Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, and David Bowie all probably come to mind when you think of rock style icons. But behind the vibrant colours, bright patterns, and flamboyant staples, Bruce Springsteen embraced an understated look in the eccentric world of rock and roll. He may choose jeans over sequinned body suits but that doesn’t make him any less of a style icon.
At 67 years old, Springsteen has a career spanning almost five decades, twenty Grammy awards, and 18 albums to his name (excluding live albums, EPs, and compilations.) From the start of his career to the present day, his concerts run over four hours to ‘take you out of time’, with Springsteen describing performing as ‘medicinal’ to battle his anxiety and depression. Recently, he penned his autobiography Born To Run (obviously named after the classic track and album) which he started writing after performing the coveted Super Bowl’s halftime show.
Having sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, Springsteen is now referred to as one of the world’s bestselling artists of all time (and rightly so.) With such a title, there is no question that he has become something grander than his humble working class New Jersey background. But he is still the working man’s spokesman, née hero, which is very much reflected in his choice of wardrobe.
From the start of his career, it was obvious that the Boss would not be attired in HUGO BOSS suited for the boardroom. Instead, he made an effort to create a uniform out of distressed jeans and a plain tee or a check shirt, capturing the essence of the American dream. Springsteen rocked leather jackets as effortlessly as Elvis and chose overtly masculine fabrics such as denim, denim, and well, more denim. Slim fitting jeans were a must and he deemed sleeves and buttons to be surplus. Springsteen had seen the hardships and struggles of the working class people and it was clear merely from his album covers that the New Jersey native was not forgetting where he came from anytime soon.
In the last few years, Bruce (I feel like we are on a first name basis now) has aged more gracefully than most. He has remained faithful to his snug jeans and rolled up sleeves and kept all the basics of his wardrobe more or less the same. He wears a few more accessories such as bracelets, necklaces, and earrings and usually sports some kind of crucifix which represents the faith he has both battled and embraced since childhood.
However, the Boss now also wears a few more formal pieces including waistcoats, ties, and even blazers for interviews and promotional events. With these formal staples added to his signature working man’s wardrobe, the Boss has embraced layering. Recently, on his May/June 2016 UK tour, Bruce layered his outfits on a whole new level. Here, pictured at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, he is sporting a black long sleeved t shirt (with rolled up sleeves, of course) underneath a grey marl short sleeved tee
with a navy waistcoat on top. This is all finished with a red bandana at his neck, leather wrist straps, and black slim jeans (obviously.) It is an minimalist style which would render us mere mortals looking like the guy who passed out on an Easyjet flight because he wore twelve layers in an attempt to avoid the baggage fee. But Bruce pulls it off as effortlessly as he plays a four hour show.
No matter what outfit Bruce wears, either on the streets or on the stage, his style has more to do with his evident empathy he has for the hardworking people of the world. He has always stayed true to his roots, even when he became one of the best selling artists in the world.
Written by Rachel Glass