Black and Expensive: The Style of The 1975’s Matt Healy | The Sound of Style
Sound of Style is a recurring series written by Logan Hannen breaking down style in the world of music and offering alternatives to musicians (sometimes) luxurious clothing choices
Hi, my name is Logan, and I am criminally late to the party when it comes to the four lads from the U.K. known as The 1975. These guys are doing some of the most unique things in modern, mainstream music, and the fact that it took me until the promotional campaign for their new record, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, to actually see that about them is just unacceptable. Still, I did, and part of the crash course in The 1975 that I took was learning a bunch about the band outside of the records, because I’m weird like that. Through this process, I learned about just how much the internet loves to talk about the stuff that frontman Matt Healy wears, and I decided to jump in on that conversation, and offer some ways to achieve the style affordably for the rest of us non-pop stars.
Matt really does sum up his style better than I ever could with the following -
So, black and expensive then? Surely if you just remove the “expensive” from the equation, you’ll end up with the easiest style in the world to mirror, right? Well, not exactly. First of all, I’d give that award to Hank Moody, whose uniform of black t-shirt, blue jeans, and brown Chelsea boots is far more consistently simple. But more than that, the “expensive” involved in Matt’s quote is actually vital - not because of price, but because of the weirdness you get with the brands he’s into. The dude’s style is equal parts Morrison and Morrissey, and that level of funk does not go unnoticed.
For a long time, Healy says that he would wear designer J.W. Anderson 90% of the time. He’s cited the designer as a favorite for a few reasons, not the least of which has to do with how Anderson takes modern designs and makes them feel vintage, rather than modernizing traditional, classic designs the way most brands might. This unique method of creation is very much in keeping with the aesthetic that The 1975 has managed to develop sonically, and the end result is a match made in fashion heaven.
Suede shearling jacket notwithstanding, it was a fairly common sight to see Healy in a plain black t-shirt, black biker jacket, black ultra-skinny jeans, and black boots for much of the band’s first few years in the spotlight. Equally common was Healy maintaining the all black style but making one, loud exception - something incredibly colorful, usually in the form of a shirt (occasionally, a woman’s shirt no less, which admittedly he manages to pull off in a sort of “Morrissey in the 80s” way).
Case in point:
While it isn’t 100% clear if Healy relies on Anderson for all of his wardrobe anymore, or if he has expanded his range some, one thing is certain - J.W. Anderson isn’t cheap. For example, a pretty standard hoodie will run you in the range of nearly $370 retail. While there is one element of the Anderson collection that is relatively attainable (we’ll get there in a minute), much of it is simply a lot of money for us to stomach. With that, I’m gonna take three of the pieces that Healy has been seen wearing most and find an affordable alternative or two that embodies the kind of funk that Healy, The 1975, and J.W. Anderson exude through their art. Let’s start with that shearling coat…
So the coat’s main features are really just two - it’s main construction is a beige suede, and it features shearling not just on the collar and cuffs like you’d traditionally expect, but also in four panels on the front of the coat. Chances are, there won’t be any identical items out there with the same panel design, but there is one or two that gets close.
As the example above demonstrates, you can definitely get close to the Anderson coat look without having to try too hard. The extra bit of shearling on the lapels helps to fill out the front of the coat a bit better, leaving a stronger visual impression than if it was just on the top of the collar. It helps that this one is also exponentially more affordable than the Anderson coat, while still offering that “Rockstar in Canada” kind of look. Healy did mention that the coat was mostly a functional choice, seeing as he spends nights outside after shows talking with fans and it can get pretty cold, but I can’t escape the feeling he could have found a warmer alternative for less than $2400… ANYWAY, onto the next!
Acne Studios is a brand I’ve been peripherally interested in for a really long time, and I always love hearing their name brought up in conversation, because they’re just obscure enough that, when they do come up, you know you’re talking to someone that knows their stuff. Healy clearly qualifies, and by his own description, he wears the “girl's boy-style jeans.” As you might expect, that is wildly non-descriptive, but given how tight the jeans Matt normally wears appear, it only makes sense to assume they’re a skinny fit, and since Acne offers the skinny fit in two rises, I went with the mid-rise for our purposes here. Functionally, though, they’re the same jeans, they just fit a bit differently.
Levi’s really are a gold standard when it comes to denim selection, and for the price, they’re basically unbeatable. I wear the standard 510 skinny jeans every day in varying colors, and they have proven to be a wardrobe staple for me. I’m like Matt, that way - I find a thing I like, and I buy as many of that thing as I can reasonably justify and it becomes a part of me. It’s kind of the Goldilocks effect, but for clothes, not porridge and beds. These Extreme Skinny Fits from Levi’s offer a bit tighter of a fit, but being a stretch jean, they will expand some to accommodate your unique shape. The only real downside to these is the fact that they are almost never sold in your traditional stores where you might pick up Levi’s (Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohls, etc). As a result, you’ll have to hit the internet for them, and naturally that means risking the need to return them if you don’t like how they fit. Still, if it’s doable, definitely at least give them a shot if it’s a look you’re interested in. You can always head up to the regular skinny fit or the classic 511 slim fits as well if the super skinny is just a bit too much.
The fringed biker jacket is a true rock and roll statement kind of piece. It’s equal parts Americana and punk rock, and embodies the kind of genre blending that The 1975 does so well. Naturally, the jacket that Healy owns is Yves Saint Laurent, and though the price for that specific jacket is a mystery, a current season non-fringed biker jacket from the brand goes for $5000 retail from Net-A-Porter. Not exactly something you can pick up on your next paycheck (and if you can, we need to have a chat because your boy has some student loans coming up…). However, there’s always option B.
ASOS has once again come in to save the day on a piece that is very much in the same, 70s inspired vein as the Saint Laurent piece Healy owns, but with a bit more tassel for good measure. Obviously the detailing here is the same black leather as the jacket, compared to the more colorful fringe on the Saint Laurent, but the result is a look that is equal parts expressive and subtle, and will go a long way in helping you to channel the same kind of mix-and-match vibe, but at a much more stomachable price. Oh, and it’s 100% real leather too, so that’s not a bad deal either...unless you’re a vegan, in which case maybe avoid this bit of Matt’s wardrobe…
Now, I mentioned earlier that there was an Anderson piece that was alarmingly attainable for a lot of guys, and that’s a piece that Healy himself, as far as I know, has never worn. It’s a pair of sneakers made in collaboration with Converse, of all companies (he says as if he doesn’t know that Converse also collaborate with John Varvatos). They’re called the Men's Multi-Orange Felt Chuck Taylors, and they look like this:
Okay, so the shoes are made of felt (with the traditional Chuck Taylor rubber sole), and yes, they’re both gray and orange, but y’know what, they’re some of the most inventive uses of the Chuck Taylor design that I’ve seen in a long time, and I bet they’re pretty warm in the winter too. Not only that, but at $130, you can swing into an ultra-unique, exclusive collaboration between a massive brand and a luxury designer for the price of a pair of Doc Martens, and as far as that goes, it seems like a pretty solid deal.
Alright, gents, so that’s my quick (hahahahaha) look at the style of The 1975’s Matt Healy. Something I plan to do to end these off is to leave you with my top three songs by the artist in question to check out at your leisure. For The 1975, here are my three picks:
Chocolate (This one is “the hit,” if you will, but it’s a truly solid look at the band from a total newbie perspective)
Love It If We Made It (My personal favorite so far from their new record - absolutely piercing lyrical content, and a bit of a bop too)
Somebody Else (This, as the kids these days would say, is a whole a$$ mood, and I am nearly positive we’ve all shared in the emotion on display here)
Written by Logan Hannen
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