Secret Style Icon: Glam Rock Guys

Wear your hair long, babe. You can’t go wrong.

Clockwise from top left: Brett Smiley; David Bowie; Marc Bolan; New York Dolls's Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen

L-R: David Bowie; Johnny Thunders

Glam rock, the music made wildly popular in the early ’70s by bands like Roxy Music, T. Rex, and David Bowie, was a mix of straightforward rock & roll with bubblegum melodies and outrageous, gender-bending lyrics. But glam was an attitude as much as a sound—to be glam, you had to be wry, brash, and above all, a star. The look took the era’s hot-pants-and-glitter and dressed it up with campy theatricality and sci-fi futurism. The result was a sort of androgynous junk shop glamour the world had never seen before: boys in glittery makeup and corkscrew hair, candy-colored furs and smudged lipstick, all teetering atop a pair of six-inch platform boots. Here, a guide to becoming a Dandy in the Underworld:

Clockwise from top left: Givenchy Mascara, $29 via Sephora; Stila Smudge Pot, $8 via All Cosmetics; Fuschia Nail Polish, $3 via Forever 21; Henry Holland sunglasses, $127 via Asos; Sea NY sweater, $250 via Oxygen Boutique; Mother Flared Jeans, $230 via StyleBop; Glitter shoes, $97 via Topshop; Bowler bag, $70 via Asos.

Clockwise from top left: Faux fur jacket, $100 via Modekungen; Shu Uemura False Eyelashes, $25 via Liberty London; Jumpsuit, $50 via Oasis; Christian Dior Lipstick in Blazing Red, $30 via Sephora; Stone Ring, $18 via Asos; Stila Sparkle Liquid Eyeliner, $20 via Zappos; Pink clutch, $29 via Zara; Gold platforms, $100 via Topshop

Clockwise from top left: False Eyelashes, $9 via Warehouse; Dior Nail Polish in Massai Red, $22 via Nordstrom; Heart stickers, $3 via Mulberry Bush; Star bracelet, $40 via Topshop; Suede satchel, $120 via Asos; Jeffrey Campbell Cuffed Shoes, $175 via Solestruck; Velvet dress, $100 via Topshop

All That Glitters from RookieMag on 8tracks.

Illustration by Minna


  • neelybat January 9th, 2012 3:04 PM

    thank you for this! i’ve been on a huge roxy music kick lately. xo

  • Susann January 9th, 2012 3:05 PM

    That last outfit idea is great!
    And I’m just about to listen to all those songs!

  • iloveyouivat January 9th, 2012 3:22 PM

    beautiful. I love love love this


  • eggzonable January 9th, 2012 3:42 PM

    Oh, my. Love the glam rock compilation! Music of my life.

    My mom has a bunch of glam clothing. For example those thick-heel boots (violet!) which fit me perfeclty.

    Breakfast on Pluto and Velvet Goldmine are brilliant movies (and soundtracks rock!) and you can gain knowledge about those times. And if you like TV Series, I highly recommend british Life On Mars.

  • LL January 9th, 2012 4:00 PM

    Great piece! But one thing — That’s Johnny Thunders not Syl Sylvain! Keep up the excellent work Rookie!

  • soybrain January 9th, 2012 4:31 PM

    aw, this is great! I need to embrace my inner glam-rocker immediately.

  • MissKnowItAll January 9th, 2012 4:46 PM

    I’ve died and gone to glitter heaven!!!

  • spatergator January 9th, 2012 5:03 PM

    Glad we’re on the same tip style and tune wise.

    I’m so refreshed that there is now teen girl-specific reading material that recommends “wry, brash” behavior over “fun & flirty,” or puts Can and Brain Eno on the listening station rather than another buzzband flavor-of-the-month. I’m 22 now but maaan wish I had rookie when I was 15.

    • Leeann January 9th, 2012 5:39 PM

      This comment made my day — thank you! I’m 31 and wish I had Rookie when I was 15 too!

  • SpencerBowie January 9th, 2012 6:05 PM


    Thank you Rookie for being so cool, you actually know who Brian Eno is! The playlist is perfect, and the glitter is to die for!

    Y’all also seem to get that Glam, as well as any style persona, is all about attitude and lifestyle much more than just what ones wearing!

    I so love this site for declaring that, and I’m a 21 year old guy! A Glam Rocker Androgynous yes, but still a guy!

    In fact, I’m wearing a pair of platform boots on my break at work! I think y’all struck a chord with young Glam Rockers this month. Any other website would make us feel like we’re in our 50′s! Not that there’s anything wrong with that! :)


    Also, I love that y’all are siteing early Glam Rock, instead of 80′s Hair Metal that every other site would pass as pure glam. Love Hair Metal, but there’s a time and place and mood for it! ;)

  • suburban grrrl January 9th, 2012 6:43 PM

    Does anyone else just think of Vince Noir and his mirror ball suit immediately now when you here glam rock? I can’t help it!

    • dandylioness January 10th, 2012 7:45 AM

      Someone else who knows Vince Noir… Rookie just keeps getting better and better!

  • willow January 9th, 2012 6:47 PM

    Y’all should google the d00dz of X Japan, feast for the eyesss

  • norienoire January 9th, 2012 6:52 PM

    Awesome playlist. Hang on to Yourself is such a great Bowie tune, but then again pretty much anything of his is automatically fabulous.

  • Moxx January 9th, 2012 7:37 PM

    Aaaaaaaaa I love this!

    I always felt like no one liked glam rock anymore… so glad that I’ve been proven wrong!

  • RockHatesMiriam January 9th, 2012 7:53 PM

    Oooooh sparkly… This playlist is just what I needed on my iPod! Thanks for making my life cooler…

  • burn-your-flesh January 9th, 2012 8:28 PM

    I looooove this, especially the jumpsuit one.

  • Olivia January 9th, 2012 8:55 PM

    omg yes. these outfits are top notch.

  • jadeione January 9th, 2012 11:18 PM

    Wow. All this time I did not know that I used to have the exact same haircut as Brett Smiley. I feel 800 times cooler now.

  • nana January 10th, 2012 1:09 AM

    I love the first set of outfits. They are awesome.

  • Caitlin H. January 10th, 2012 3:55 AM

    Aw yaya Bowie!! Now I actually have somne female fashion tips instead of just trying to dress like him. Thankyou!!!

  • babyboomerang January 10th, 2012 9:09 AM

    where is the star sweater from?!

    also, if you like glam, there’s this new band from chicago that’s got a glammy sound to them – MICKEY ( “wild kind” “my lady” and “she’s so crazy”

  • Flavia January 10th, 2012 4:55 PM

    LOVE THIS!! Glam rock rocks!!!

  • lilghostie January 10th, 2012 9:39 PM

    HELLOOOOOO!!! WHERRE IS GARRY GLITTER? I LOVE YOU GUYS BUT REALLY? david bowie almost makes it better but not quite.

  • burnblack January 11th, 2012 12:12 AM

    I was super into glam rock in high school, and I totally appreciate this kinda post.

    And not to be a total turd or anything, but that’s Johnny Thunders in that first New York Dolls picture.

  • Morris January 11th, 2012 2:02 PM

    im no in love :(

  • katie January 11th, 2012 5:26 PM

    not exactly glam-rock, but the horrors are nice style inspiration as well.

  • fung-eyed January 12th, 2012 1:14 PM

    last night I saw the coolest bowie but not at all bowie- like act ever ! TOTAL 2012 AMAZAZEMENT.

  • stellar January 15th, 2012 6:17 PM

    wow, i remember cutting my hair ala Bowie, etc. but in a parochial high school had to do much of that on the side …

  • magali January 16th, 2012 3:21 AM

    David Bowie is AMAZING. Nuff said.

  • TV Diner January 17th, 2012 2:19 PM

    Hey !

    Have you all ever looked at British designer Keanan Duffty’s blog? It’s amazing – he is the real thing. So refreshing to see GLAM being celebrated in all it’s glory ! Thank you!!!!

  • bethleeroth January 18th, 2012 8:30 AM

    Everyone do yourself a favor and get the demo track acoustic version of Planet Queen by T.Rex.

  • MissKnowItAll January 30th, 2012 7:53 PM

    Is it just me or does David Bowie look pretty cute in that black and white pic.