When record labels spend money developing an artist, the process usually includes a stylist. The music may be great but if a band's outfits aren't, the whole experience can be totally lost on an audience. Musicians are trend setters, fans look to them because they identify with their music and also want to identify with their style. Fashion and music are both art forms and musicians need to think about the whole package when developing their style, especially in a competitive business like the music business.
The Outrageous Look
Musicians that want to be remembered can go for the outrageous look. Outrageous clothes are fashion forward, big, colorful and unexpected. Clothing has to project across the stage to large audiences or through the television set and the more exaggerated the clothes, the more they will be noticed. Outrageous clothing items including tight dresses, high heels, bright colored suits and big accessories can really make an artist stand out. Dressing outrageously has worked well for artist like Bjork, David Bowie, Lady Gaga and Prince.
The Matching Band
Matching outfits present music and style in a nicely packaged theme. They can also make a band instantly recognizable. Matching outfits don't have to match piece for piece but they should have complementary styles and colors. Matching outfits were popular in the 1950s and then again in the 1990s with many bands like Boys II Men, Backstreet Boys, N'sync and Destiny's Child. Matching bands can wear any type of clothing including casual wear as long as they match.
The Opposite Look
Most musicians match their clothing to the mood of their music but bands can get attention by doing the opposite. The opposite look means appearing different than the lyrics and genre of music that you make. It can be an attention grabber because it is unexpected. The lead singer of Digital Underground stood out by dressing as a nerdy prep while performing rap music and the Gym Class Heroes have an alternative rock style not usually seen in their musical genre of hip hop.
They may end up fodder for Halloween, but costume bands use the tactic to add to the musical experience. Costumes differ from the outrageous look because the theme always remains the same even if the clothes vary. Costume bands are popular with rock and metal bands. Notable costume bands include Kiss, the Village People, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic and Slipknot. Even the Beatles indulged in costumes on their Sgt. Pepper album.