Social Question

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

How do rockstars get away with wearing ridiculous garb that would be mocked anywhere else?

Asked by NaturalMineralWater (11303points) January 12th, 2010

Such as Boston .

Kiss, Marilyn Manson, the weirdos from System of a Down…the list goes on. People on the street would be laughed out of the town were they to wear anything like it… what makes it so special for a musician? How much of that is a musician’s free spirit.. and how much is just… odd?

How do you explain this phenomenon of fashion?

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35 Answers

J0E's avatar

Their music rocks, so people don’t really notice how foolish they look. In fact, some people want to dress like them.

Snarp's avatar

Ummm, they’re rock stars? It’s not getting away with it, it’s the whole point – to create spectacle.

Snarp's avatar

BTW, for their day, Boston wore things that one might see on the street. A far cry from KISS or Marilyn Manson.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@J0E I guess I’m the exception. XD

@Snarp The ones who get mocked are making a spectacle out of it too. wink Perhaps Boston was a bad example because that whole decade was terrible for fashion.. but you get my point…

Buttonstc's avatar

Because they are perceived as being so hip and cool, people assume that they know stuff about fashion that the rest of the peons don’t.

People are afraid to mock or question those who are expe ted to be avant garde lest they end up with egg on their face.

Stage performers aren’t expected to look ordinary.

Personally, I would rather see a show with performers looking like Kiss rather than pedestrian drab grunge rockers. What a downer.

njnyjobs's avatar

It’s part of the persona as a rock star…. it makes people look and pay attention . . . and $$$.

Snarp's avatar

I saw Asia a few years back on a triple bill “80s night” with Berlin and the Outfield. The lead singer was still wearing his spandex pants from the 80s. Not a pretty sight.

gailcalled's avatar

Because so many people are gullible. Remember P. T. Barnum’s sign, “This Way to the Egress”?

And H.L. Menken said, ”“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”

wonderingwhy's avatar


It’s all part of the show. Standing out in an area where standing out is the baseline. It creates an identifiable situation beyond the music and if it gets people talking it may get them listening and then perhaps buying.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I just find it hilarious that someone could rock out to a band with funny clothes, leave the concert and go around the very first corner to see someone wearing the same thing.. and likely laugh their asses off. XD What the hell? Double Standard police strike again.

I guess I’m a major exception to a lot of this.. I dunno.. brainwashing? What else would you call it? I see something ridiculous and call it ridiculous. Of course, it’s the clothes that are ridiculous.. not that the music is bad. Meh.. I’m sure someone would mock my clothing too.. I just find the whole thing peculiar.

Buttonstc's avatar

Btw. Regardless of what one thinks about Lady Gaga or her music, you can’t say that she looks dull. She definitely gets noticed.

So did Madonna even tho most of the outfits she put together came from thrift shops. The originality is what made it chic.

And Cher is just plain FABULOUS without question
But then she also had the good sense to hire Bob Mackie. Even on QVC, his stuff is just so creative and gorgeous to look at. Heads and shoulders above the rest.
One can’t go wrong with him.
Carol Burnett knew that as well.

Sarcasm's avatar

What’s so weird about what the guys from System of a Down wear? All the images I see on google look pretty normal.

ubersiren's avatar

Their outlandish styles are part of their performances, like a costume. It adds to the effect of the show. When they’re off stage, the persona continues. It would be weird to see them in “normal” clothing at that point, and we would think of them as phonies.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Sarcasm I’m probably confusing them with someone else. I’m not much into mainstream music.

@ubersiren Isn’t that exactly how kiss did it? Among other performers. The persona stopped as soon as they left the stage!

Snarp's avatar

Oh, and Boston ROCKS! Yeah, that’s right, three kinds of emphasis, because they are three kinds of awesome!

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Snarp No disagreement from me. My question isn’t about their music. XD I just happened to be watching that video and I was like “what in the blue hell is that guy wearing?”. XD

Steve_A's avatar

I hate to use it, but I will. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Because to me I think musicians/artist usaully tend to be not “normal” for whatever socitey or the majority think at the time is normal.They need a way to express themselves via music,art, and clothing is just one of them in my opinion. Some may do it for spectacle,or to prove a point, or maybe be a “sell out”, for attention. To each there own.

Imagine if I wore “normal” clothes and went back in time, say for example medieval times because I like knights :D they would be like um WTF is that?

stratman37's avatar

If I saw Lady GaGa walking towards me on the street I’d start runnin’!

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Steve_A I get that part of it. What I’m wondering is why the double standard? This scenario is more like you going back in time wearing exactly what they are wearing and being mocked for it. lol

Darwin's avatar

Rock stars aren’t people any longer. They are icons.

Besides, since they would be mobbed by fans and autograph hunters, they never do go out on the street any more. The only time you see them in their funky garb is when they are being their rock star selves. Often that means if they take off the make up, the platform shoes, and the bizarre jacket, they can run down to Walgreen’s in the middle of the night for toiletpaper, and not have to worry about the paparazzi.

Imagine what Lady Gaga would look like in normal clothes, with normal hair, and no make up. She would be just another skinny chick and wouldn’t be Lady Gaga at all.

Trillian's avatar

Hi people. i make it a point to mick them, but I’m not a reliable source. I remember seeing Judas Priest some time back. The lead singer guy had no shirt, some shiny (or not, I can’t remember) leather pants and suspenders. The suspenders were necessary because he couldn’t zip the pants up all the way. there was like a two or three inch gap of unzipped pants at the top. I rolled on the floor and scream/laughed. I mean, he was ONSTAGE for pete’s sake.
I also laugh to the point of peeing sometimes when I see ANYBODY wearing baggy pants so low that they have to spread their legs to keep their pants up.
Now I admit, KISS was considered really cool when I was a teenager, but even then I thought the shoes were ridiculous. the funny thing is, I never questioned the black leather. I think now that this is an instance of corporate thinking outside of a corporation. It has become a norm that most of us just accept, so Kudos to you for questioning @ NatuealMineralWater. I always thought Cher’s clothes were over the top, but I had to admit that she looked sexy. Which is what sells. Same with Madonna.
There really isn’t a rule that one could point up, like; The more stupid the clothes, the less talented the performer. That is true sometimes, but frequently not.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Darwin It’s funny that you mention that about Lady Gaga .. because to me it seems like she’s just another skinny chick already. XD But I’m abnormal, I realize this.

Snarp's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater Try this explanation: It’s a costume. They’re putting on a show and the costume is part of the show, part of the entertainment. They don’t wear that on the street. Here’s a great example of the difference between what they really wear and what they wear on stage.

And here’s another great example of a band that wears things no one would ever wear on the street, just for fun.

Steve_A's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater Ah I see, I apologize. I misunderstood the question.

But in that case they are not mocked simply because they earned respect and when you get respect you are taken more seriously.To me it also goes back to the majority thing I mean most of these bands/artist who wear outlandish things have thousands of fan, maybe millions.So they have people backing them for they’re fashion choice.

Also these musicians tend to be in a certain environment too, they are just not people walking down the street but they are usually in a concert,on TV music video or awards,performing,interview and what not. I mean look at the people who go to a KISS concert they usually have make up on,shirts, spikes they are ready for the show!

Like slipknot for example when I first found about them I thought they were all just freak’in nuts most likely! Come to find out after becoming a fan of the music they are really nothing more than regular people. And they do not wear there masks/jump-suits outside of there music or something related to it.

Just my opinion.
Of course you will always have a douche bag or someone who WILL mock it.

BoBo1946's avatar

A “star’s outfit” is done to attract attention. The more attention they attract, the more money they make. It is about economics, usually, not about the character of the person. But, as we know, with every rule, there are exceptions to the rule.

Darwin's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater – Without the clothes, the wigs, the shoes, the hats and the make up she is just another skinny chick. With all of those things she is frightening.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Darwin, they must have ability also…all that “stuff’ does not hide talent!

Haleth's avatar

It seems like most of the acts that are popular nowadays don’t wear outlandish clothes. There are some exceptions like Lady Gaga, Shakira, and Rhianna, but most of the musicians who were popular in 2009 seemed to wear clothes you could see every day on the street, only a little more fashionable. Musicians wearing crazy clothes is mostly a rock and roll thing, and lately that’s been on its way out in favor of indie rock, pop-punk, and hip-hop.

gailcalled's avatar

Check out “This is Spinal Tap” again. Satire is often a good shorthand explanation for life’s pressing questions.

tinyfaery's avatar

Geesh. Becuase many rock stars are artists and, as such, they have very unique personalities that tend toward the fabulous and the spectacular.

As a culture, we have always allowed artists more freedom in their lives and their expressions. I think it makes us feel that there is something beyond the ordinary and usual. I for one appreciate the spectacular. It takes us out of our complacency and our rational minds and into the realm of art.

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

Escapism and Spectacle. And digital music is at least a modern explanation for the phenomenon you describe. Since the art of album-packaging/vinyl-sleeves is a dying one, artists have to—literally – wear their personality on their sleeves.

Narcojloleptic's avatar

They go to the courthouse and get a special license to wear wtf they want. They are required to carry it with them whenever they are wearing something crazy. When someone gives them a strange look or comments on thier clothing, they show them the license and get to punch the person in the face. : P

ucme's avatar

Rockstars? Take a look at professional golfers. They make a pimp from the 70’s look casual.

Anonymous523's avatar

Because they’re cool as f*ck man.

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

@ucme What a wonderful analogy. :)

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