Boy band style has evolved, but it will always match
The cult comedy of 2001 Josie and the Pussycats opens with a scene of the members of the fictional boy band DuJour arguing in their private plane. Dressed in their skin-tight leather pants and flame-print tank tops, two singers of the band battle to steal each other’s iconic model poses. “It’s my face,” says Seth Green’s character. It’s satire, sure, but a moment that reflects a very real time in the early 2000s, when boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync dominated the charts (and magazine covers) with their outfits. assorted.
Boy bands, of course, existed well beyond their 2000 craze. 1950, with the rise of doo-wop bands like the Cadillacs. But it was the Beatles of the 1960s who are widely regarded as the first boy band to become a global sensation. The English rock band – with their signature bowl cuts and sharp suits and ties – created such widespread hysteria that their fandom even earned their own nickname: Beatlemania. It didn’t take long for other boy bands to grow: The Beach Boys, The Jackson 5 and The Monkees also gained traction during the groovy decade. Each group came up with a distinctive fashion flavor; the Beach Boys, for example, embodied a cheeky surfer vibe. But they all matched.
In the decades since, boy bands have expanded into virtually every genre of music, from rap to pop. The coordinated modes remained constant. In the 90s, bands such as Boyz II Men embraced the preppy style with their Brooks Brothers tennis suits and sweaters. The Backstreet Boys also burst onto the scene and became one of the most coordinated bands to ever exist. (They matched virtually everything from overalls to motorcycle jackets.) In the 2000s, boy bands like ‘NSync and B2K all dressed so much alike that they became the focus of many parodies, including in the aforementioned. Josie and the Pussycats as well as the 2001 MTV movie 2 together.
During the 2010s, the appetite for boy bands did not subside. The Jonas Brothers and One Direction have ignited fandoms around the world and cultivated their own unique looks. The Jonas Brothers had a penchant for trios of skinny jeans, and One Direction was fixated on even skinnier suits. In the late 2010s, the style of boy bands evolved to become a bit more sleek and understated. K-pop groups like BTS really set that standard: The seven members wore stylish clothes from high-fashion brands like Celine, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton, pushing a new memo that outfits shouldn’t match per se. but rather loosely go together artfully.
Unsurprisingly, the K-pop genre still dominates this space. The latest buzzing band is South Korean Tomorrow x Together, who appeared on hello america in July wearing traditional suit waistcoats and ties. Compared to the more kitschy outfits worn by bands in the 1990s and 2000s, the new look of boy bands seems to be about simplification and refocusing on the music. That’s definitely not a bad thing! But we’ll just always have a soft spot for matching disco ball shirts.