Film’s Most Fashionable Bands, Ranked


This week, the first photo from Universal Pictures’ Jem and the Holograms live-action adaptation popped up online. The musical movie stars Aubrey Peeples as Jem, the onstage alter-ego of Jerrica Benton, who owns Starlight Music and runs a foster home for girls. Jem and her band are the epitome of 1980’s fashion, boasting big hair, neon colors, and gaudy accessories. The picture inspired us to take a look at some of cinema’s most fashionable bands. In the spirit of competition, we’ve also ranked them. Here are ten of the best-dressed bands in film (or at least some of the most interesting) who made the cut. Feel free to add to our list, below.

10. Tim Cappello’s fake band in The Lost Boys

Musician Tim Cappello knows how to make the sex with a saxophone and is famous for his time on stage with Tina Turner. But his creepy studded codpiece get-up in The Lost Boys isn’t his finest moment (or is it?). Still, there’s something to be said for a guy who doesn’t give any f*cks and lets his greasy locks fly while he wails away on his instrument. His oiled-up look has also inspired a few imitators, including Jon Hamm’s character Sergio on Saturday Night Live. The bigger fashion plate in Cappello’s band is his guitarist with the glorious magenta afro. More of her, please.

9. The Soggy Bottom Boys in O Brother, Where Art Thou

It’s all about the whiskers.

8. Paranmaum in Linda Linda Linda

All-girl teen group Paranmaum put on a concert at their high school’s culture festival in their schoolgirl uniforms. The skirts, bows, knee socks, and messy ponytails are charming. Any other attire just wouldn’t do.

7. Julee Cruise’s band in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

If Courtney Love as Marilyn Monroe did dream pop. The bleached fringe, kinderwhore makeup, and prom dress combo stands up to Twin Peaks‘ red-lit bar.

6. Johnny and the Persuaders in Johnny Suede

While Brad Pitt’s Johnny Suede is no Freak Storm (all hail Nick Cave as the gloriously coiffed musician), his pompadour is still worthy of praise. Suede’s ’50s-style wardrobe adds to his allure. His bandmates, The Persuaders, are certainly no schlubs. It takes guts to wear a yellow beret.

5. Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators in Some Like it Hot

It’s nothing but sparkles and glamorous evening gowns for these gals, who know how to handle a sax in kitten heels.

4. The Carrie Nations in Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls

Sexploitation king Russ Meyer’s 1970 musical melodrama features fashions that alternate between flower power headbands and romantic blouses, to tailored men’s suit looks à la Annie Hall (though Woody Allen’s film was released seven years later) — signifying the real-life socio-political clashes of the times. Bandmates Kelly MacNamara (Dolly Read), Casey Anderson (Cynthia Myers), and Petronella Danforth (Marcia McBroom) also sport irresistible big hair, pale lips, and loads of eyeliner.

3. The Undeads in Phantom of the Paradise

Glam-goth group The Undeads were created by Swan (Paul Williams), a Mephistophelian record producer that mercilessly exploits fads and talented artists. To wit: the Undeads, dressed up to look like Cesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, are the perfect opening act for Swan’s latest discovery — a rock opera version of Faust as performed by deceptively macho lead singer Beef (the hysterical Gerrit Graham), written by title character, played by William Finley. It’s hard to resist a group that looks like refugees from a German expressionist masterpiece.

2. Maxwell Demon and the Venus in Furs in Velvet Goldmine

If we have to take a side when it comes to the glam bands of Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine and who wore the platform boots and glitter better, we’re team Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Since Ewan McGregor channels a shirtless Iggy Pop as Curt Wild in his fictional band The Wylde Ratttz, there isn’t much fashion to judge (though his sweat and glitter game is on point). Slade’s alter ego Maxwell Demon (à la Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust) and backing band The Venus in Furs are decidedly decadent when it comes to their costumes, oozing sex and swagger.

1. The Stains in Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

Baby-faced punk Corinne Burns and her band The Stains pull off an effortlessly cool look that’s still as fashionable today as it was 33 years ago. The lightning bolt makeup is theatrical, but doesn’t look forced and becomes Corinne’s signature. The oversized beret, no-pants performances, red and black combo, fishnets, heeled boots, and skunk mullet are forces to be reckoned with. When Corinne tells Billy, “You are so jealous of me. I’m everything you ever wanted to be,” all we can do is nod silently in agreement.