Geek Rock Chic

This post was 100% inspired by listening to my “Steal My Sunshine” Pandora station. I would also 100% recommend that Pandora station.

If you ever want a momentary distraction, may I suggest reading Pandora bios? They are true gems. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a better first line than Van Morrison’s bio. But this post was inspired by Weezer’s bio, in which it points out that River Cuomo does not fit the typical rocker look.

A pretty obvious point, sure, but it got me thinking about geek rock (the look more than the genre, but there is definitely overlap) and immediately the names Ben Folds and Ryan Adams joined Rivers, and after a little more thought I added Forrest Kline (Hellogoodbye) as well.

geek rock

The funny thing is, there is such a uniform, you could build the geek rock look with like six items.

  1. A Graphic Tee – A band tee, an ironic saying, a design, doesn’t matter, just make it faded and lived in. Put it under any of the following three items.
  2. A Jean Jacket – New, faded, or vintage. Add patches and buttons for extra geek and extra rock.
  3. A Cardigan – Nothing else to really say.
  4. A Blazer – Probably neutral, maybe not. Put it over your t-shirt or actual dress clothes (probably rumpled). Add a small flower for geeky boy charm (too big of a flower reads prom or clown, neither of which you want)

geek rock1

5. Thick Rimmed Glasses – Dark and probably in some variation of the Wayfarer shape. You could go rounder if you rough up another part of your look.

6. Button-up Shirt – Plaid or a pale plain shade or denim. Leave it rumpled, if you add a tie make skinny and crooked.

7. Annnd your optional last piece. A wind breaker, a puffy vest, a sweater vest, etc.

geek rock2

And then hair. Rivers and Forrest keep it short and in place. Ben’s is shaggy, but not too out of hand. And then there is Ryan.

I’ve seen Ryan Adams in concert, he’s incredible, but honestly I never saw his face under the mass of hair. He’s had a lot of haircuts, and I’m gonna recommend you keep it a little more reigned in than he has been of late. But he totally rocks the messy rocker look that elevates his whole style from geek to geek rock.

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Blast from the Past

The Inspiration 

“I look just like Buddy Holly, Oh-oh and you’re Mary Tyler Moore” -Weezer

buddyholly

Buddy Holly was a musician and songwriter who pioneered a lot of many of the hallmarks of modern rock and pop music. Although Holly died in 1959 at only 22, he remains immortalized in numerous songs, movies, musicals, and books about his music and influence. Critic Bruce Eder described him as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.”

The Modern Translation

Modern Buddy Holly

Style-wise Buddy Holly is the perfect embodiment of the late-50s good-guy rocker. He’s clean cut, well-kept, and charmingly genuine looking.

Tailored suits with floppy bow ties, shawl-neck cardigans, button-ups and ties, and knitwear tees are classic callbacks, that have a new life in modern fashion. Thick-rimmed glasses paired with any of these looks are the real kicker.

John Mayer is known as almost anything but a “good-guy” rocker, but his outfit at the (otherwise dull) 2015 Grammy Awards invoked classic Holly. The blue jacket, glasses, well-coiffed hair, and pink guitar were down right swoon-worthy. Especially the pink guitar.

While John Mayer may have nailed the look this time, check out consistently Holly-esque looks on New Zealand musician Willy Moon.

The Inspiration

“‘Cause you got that James Dean daydream look in your eyes.” -Taylor Swift

James Dean

James Dean was an actor that turned into a bonafide icon. He is the poster child for teenage angst and rebelling without a cause. Like Holly, Dean died young in a tragic crash. He was only 24 in 1955 and, again like Holly, has been immortalized in film, biographies, and as the bad boy of everyone’s dreams.

The Modern Translation

Modern James Dean

James Dean is angst and apathy embodied. He’s a little bit dangerous, does what he wants, and is somehow above judgement and vain.

Moto-style black leather jackets, tight white t-shirts, slim black jeans, and sunglasses make up the modern James Dean look. Largely monochrome, or at least neutral, this guy would blend in if he didn’t exude so much cool. While James Dean’s hair was usually pretty done, as per the era, the modern version can either be a slick pompodour or disheveled and a little longer.

Jamie Campbell-Bower owns the pretty, bad boy that couldn’t care if his shirt has holes in it or not, but if you are looking for the whole James-Dean-reincarnated experience, check out Milo Ventimiglia as Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls. He’s got the outfits, hair, and angst in droves.