Ask Nelia: Rockstar Essentials


“WHAT can I wear – Me, in NYC, asking this! – to sing lead in an up-and-coming band? It’s winter: I was thinking leather pants – but I can’t find any! Tried our H&M – no. Tried Gap: chunky motorcycle leather pants that make my petite frame look lumpy. So I’m just going for slim stretchy pants – unless you can suggest something. Since it gets really hot under the lights, I favor sleeveless tops – and my arms are pretty good b/c I take kung fu. The look I’m trying for is a cross between rocker and the Lumineers/hipsters. I do have awesome sandals (black strappy ones with silver studs) or good, utilitarian-but-feminine boots (black, pointy). Hair? Bangs or no? Short or as long as I can get it? Makeup?” – Suze

Answer After The Jump!

Dear Suze, first of all, you are living my dream life. Fronting a rock band? How cool is that?! And although, from the sound of it, it seems that you actually already know what you’d like to wear, I’ll still give you my two cents on this…if only because being in a band has always been a dream of mine.

Here’s the deal, Suze. You are a mutha-effing frontwoman of this band, so in my mind…you can wear whatever the hell you want. You are right in saying that you set the tone for the look of this band, and if you’d like to look more rock than folk, then go for it! In my personal rockstar dream sequence, I wear a muscle tee (to show off those guns), a pair of leather pants (or stretchy waxed denim for more comfort), and an awesome leather jacket (red for high impact). In my dream, I also have bright lipstick on (a la Gwen Stefani), and winged eyeliner that stays on all night long. All of the above will help you look and feel the part of a kick-ass rockstar chick, and give you the confidence boost on stage.

But, as awesome as that look is in my books, it’s also fairly generic. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I think it’s going to take you a bit of time to find one that feels like you. Good news is…there is a bevy of inspiring women out there, each with a unique look that they’ve made their own. Personally, I love Solange Knowles’ stage (and real life) style. Her stylist is a master print-mixer, and Solange always ends up looking fresh and stylish. Granted, she’s no rockstar, but I hope you get my point.

Whether your steeze is more Gwen Stefani than Adele, it’s not a bad thing to experiment with different looks until you find one that fits. In the meantime, the staples above is an awesome way to get you into that rockstar zone. Don’t let those sloppy bandmates of yours make you feel guilty about wanting to dress up, perhaps one day soon, they’ll follow suit, and rockstar-suit-up too. Good luck with your band, and don’t forget to send me an invite to your show when you guys make it big!



PS. If you have a style dilemma, email with subject Ask Nelia and your question might be featured on the blog!



  1. says

    My daily life is sadly more desk than rockstar, but love this outfit your put together! Great Top Gun tank – and I need to track down some hot leather pants!

  2. Suze says

    GREAT fun! Terrific outfits and definitely agree with the makeup! (Have you tried Sephora’s gold glitter eyeliner, with black, black eyelashes?) The gig was Thursday night, but I must have intuited your answers. LOL Leather jacket (black), slim, stretchy black cuffed pants from Express over cool black leather boots. It was colder both out- and in-side than I thought it would be, so I wore a stretchy, striped shirt – more folk rock, but warmer. (I’ll save my black, beaded bustier for outdoor concerts this spring. If it’s cool, I’ll opt for the red leather jacket. 😉 ) Experimenting is the best! Thanks so much for this. Rock out! Suze P.S. Covered a Rickie Lee Jones song. Nailed it.

  3. suze says

    BTW, where did you get the red leather jacket? It’s a classic, and the “right” shade of red.

    Mnythx! Suze

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