Denim and Leather in Rock ‘n’ Roll Culture — Fashion Lessons from Rock of Ages

Julianne Hough in her denim bottoms (skirt and shorts)
Julianne Hough in her denim jacket and top

Sitting in the theater and watching Rock of ages, I was deeply touched by the carefree spirit of rock ‘n’ roll and the beauty of 80s fashion. Grow up in a traditional family, I used to misunderstand rock musicians–as other no-fans–to a sub-stream group who were as quaintly naive at best, childish and irrelevant at worst. 

But the more I learn about rock ‘n’ roll, about its great impact on not only music and fashion world, but also the whole society and individual’s daily life, the more I appreciate it. Now for me, the symbols of rock ‘n’ roll are already way beyond my words can express.

But David N. Townsend encapsulated the meanings of rock ‘n’ roll perfectly in his book Rock ‘n’ Roll Culture and Ideology–“Rock ‘n’ roll has never been just a music. It’s a movement, a lifestyle, a culture, and possibly an ideology. It is a tradition, in some ways a folklore, in many ways a belief system.” I think these are also what Rock of ages wants to convey to its audience, like a line in the movie said “Rock ‘n’ roll never dies”.

As the ideas, feelings and beliefs expressed and reflected in rock songs, they are also what fashion designers want to express. Rock music and fashion have been inextricably linked. For me, there are two timeless fashion elements can prove this link: leather and denim, especially  those with hippie-influenced details.

These two elements are also what we saw on the stunning actress Julianne Hough. From denim mini, shorts to denim top and jacket, from leather belt, stacked bangles to stud booties, she truly rocked leather and denim.

Combined with another signature look of her from Footloose, I featured four outfits (above) and how we can recreate them (below):

Details of Julianne Hough’s first “denim look”

Details of Julianne Hough's first "denim look"

Recreate Julianne’s look No.1:

Recreate Julianne's look No.1

Top: Sol Angeles  (grey one here; designer version here)

Bottom: D&G (on sale) (great style by Citizens of Humanity)

Shoes: Naughty Monkey (adore this pair)

Bag: Deena & Ozzy

Accessories: Hot Topic belt; Karen London earrings (rose gold version here); Mia & Me and Claire’s bangles

Details of Julianne Hough’s second “denim look”:

Details of Julianne Hough's second "denim look"

Recreate Julianne’s look No.2:

Recreate Julianne's look No.2

Top: Intimately Free People (or this one from Forever 21)

Vest: Forever 21 (cropped version here)

Shorts: Vans (dark washed version here)

Shoes: Report Signature (flat version here)

Accessories: Justin belt (great one here); Karen London earrings; Gigi ChicChan Luu and Candie’s bracelets; Mudd necklace (not included in the picture)

Details of Julianne Hough’s third “denim look”:

Details of Julianne Hough's third "denim look"

Recreate Julianne’s look No.3:

Recreate Julianne's look No.3

Dress: Dorothy Perkins (adore this one)

Jacket: Levi’s (or this Forever 21 version)

Boots: Mojo Moxy (great designer version here)

Accessories: Evans belt (great one here); Mia & Me and Claire’s bangles; Karen London earrings (gold version here); Essie nail polish

Details of Julianne Hough’s fourth “denim look”:

Details of Julianne Hough's fourth "denim look"

Recreate Julianne’s look No.4:

Recreate Julianne's look No.4

Top: Gap (or this one from Mango)

Bottom: Marc by Marc Jacobs (great one from Bebe)

Boots: Two Lips (adore this pair)

Bag: Ecote (limited version here)

Accessories: Karen London earrings; Forever 21 bangles here (great style here)

Of course, besides the edgy and classic, sexy yet sweet looks from Julianne Hough, Rock of ages also impressed us by lots of memorable 80s trends, like the jumpsuit, bouffant hairstyle, shoulder pad, head band… Which one is your favorite? What touched you most about that movie? Share with me!

By Helen Hou

I'm Helen. In the huge fashion world, what attracts me the most is the way different people accessorize themselves. Our daily outfit choices are not just about the pieces we pick, they relate to something lurking deeply within our hearts: how we feel about ourselves, how we express ourselves to the rest of the world, what kind of people do we want to be and what kind of life do we want to live. Following my passion for fashion, I immerse myself in this bizarre world and try my best to share what I learned with you!