It’s a well-known fact that David Bowie’s influence is not just limited to the world of music, but is also evident in the world of fashion. His mythology was partially built on his outlandish, creative outfits on the stage which corresponded with whatever character he was trying to craft at the time. And yes, many of his outfits are just plain weird, but there are still lots of cues we can take from Bowie and incorporate into our own outfits for new twists on classic menswear.
1. Motorcycle jackets are and always will be badass, although I wouldn’t advocate for not wearing a shirt underneath if you’re just out for a night on the town. But if you still want to go for the simplicity of this type of outfit, you can always go the all black route (which seems to be a favorite of this blog) and wear a black crew-neck sweatshirt or tee underneath. If you want to dress it up a little more, a white dress shirt with a black tie would also work well. Since there’s already a bit going on when one wears a motorcycle jacket, simplicity is key for what you wear with it. Too much leather or too many zippers/buttons can start to look really tacky, really quickly.
2. We move to a picture from early on in Bowie’s career. I’m pretty sure the color version of this photo reveals that Bowie is wearing a brightly-colored mustard suit and shirt, but I actually think that an all neutral, grey-toned version of this outfit is kind of awesome. It’s a great lesson in how to wear a suit more casually (i.e. without a dress shirt and tie). There’s an effortless cool to this look, which is actually pretty common amongst many of Bowie’s outfits. Plus his hat is super trendy by today’s standards, and Bowie was wearing it 50 years in advance.
3. Here we’ve got a photo of Bowie in full-on “Thin White Duke” mode. I’m mostly partial to this look because it’s the one he adopted while promoting his Station to Station album which is my all-time favorite of his. It’s also refreshing to see one of Bowie’s more minimal outfits considering how elaborate some of his looks got (see anything from the Ziggy Stardust era) . But here we again have that sense of “effortless cool” Bowie exudes regardless of what character he’s playing. He’s wearing the hell out of a plain white dress shirt. I’m not guaranteeing (translation: there’s no way in hell) you’ll look like this if you wear a white shirt and black pants, but it’s worth a shot. The aesthetic idea behind this outfit is what matters, and I think the “less is more” mentality is important to adopt when attempting fashion.
4. Bowie gives aspiring icons plenty of lessons in suiting twists. Experimenting with suit color has been a trend lately on a number of red carpet events; so have double-breasted suits. The issue is, neither are easy to pull off, yet Bowie does both in one outfit. Maybe you won’t get away with something as bold as turquoise, but new colors are an easy way to change up menswear staples that aren’t typically thought of as capable of being unique. You just run into the danger of whether or not the color is too visually assaultive. Use caution.
5. This is a more realistic version of what picture four was getting at. Bowie does a stellar job pulling off the royal blue hues. A different material would probably make this style suit more useful to those of us who aren’t rockstars, so you should be on the lookout for something less shiny. Especially if you’re already messing around with color. One too many style swerves can make you look like you’re trying too hard if you don’t already have the credibility Bowie does.