Rock Casual: 9 Music Icons That Look Cooler Out of Their Iconic Outfits [Sponsored]

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They say the look makes the man/woman, but what about when all that glitters isn’t gold? Fact: No matter how big a musician’s persona gets, sometimes the casual look is just cooler. You can complete yours with pieces from the new Levi’s® Store Brooklyn, now open in Williamsburg on North 4th and Berry.

What’d Drake say about it, again? “Sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on. That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong.”

From Elvis to Bowie, Kiss to Björk, we explore the more casual styles of iconic music figures, when they aren’t looking quite so iconic.

Elvis

When it comes to Elvis, gold lame jumpsuits are only a small part of the story. The lip-curling rock’n’roll icon came of age amidst the blue collar chic of ’50s mega-hunk James Dean, so you better believe he knew how to slick back for a sock-hop or a T-bird battle. Dig those skinny jeans.

David Bowie

As ’80s glam gave way to (relatively) modest new wave regalia, the Stardust singer went a bit less adorned, sporting sweats, jeans, and suits instead. Sure Ziggy’s astral epics live in our hearts, but we can’t stop thinking about the more casual rocker cool of his two roles in bizarro short film Jazzin for Blue Jean.

Kiss

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

We’re not sure if Kiss used tongue enhancements, but their iconic makeup certainly went a long way in making a group of regular rockers look like dominatrix space clowns. Not to say that it didn’t appeal to our adolescent aesthetic, but in our older, wiser age, we prefer the laid-back look for its lack of chest hair alone.

Madonna

Whether playing material girl, leather sex queen, or ray of light, Madonna has no equal in the land of the fashion forward. But, at some point her progressively intricate diva-isms progressed so far beyond the pale that her style became unattainable to mere mortals. Sure, we bow before her as an icon, but, for hanging out, we’d much rather have early ’80s Madonna around.

Insane Clown Posse

(Photo by Scott Harrison/Getty Images)

Posse or no, juggalo clown makeup really is insane. When it comes to the clown gang’s figureheads, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, the unmasked look is unquestionably an improvement (though it’s still a pretty sketchy situation).

Björk

Even the most whimsical among us can’t ALWAYS play pixie. Before redheaded wicked witch frizz and swan dresses overshadowed a more intrinsic quirk, the young singer appeared as plain a Jane as everyone else. At least until you got her going… The Icelandic singer’s early, more subtle style was all the better at accentuating the astral pixie when it inevitably emerged.

GWAR

For dungeon-metal decadence, it’s monster GWAR all the way, but who’s gonna see you home safe after a blood-drenched evening’s insanity? We’ll take earnest metal dudes over hellspawn in any non-stage scenario. Like Kiss, these beastly shock rockers are actually pretty plain once stripped of their battle gear and ornate monster makeup. But the with no-nonsense stares and simple metal attire, we’d still follow them into the bowels of a really huge worm.

Lady Gaga

Before Lady Gaga was Lady Gaga, she was a relatively normal singer-songwriter with just a piano and some serious soul. While her far-out art experiments and outrageous fashion have certainly pushed the boundaries of pop, we still dig the purity and accessibility of that ’90s Lilith Fair look.

The Ramones

(Photo by Roberta Bayley/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Ok, ok. So The Ramones’ jeans and leather jacket look was cool and straight-up iconic from beginning to end. Never mind that in 30 years they each only owned one pair of pants. In this case, they started casual and ended casual with absolutely no need to change into anything else. Respect.

To create your own laidback rock look, head to the new Levi’s® store in Williamsburg. The Levi’s® tailor shop can hem, customize, and alter to your heart’s desire.