We’ve all dreamed of it. The heart-wrenching, tear-inducing song lyrics written about you, them dedicating songs to you at their concerts, you tagging along on tour and attending celeb-filled after parties celebrating the night’s earlier win at the Grammy awards. From the classic pairings making up ABBA, the tumultuous public relationship of Pam and Tommy and the groupie lifestyle of Almost Famous to the oddly perfect love matches of Kourtney Kardashian, Travis Barker, Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, the life of a rockstar’s girlfriend has always been seen as one full of fun, where the problems of us mere mortals hold no weight.
The obsession with celebrity couplings is not a new one. As long as there have been celebrities, there have been celebrity partners and the media, the fans, and the haters have always been desperate to seek out any juicy gossip they can get. The intrigue perhaps spans from living vicariously through the fantasy. You have to admit, having a rockstar lover appears to have many perks – having unlimited funds to create coordinated, over the top designer outfits being just one the internet is most obsessed with.
Many generations have an evident fascination with the rockstar ‘girlfriend’ idea. Pop culture bashes the idea out to an audience ready to lap it up. Near every generation has grown up with many films based on falling in love with a musician. Every love song sung by an artist leaves out a detailed description of appearance to make each person believe the song could be about them. We fall for the false promise sold to us by an expert marketing team who spend their days capitalising on misplaced hope. We’re shown a life of extravagance, endless partying, and once in a lifetime experiences that we still believe could be true even after musicians release their ‘tell all’ documentaries. Of course, we’re going to want to get in on that.
To do so, TikTok creators have been turning to the app to show off outfits planned for rockstar ‘girlfriend’ occasions that are more than unlikely to happen. As with many TikTok trends, these videos are an excuse to get stupidly dressed up and wear stuff most wouldn’t have the confidence to step outside in. In these videos, not only are people living out the dream of not being painfully single, but they’re having fun, experimenting, and attempting to recreate the effortless chic and confidence exuded by those who, much to the envy of fans, get to date musicians.
It’s not just on TikTok that people are living this fantasy. Spotify and Youtube are full of playlists offering up the chance to feel like a rockstar’s girlfriend for four or so hours as you go about your day, a vital step in nailing the rockstar girlfriend aesthetic. It’s not only the clothes you choose to wear, the way you do your makeup, or the way you style your hair. It’s the way you move, the way you feel, the way you encapsulate that feeling you’re untouchable, the one and only person in the eyes of someone who could have whoever they want. That confidence is the key – even if it’s fake.
Megan Fox is largely responsible for this fantastical aesthetic and the dream life accompanying it. She is the epitome of the grunge-glam rockstar girlfriend. She brought her sought-after aesthetic to the masses with a boohoo collaboration featuring key pieces inspired by her wardrobe. Items included barely-there dresses, thigh-high boots, boyfriend jeans, a glammed-up varsity jacket, a blazer dress, and various crop tops, to name a few. Unfortunately, it’s not very ‘rockstar girlfriend’ to buy from a company with an environmental rating of ‘Not Good Enough’ and a labour treatment rating of ‘Very Poor. A company that has taken no meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals from their production cycle and who shares no evidence of simply ensuring payment of a living wage to those in its supply chain.
Since meeting Kelly and celebrity stylist Maeve Reilly, Fox consistently serves eye-catching fits dominated by leather and mesh, compared to her fast fashion offerings. She favours pieces from Mugler, Bottega Veneta and LaQuan Smith, which she frequently coordinates with her rockstar fiancé, all while managing to avoid inducing in us that sickly feeling of matchy-matchy couples.
Unlike Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, you don’t need to drink another’s blood, chain yourself together via nail art, or talk solely in quotes taken straight off of Tumblr to exude this grunge-glam rockstar girlfriend look. Don’t let the name fool you; the trend is not reducing anyone to merely a girlfriend. You don’t need to be a “girl” or have a rockstar partner to nail this aesthetic. You simply have to lean into the flamboyant fantasy of dating a rockstar even though you’re only nipping to the shop to pick up a loaf of bread.
While this aesthetic may seem niche, all it is is a play on sexed-up grunge-glam – which has been around forever. This look has forever been the uniform of rockstar girlfriends and groupies, who have always perfectly meshed glam and grunge to catch the eye of those in the spotlight while sticking true to who they are. The look is over the top yet understated, put together yet effortless, playful yet sexy – seriously sexy.
The go-to look is high-fashion meets alternative punk rocker. It goes without saying that leather pieces are a must: jackets, trousers, boots, handbags, corset tops. Since releasing the trailer for Hulu/Disney+’s ‘Pam and Tommy’ in December 2021, searches for “black leather corset” (one of Anderson’s most famous looks) increased by 45% on eBay. Animal print is another staple piece, replacing neutral tones in the lives of those in the spotlight. On the rockstar girlfriend, animal print visually represents their stance in life. The links between animal print and feminist ideology are undeniable; just like the primal creatures of this world, the people wearing animal print are powerful, independent, beautiful, adaptable in every environment and are out to fend for themselves.
Worn by royals and punk rockers, sex workers and first ladies, animal print is expensive or trashy. On the one hand, there is a kind of old-money femininity evoked by the thought of animal print. This confidence comes from financial stability, untouchable privilege, the ability to have and do whatever you want. Simultaneously, animal print signals trashiness and low brow taste, which brands women who behave ‘badly’ and are ‘untamed’. This meshing of high and low culture perfectly simulates what the rockstar girlfriend is all about.
The only rule of this aesthetic is you have to go all out. You can’t be scared or try to over-refine the way you look. Go with what you want to wear and wear it with confidence. The way something is worn completely changes the effect of an outfit. It may sound cliché, but most clichés generally wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t at least a kernel of truth in them. If you feel good, your glow will elevate your outfit. If you’re uncomfortable, your shoulders will hunch, your face will show it, and you’ll look as weird as you feel. The rockstar girlfriend wears everything with ease. They don’t care what people are saying about them. They know they look good and invite everyone to look at them and appreciate the fit. If nothing else, let’s take that sentiment from this aesthetic.
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