeans and a white tee, then having a cool ring or two on your fingers gives it that extra thing needed to bring the rock vibes.
Wear as many as you like! Some people rock them on every finger for a maximalist vibe that looks super eye-catching.
Or just rock one or two if you want a more low-key vibe.
Silver is generally the most popular metal for the rock aesthetic, but gold can also work too.
Feeling a little lost on where to get eye-catching rings for a good price? Look no further…
That Rock Aesthetic Men’s Rings & Jewelry
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Necklaces also bring a lot of vibe to the mix. You can go with simple silver chains with a cool pendant attached, or even things like crystal necklaces if you’re after more of the hippie rocker aesthetic.
Go with just one signature necklace, or get a bit more expressive and stack multiple necklaces together.
Just make sure that the chains are a different length from each other. Go for a really long one and then a medium length one to make it look more cohesive.
Necklaces also have an extra cool factor with the way they dangle or even make noise as you move around. You’ll be making a statement in more ways than one.Check Current Price!
Bracelets also can add a lot of vibe to your outfit.
If you’re someone that wears a watch on one wrist, then it can be fun to stack multiple bracelets on the opposite wrist to balance things out a bit.
Try metal bracelets, leather bracelets, beaded bracelets, rope bracelets, or even charm bracelets with a cool pendant hanging off to get rockstar vibes.
Leather, beaded and rope bracelets will generally look great for the hippie end of the spectrum, whereas metal chain ones will look more rugged and tough.
Cuff bracelets are also a really cool option. You can get simple metal cuff bracelets with engravings in them, or even ones with turquoise gemstones in them for that mystical rockstar flair.
This is an area that you can go wild and experiment with! For whatever reason, big stacks of bracelets don’t come across as over-the-top in the same way that a big stack of necklaces does.
So if bracelets resonate with your personal style, then don’t hold back.Check Current Price!
Jackets! One of the coolest items of clothing in general – these are ESSENTIAL rockstar clothes to have in your wardrobe.
You could have the most bland outfit in the world, then throw a cool jacket over the top and it suddenly oozes character.
There are multiple types of jacket that should be staples of your wardrobe, so let’s go…
Denim Jacket – Levi’s
Nothing says rock n roll quite like a denim jacket does. These are so versatile, but always give off a badass vibe.
Levi’s are the benchmark for denim jackets (and denim in general, as we will see later in this article). Their jackets always fit so well and are timeless. They don’t adorn their jackets with unnecessary trendy details that go out of fashion months later.Check Current Price!
TIP: Get Yourself Multiple Denim Jackets
Your first one should be a classic light blue wash. This is the iconic one. It doesn’t get more rock n roll than black jeans with a light blue denim jacket. Must-have.
Then get yourself a black denim jacket. This is great for dark and badass all-black outfits when paired with black jeans. But more important is that it gives you a cool jacket to wear when you pair it with blue jeans.
For whatever reason, black on black denim outfits look totally normal, but blue on blue (blue jeans with a blue jacket) can look tacky if not done correctly.Check Current Price!
Absolutely you can rock the double denim, but you have to know what you’re doing to avoid looking like this…
Once you’ve got your staple blue and black jackets, you can have a bit more fun with it.
Then you can get weirder and get denim jackets that have cool patterns and details, like this aztec denim jacket that I own:
This is a bolder look, so you want to let the jacket be the star of the show and keep the rest of the outfit a bit more simple.
Lee Storm Rider Denim Jacket
Coming in at a close second to Levi on the denim Mount Rushmore is Lee (tied with Wrangler). They make insanely good denim jackets as well, with a more distinctive look.
The arched front pockets are the signature detail of theirs and it creates a really cool angular, streamlined look.
The Lee Storm Rider denim jacket is iconic, featuring the brown corduroy collar to give it a more badass western workwear kind of vibe.
Another great option as you go down the denim jacket rabbit hole.Check Current Price!
Worn by outlaw bikers and rockstars all over the globe – what could be more badass than this?
Leather jackets make any outfit look tough. It also makes an outfit look a bit more dressed-up and expensive too. It works for classic rock aesthetics, punk rock aesthetics, metal aesthetics, and indie rock aesthetics.
There are a variety of different styles you can find, but you 100% want to go for a black leather biker jacket.
These have cool silver metal features and zippers, stylish collars and other details.
This is rock n roll, so we want to avoid minimalist looks here. If it’s a simple leather jacket with no edge or attitude that your dad could wear to a formal event over the top of a dress shirt then we want to AVOID.
We’re going for maximum attitude here. Grab a leather biker jacket and you’ll be oozing mystery and charisma.Check Current Price!
Invest in a Quality Leather Jacket
Unfortunately, because quality leather is pricey, you’ll often find leather jackets going for close to $1,000.
If you find one that you fall in love with and know you’ll wear it for life, then dropping that money is a worthwhile investment. It will last you forever and withstand anything that you can throw at it.
If you’re just here to add some versatility to your wardrobe, then you can pick a decent quality one up for under $200. Just don’t expect quality for anything under $100. They’ll not stand the test of time and you’ll be able to tell that it’s poor quality.
Sherpa jackets are an amazing choice for a more rugged western rock n roll vibe.
These are jackets with a shearling wool lining. They’re absolutely key for colder climates and when it’s winter season. Extra warmth with rockstar vibes.
You can get these in multiple styles of jacket…
Suede Sherpa Jacket
Shearling suede sherpa jackets look straight-up badass. The ultimate in western rock n roll vibes. Rugged and tough. You WILL stand out in this. A strong, masculine look.Check Current Price!
Denim Sherpa Jacket
A classic look! Levi’s do amazing denim sherpa jackets. More of that western vibe, with a hell of a lot of warmth.Check Current Price!
Corduroy Sherpa Jacket
A brown corduroy sherpa jacket is an iconic look for a more western workwear vibeCheck Current Price!
3. Jeans & Pants
Rock n roll is all about being a bit wild and not giving a damn. Maybe you’re in the mosh pit and spill beer on yourself. Or get a bit too lost in the music and rip your clothing crowd-surfing.
Rockers need tough materials to withstand the punishment they put their clothes through. This is where denim comes in.
Denim is tough. Denim LOOKS tough. There’s an attitude about it.
It was designed as tough and rugged workwear, then got adopted as a fashion statement after the fact.
Jeans are meant to handle abuse.
They’re not flowy and airy like trousers are. They have character and they wear battle scars through rips and distressing to their wash and develop cool patinas over time.
Denim jeans are such an insanely huge area with all kinds of crazy variations. Let’s ignore those and focus on the iconic ones…
Straight-Cut Jeans – Levi’s 501
This straight-cut jean was adopted by rebellious teenagers in the 1950s and became synonymous with teen rebellion.
Guess what was the soundtrack to that teen rebellion? Rock music!
This cut of jean has a more traditional throw-back sort of vibe to it. It has a boxier fit. Wear these if you want that original 1950s greaser look.
And cuff the bottom up like the original greasers did too.
Think James Dean. Tucked-in white shirt, Levi’s 501 jeans with a cool belt, black chelsea boots, leather jacket. Shorter slicked-back hairstyles if you want to keep it authentically 1950s rockabilly vibes.Check Current Price!
Slim Fit Jeans – Levi’s 511
Straight-cut isn’t the only rock n roll cut of jeans. Jeans got tighter and tighter as the decades went on (until the 1990s where baggy jeans came in as a reaction to all of that).
In the groupie era, rockstars realised they could show off their…things…if their jeans were tighter. Slimmer fitting jeans were all the rage.
A slim fit jean is going to work better for the more iconic bands we think of when we think of rock. I’m talking 1960s/1970s. These were popular with The Ramones for the punk rock style too.
It turns out that Johnny Ramone actually modified a pair of Levi’s 505 by making them slimmer in the legs. This effectively makes them the same fit as the Levi’s 511.
He had to do this because Levi’s 511 jeans didn’t exist back then, but these are what I wear these days and you get the best of both worlds.
They’re not too tight like skinny jeans are, and they’re not too loose like the 501s are. They hit the perfect middle-ground, fitting nicely in the thigh and then being a bit looser around the calf.Check Current Price!
Skinny Jeans – Levi’s 510
Skinny jeans were a huge trend in the mid-2000s and didn’t really die for well over a decade. I remember laughing at them when they first were becoming a thing, and then I found myself wearing them too.
Funny how that works.
Now it’s come full-circle and the younger generation poke fun at them. But who gives a crap? We’re going for old school vibes, we don’t want to worry about the latest fad. That’s not rock n roll.
I disagree with their take anyway. I don’t wear them anymore, but skinny jeans are a FANTASTIC choice if you have a slimmer figure, like the name suggests.
If you’re a skinnier guy, then you’ll look FAR better in skinny jeans than you will if you’re swimming in a baggier pair of jeans.
Again, Levi’s are the absolute pinnacle in the denim world, and this is no different when it comes to skinny jeans.
They make a super comfy pair called the Levi’s 510. These have stretch in them, which is super important for comfort with something that’s so tight.
Skinny jeans pair well with a baggier fit up top. Oversized shirts look great. Grungy messy vibes contrast perfectly with the super-fitted look happening on your legs.
Tuck your jeans into your boots for a tidy, streamlined vibe, or go for a small cuff if you want to break it up a bit.Check Current Price!
Flared Jeans & Pants
Flared jeans are the ULTIMATE in old school rockstar clothes.
Kicking off in the late 60s and becoming massive in the 70s, these jeans have a lot of character. Put them on and you instantly give off old school rockstar vibes.
They fit nicely in the thigh and then flare out and get wider at the bottom.
For guys, these are a bold look, so you’ve got to own them as well. You can’t be shy wearing these, especially since they’re less common these days, so you’re making a statement by wearing them.
But this is a great thing – you want to stand out and express yourself! Especially if you’re a musician playing a show.
You shouldn’t just blend into the crowd. You want to walk into a room and own it.
Flared jeans do the job.
99% of the time, I’d recommend pairing these with boots, and tucking your shirt in with a cool western-style belt over the top. The proportions and balance of the outfit look right when you do this.
An untucked shirt and random shoes just aren’t going to look right.
Levi’s 726 – Flared Jeans
Again, Levi’s, the absolute denim icons, have made a variety of cool flared jeans fits over the decades.
But the one that stands out is the Levi’s 726.
For the guys out there – yes, these are “women’s jeans”. They don’t make flared jeans easily accessible for men these days, so you’ll have to go to the women’s aisle.
If that feels weird to you, I’ll tell you that there’s no shame in this.
I remember feeling a bit awkward the first time, but honestly, no one there gives a damn. For all they know, you’re just grabbing a pair for your girlfriend.
Once you get over that initial resistance (and work out what size you are in women’s), you’ll find it easy to do that and you wardrobe will thank you for it.
Or just easily grab a pair online if that’s a little too far outside of your comfort zone.
Women’s jeans are great because there’s more variety, and you can get higher-waisted pairs that just fit better and look more flattering than the low-slung jeans we get forced to wear by default.Check Current Price!
Wrangler Wranchers – Flared Pants
The fun doesn’t end at flared denim. Flared pants and trousers also look badass. They have more flow to them, so they look sick when you’re walking and fit more comfortably than rigid denim does.
You can get them in corduroy for a more hippie vibe, or go for something a little dressier like the Wrangler Wranchers.
Wrangler are an amazing denim brand, known for their rugged, western, cowboy vibes.
Amazingly, they make a pair of dress pants, targeted at cowboys that need formal pants that fit over their boots.
Because of this, they have the perfect amount of flare to them (it’s not too crazy and drastic – nice and subtle and restrained), and have a stylish pleat down the middle (looks more formal).
They come in a variety of different colours!
They’re also super super cheap too. They’ve blown up recently once people realised this. They’ve just been marketing to cowboys, when there’s a whole audience hungry for them out there!
Because of this, their marketing images are quite poor, not showing off the look that we’re going for. Focus on the images above and do some exploring on Instagram to see them in the correct aesthetic.
The only thing with these is that people have reported that they had to size up to get the right fit. They fit snug on the thigh and flare out below the knee, so you don’t want them too small or your thighs will look weird.
I’m usually a size 34 waist in jeans/pants and I sized up to a 36 to get the right fit with the Wrangler Wranchers.
Great for a more dressed-up and formal rock aesthetic.Check Current Price!
If you want to really push the envelope, then you could try rocking some leather pants.
This is the badass Jim Morrison look.
If you’re a guy, then you have to REALLY have confidence if you want to wear these. It’s stepping outside of the norm and will get attention.
Always wear these with boots (more on that below), and just make sure to not give af and you’ll look badass.Check Current Price!
Then you look down at your feet.
You don’t want to go to all that effort only to ruin the whole thing with crappy shoes.
- The bad news: the rock aesthetic generally only works well with certain styles of footwear
- The good news: you only need a few different pairs of boots and shoes to complete the look
Leather chelsea boots are the absolute go-to for the rock aesthetic. This sleek style of boot, featuring no laces, instantly elevates your look into rockstar territory.
You can wear them casually and dressed-down with just jeans and a t-shirt, or you can wear them to formal events and dressed-up.
These boots are a must-have for literally EVERY man, not just those trying to fill their wardrobe with rockstar clothes.
These are timeless.
The first pair you get should be a black pair. These are the most versatile and can be the most dressy as well. They give off the badass vibes that you’re after.
A dark brown pair can also look really slick and has a slightly more casual vibe. These 2 shades will get you a lot of mileage out of your outfits.Check Current Price!
Motorcycle Harness Boots
For an ultra-cool vibe, you can also get motorcycle harness boots. These are chelsea boots that have extra details, with the harness strap going around the outside giving off ultimate outlaw biker vibes. This is big in the SLP aesthetic, with Harry Styles being seen sporting them.Check Current Price!
Lace-Up Boots – Doc Martens
Doc Martens are synonymous with the punk rock aesthetic. These things became huge in the late 70s, and have remained popular ever since.
They have an alternative look to them that works extremely well with the indie rock aesthetic too.
Walk down the street of any major city and you’ll spot Doc Martens in all kinds of crazy colours and styles. That’s the cool thing about Docs – you can find your perfect pair in the exact shade that matches your personality.
The most iconic one is their simple black boots. The sleek shiny leather paired with the iconic yellow stitching will bring an instant cool factor.Check Current Price!
They will go with almost every rockstar outfit you can think of, which is why they’re a must-have.
Brown Lace-Up Boots Are Cool Too!
Once you have a black pair, consider grabbing a mid-brown to dark-brown pair of lace up boots for more rugged, western vibes. These will add another tool to your style arsenal.
They look pretty cool when you’re stepping on your guitar pedals as well – as seen above!Check Current Price!
Shoes – Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star High Tops
Again, looking to the punk and indie rock world for inspiration always results in cool outfits.
Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star High Tops were adopted by punks in the 70s for a more down-to-earth, yet still rugged and rough vibe that has remained popular forever.
Think The Ramones walking down the NYC streets. Iconic.
These are VITAL for the grunge aesthetic as well.
If wearing rockstar clothes like leather jackets and jewelry comes as something new and outside of your comfort zone for you, then Converse will bring a more casual vibe that could fit your personality better than boots would.
Get Converse in the black and white high top style. These have the length and vibe that boots give off, but in a relaxed and casual way.
You can get Converse in all the colours of the rainbow, but stick to black first. Or go crazy with colours if it fits you better – bring your own vibe.
Black are just going to fit the classic rock aesthetic better than coloured ones are.Check Current Price!
You’ll also want some low cut shoes for extra versatility, which is where the next shoe comes in to save the day…
Shoes – Vans Old Skool Low Cut
Vans are THE iconic skate shoe. It doesn’t get cooler than this.
Similar to Converse, Vans Old Skool are a staple for punk and indie rock aesthetics.
There’s a lot of crossover in the rock aesthetic with the skate and surfer aesthetics, so think of these as another flavour of rock n roll.
Vans have a high-top version of this shoe, but it tends to look a bit too immature compared to the Converse high-tops, so rock the Converse for that.
Vans covers all your bases for a low cut casual shoe that has rock n roll flair to it.
These are designed to take a beating and hold up. They were designed for skaters after all. This means you can take them to gigs and not worry about beer being spilled on them.
In fact, they tend to look cooler a little scuffed-up anyway.
Go for the classic black and white Vans. These can even be worn in some slightly more formal looks (like with a linen shirt) for added versatility.Check Current Price!
5. Long-Sleeve Shirts
You can go wild here! What I’m referring to here is button-up shirts. They have a more formal look and can make your outfit look more put-together. I’ll get to casual t-shirts in just a little bit…
Bold prints look amazing for the rock aesthetic…
Floral, Paisley & Psychedelic Prints
Psych rock hippie aesthetic – seen on classic 60s and 70s rockstarsCheck Current Price!
Popular in the 80s – these are loud and convey a primal, wild sideCheck Current Price!
Indie rock aesthetic – these tend to be black and white, polka dot or striped prints – they look super cool and go hand in hand with the SLP aestheticCheck Current Price!
Plaid Shirts – Grunge Aesthetic
Usually made of flannel, plaid shirts became huge in the 90s with people like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and other grunge rock bands. If the grunge aesthetic is your thing, then this is essential.
You can get plaid shirts in so many different colours and pattern variations. A red and black flannel plaid shirt always looks great though. It’s the iconic grunge aesthetic shirt.
These look great layered over t-shirts. They slightly dress up a casual outfit, while still retaining that casual rockstar attitude.
If they get ripped, then it’s no problem! The ripped grungy vibe looks rock n roll.Check Current Price!
Denim & Corduroy
Denim and corduroy shirts are amazing for an old school masculine rockstar look. Very popular in the 70s, but still absolutely timeless.
Wear these with jeans for a double denim, western look.
Or wear them layered as overshirts, with a rock and roll band t-shirt or singlet underneath for some extra texture and detail to your outfit. These 2 styles of shirt are very versatile.Check Current Price!
Go for Long-Sleeve Over Short-Sleeve!
Nothing against short-sleeve wearers, but long-sleeve shirts are way more rock n roll. If you get too hot in long-sleeves then just roll the sleeves up.
Short-sleeves look great for other styles, but the rock aesthetic calls for a casual don’t give af attitude. Roughly rolling your sleeves up conveys this vibe.
Short-sleeves tend to look too formal and uptight. It also has associations with schoolboys, I.T. workers and old men.
No offence if you’re any of those things (and you can make your style cooler outside of work/school), but a rockstar dresses differently to those things.
If it has buttons, then make sure it has sleeves too.
Don’t Button Them All the Way Up!
Again, we want that don’t give af attitude. Keep your shirts buttoned low. Keep it flowy and show off some of your chest. If you have chest hair, then be proud of it and let it show.
Buttoning shirts all the way up just looks uptight and stiff.
And if you’re wearing necklaces, then you want to show those off too!
Leave at least the top 2 buttons undone and you’re gonna be conveying that rockstar attitude.
Heck, some rockstars even go half of the way or more unbuttoned and it looks cool as hell.
6. Rock and Roll T-Shirts
T-shirts are a staple of every man’s wardrobe. They’re the most staple item of clothing you can find, being worn and looking good on virtually everyone.
Plain coloured tees look great. James Dean was a style icon, bringing plain white t-shirts into the spotlight. Throw these on with jeans for an easy but cool outfit, or to tone down an outfit that has a wild jacket or jewelry.
Black tees with black jeans and a black leather jacket also look badass for all-black rockstar outfits.
Striped tees are also a big part of the rock aesthetic. They were sported by The Ramones in the 70s, and are seen everywhere in the indie rock aesthetic.Check Current Price!
But what’s really rock n roll is expressing your love for your favourite band with rock and roll band t-shirts.
Doing this expresses a big part of yourself because the music we like usually touches a part of our soul and resonates with our personality. And you can also find some really cool designs out there that convey rock n roll attitude.
Some of the most iconic rock and roll t-shirts designs of all-time are:
The Rolling Stones – works super well for all genders – has a playful rock n roll party vibe – THE iconic rock and roll t-shirtCheck Current Price!
Nirvana – grunge aesthetic – has a slightly playful and youthful alternative look – one of the most popular 90s band t-shirtsCheck Current Price!
Joy Division – indie rock aesthetic – conveys an alternative edge to your personality since Joy Division were experimental, and the pattern just looks really slick and coolCheck Current Price!
Led Zeppelin – classic rock aesthetic – everyone knows them and they convey a mythical mystical energyCheck Current Price!
Motorhead – brings the tough heavy metal/punk rock aesthetic – full-on attitudeCheck Current Price!
Misfits – punk rock aesthetic – tough, but also playful with the skull smiling – eye-catching monochromatic designCheck Current Price!
Don’t Be Afraid to Wear T-Shirts of Bands You Don’t Listen to!
Some band t-shirts have become so iconic that they’ve basically transcended just being an item for fans of the band to show their love.
They become fashion icons and you find people wearing shirts of bands that they’ve never listened to.
Now ideally, you will be a fan of the band first, then get the shirt to show your love for them.
But honestly, some designs are so cool that you might find it hard to resist wearing their shirts. Metallica have blown up after being featured in Stranger Things and now you see countless people wearing their shirts.
Maybe all these people have listened to their music, but a lot of people wouldn’t have.
If you’re bothered by this, then just let it go.
If you’re a fan of a band, then someone wearing their shirt spreads word about them, so let people wear what they want. Don’t gatekeep music and ruin other people’s fun.
You don’t look cool making people rattle off the names of the band’s songs – you just come across as antagonistic and annoying.
And if you see a rock and roll t-shirt that looks cool to you, then go ahead and wear it. Give their music a listen too and maybe you’ll become a fan.
Oh yeah, you didn’t think we were done yet did you? Hats are relatively uncommon in a lot of settings, which is what makes them stand out.
Rockstars have been wearing hats for decades now. They can convey a lot of personality and frame your face nicely.
And they’re also functional, protecting your head from the sun, or keeping it warm in the cold.
And let’s be real, they’re a lifesaver for when you’re having a bad hair day.
You can also get weird with hats if that’s your signature. Slash is forever known for wearing his top hat. Not everyone can pull this off, but he made it work in his favour.
Jimi Hendrix was known for wearing a variety of cool hats with feathers in them. Johnny Depp always does too.
Make sure to rock the hat with absolute confidence, because you’re making a statement when you do wear one.
Just be careful though, some can look incredibly tacky and stupid, so exercise caution here (I’ll help you out with that below).
A few key hat styles will look great on 90% of people, and give off that rock aesthetic you’re looking for:
Wide-Brim Fedora Hat
Alright, alright, alright – word of warning: NEVER wear a fedora with a shorter brim (or a trilby). These are only to be worn by 1920s gangsters. Nowadays, they give off nerdy vibes. They also make your head look too big. Avoid.
WIDE-brimmed felt fedoras on the other hand are truly rock n roll.
A black fedora with a brown leather band around the top (and maybe even a feather) is an iconic rockstar look and will instantly make you look more stylish.
Brown and tan coloured fedoras also look super cool and can add a nice pop of colour if the rest of your outfit is primarily black.Check Current Price!
These hats have a lot of different names: fiddler cap, mariner’s cap, skipper cap, fisherman cap.
Whatever you call it, these were originally worn by fisherman in the 19th century, but got adopted by rockers in the 1960s. John Lennon was one of the first ones to bring it into the rock world.
These have a really interesting look and have been trendy over the last decade or two in the indie rock world. The extra little details, like the rope braid across the front and the silver buttons on each side add just enough extra spice, without looking tacky.
They convey a slightly more mature and worldly look, which is great if the rest of your outfit is loud.
The shorter visor at the front is also a cooler look and has better proportions than the longer visors that you find on other caps.
This style of hat just makes you look a little more dressed-up, while still retaining that casual effortless cool that the rock aesthetic should convey.Check Current Price!
Low Profile Caps
Big and bulky baseball caps – cool in the hip hop world, but not rock n roll.
Low profile caps – instant winner for the slacker indie rock aesthetic.
Mac DeMarco should get a lot of the credit for this, he’s always been synonymous with wearing quirky, beat-up looking caps.
The important feature of these caps is that the crown doesn’t extend too high. It sits high on your head.
If a normal cap comes down almost to your eyebrow level, then low profile caps sit higher – roughly about halfway up your forehead.
This is a good thing, because bigger caps often look like they’re swallowing your teeny tiny head.
An added bonus is that the visor usually isn’t too long. It looks more proportioned and balanced than your standard baseball cap.
The fun part with these is that you can get super quirky with the design on the cap and it’ll still look cool. It could be some nostalgic retro Simpsons cap from the 90s. Or it could be a random tourist cap for the Grand Canyon.
Don’t be afraid to wear something a little different here.
Now there’s just a few extra cherries on top to push it even further into rockstar territory…
If you’re tucking shirts into your pants and not wearing a belt, then you’re missing out on a vital finishing touch.
Belts add an extra layer that makes you look like you’ve put thought into your outfit. It breaks up different sections (e.g. white pants with a white shirt, separated by a black belt and complimented with black boots – you might look like you’re wearing a white jumpsuit if not for that belt).
It’s also a way for you to express yourself with something unique.
Western belts look incredibly cool. Get a big belt buckle, or a belt with a pattern engraved into the leather.Check Current Price!
Concho belts were worn by Jim Morrison and look mystical and stylish. Very uncommon too, so you’ll get attention.Check Current Price!
Braided/woven belts have an appealing western edge to them.Check Current Price!
Studded or bullet belts are essential for the heavy metal and punk rock aesthetic. Motorhead here rocking an outlaw look.Check Current Price!
Make sure to have at least a black belt and a brown belt in your wardrobe. The general rule of thumb is to match the colour of your belt to the colour of your boots/shoes. Also certain colour combinations will look better with either black or brown.
So don’t overlook belts! They can do a lot of the style heavy-lifting for you with absolute ease.
Well I’m just going to go right ahead and say you need to get these even if you aren’t going for the rock aesthetic.
Sunglasses protect your eyes and look cool on everybody.
For rockstars, these are a life-saver, covering their hungover bloodshot eyes when the paparazzi are snapping photos of them in the morning.
Some musicians also like to wear them on stage purely for aesthetic reasons.
You can get a wide variety of different sunglass styles, and certain ones will fit your face shape better than others, but let’s just focus on a few key styles.
Ray-Ban are the kings of sunglasses, so I’m going to talk about their styles. They’re the most iconic brand and they make amazing stuff. You can’t go wrong with them.
These are the original. The black-framed Wayfarer design is what kick-started the sunglasses as a fashion statement craze in 1952 and were instantly adopted by rock stars.
This is about as classic as it gets. You’ll see these on EVERYBODY.Check Current Price!
If you want to be a bit different and stand out though, you might want to get something like…
The tortoise shell Clubmaster design is my go-to. They have that retro vibe, but look cooler with the exposed metal frames coming out at the bottom.
The tortoise shell frames are a really stylish touch, and you can tap into their primal vibes pairing them with an animal print button-up shirt.Check Current Price!
Aviators have 70s vibes written all over them. They’re big and bold statement pieces. For this reason, I don’t think everyone can pull them off.
They have to be congruent with your personality. You can’t be meek wearing these.Check Current Price!
My personal opinion is that these can look somewhat dated and tacky these days, so exercise caution. They might look amazing on you though, so go for it if it feels right to you!
Ray-Ban Round Metal
Hippie aesthetic to the max! John Lennon rocked these round frames and made them iconic.
These are quirky and have a lot of personality. I dig the fun party vibe they have.
Ray-Ban make a cool series of these that they have boringly named “Round Metal“. Yeah, they are round metal I guess, but Wayfarer, Clubmaster and Aviator all have evocative names. What a missed opportunity. Leave your suggestions for what we, the people, should call them in the comments down below.
If these fit your personality, then make them your signature! Or have them in your wardrobe to wear sparingly, when the outfit calls for it. That’s what I usually do with these.
The metal rims on the Ray-Bans add a real cool factor to this iconic style, that actually pushes them towards a more formal look. A really, really quality pair of sunglasses.Check Current Price!
Scarves & Bandanas
These are probably the least essential thing on this list, and will be unnecessary for a lot of people.
But those that scarves and bandanas do resonate with can really own this style and make it into something unique.
Paisley-patterned bandanas around your neck are full-on outlaw biker or rugged cowboy vibes. Bikers and cowboys wear them to cover their mouth when riding, so you’re triggering tough and rugged associations by wearing one.
Johnny Depp has always made scarves and bandanas look badass. His whole goth pirate look borrows extremely heavily from the rock aesthetic. He’s also a musician himself!
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala also used to be a big proponent of scarves in the early 2010s.Check Current Price!
2 ways to wear scarves and bandanas:
- wear them loosely and casually tossed around your neck – don’t make them look too perfectly put-together, it should look like you don’t give af
- thread them through a belt loop of your jeans for an extra accessory detail that most people wouldn’t even think to add
Yes, I’ve overlooked 1 other way. A bandana on your head (its original purpose!).
I think wearing bandanas on your head looks a little bit too cheesy and redneck for the rock aesthetic these days, but don’t let that stop you if you like that. They’ve just unfortunately become associated with some unlikeable personalities over the years and give off that message.
A hat on your head is going to be a cooler choice than a bandana on your head, in my opinion.
Rock Aesthetic Style Guide
Alright, now that all of that’s out of the way (grab yourself a snack and a drink, dear reader), here’s a quick guide to some specific aesthetics.
Think of these as a quick and dirty cheat sheet to send you in the direction of the style you’re chasing, then experiment further and make it your own.
We’ve talked about the general rock aesthetic at length here, so these will be more niche/sub-genre looks.
The main thing with the punk rock aesthetic is being D.I.Y. Don’t be afraid to rip and modify your clothes. This is all part of the image and lifestyle of punk culture.
- Doc Martens boots – ready to kick some butt
- ripped Levi’s jeans – distress these as much as you like, get paint splatters on them, put patches on them – get them in acid wash
- shirts with rips in them – chop the hem, sleeves and neck for a looser fit – crop the length a bit – poke holes in them – stick safety pins through them
- black leather biker jacket or denim jacket – with band patches or slogans scrawled all over them – get them sleeveless as well!
- go crazy with piercings, earrings, hairstyles and tattoos!
The grunge rock aesthetic is about being casual and down to earth and not trying too hard, while still maintaining attitude. Rips and other signs of wear are not only okay, but encouraged.
- Converse shoes
- ripped and distressed Levi’s jeans – blow out the knees on your jeans and add other cool details
- flannel plaid shirt over the top of a rock and roll t-shirt
Indie Rock Aesthetic
The indie rock aesthetic can vary quite a bit depending on your definition of indie (e.g. Mac DeMarco is indie, but I’d say his style is more in line with the grunge aesthetic than the indie rock aesthetic).
The SLP aesthetic (Saint Laurent Paris) is very similar to this classic indie look.
You’ll see people like Harry Styles rocking this look, alongside bands like The Strokes. This is a more monochromatic and dressy look.
- black chelsea boots
- black skinny or slim fit jeans
- solid black or white shirts, black and white polka dot button-up shirts or band t-shirts
- black leather biker jacket or denim jacket
- jewelry! Rings, necklaces and bracelets – go maximalist – more is more!
- experiment with black wide-brim fedora hats or fisherman caps
Well there you have it! You now have all the tools to get started and building the rock aesthetic you’ve always dreamed of.
Get ready to turn some heads!
The vastness of the fashion world and the speed of trends can be overwhelming.
The good news is that you don’t have to follow them! Go for things that are timeless.
- Denim and leather jackets never go out of style
- Jeans and boots never go out of style.
- Badass rings and jewelry are always going to look cool and convey bold qualities
Head on over to thatrockaesthetic.com to start building some instant character in your outfits with their unique badass rings and jewelry. Go to vintage stores. Buy things online. Mix and match.
Get out there and start experimenting. Try things that are a little bit outside of the norm. That’s what rockstar fashion is all about!
Let me know your own journey to self-expression in the comments down below! If you’re struggling to complete your look, then post a link to an image of an outfit and I’ll give you feedback on how to get the look you’re dreaming of.
Give everybody the inside scoop on some cool pieces that you’ve found too! You can also catch me on email if you’d prefer to share your looks and get feedback privately instead.