Deciding what to wear at a metal concert can be tricky. Do you look to make an individual statement or blend in with others in the crowd?
When deciding what to wear at a metal concert, music fans often wear dark colors and shirts with band logos, as well as stylized accessories and sturdy footwear to cope with long periods of standing.
There’s no definitive right or wrong when heading to a metal show. And there will always be an eclectic range of fashion styles on display.
However, there are always certain trends that stand out no matter what type of show or decade the show is held in. So what should you wear at a metal concert?
Understanding The Metal Fashion Scene
Choosing what to wear at a metal concert isn’t something that has any set rules. Anyone can go to a show and have a unique look without any drama. But, if you want to fit in with others in the crowd, it’s worth considering a few things.
First off, there’s the basic matter of supporting the band who is headlining the show. Take a look around at any crowd at you see a lot of the same thing. Fans wearing shirts or merch belonging to that band.
Many will wear shirts or tops bearing the band’s logo, but that might not be the only item of clothing. Fans might have sweatbands or jewelry marked with a band’s emblem or logo. Wearing any item that links you to the band automatically shows you blend in with the crowd.
What you will also notice is that many people will wear black clothes too. Even if it is the middle of summer. With black being a particularly common color at metal shows, black apparel always helps you blend in even if it is just a plain top.
Dressing For The Venue
Outside of just fitting in with others around you, dress appropriately for the kind of venue the show is being held at. There are huge differences in what you should wear if you are heading to an outside festival compared to a show in a small bar.
These choices shouldn’t be made on genre type alone though. It’s also about choosing what is best to keep you comfortable for the show and safe too. So how should you approach this?
Dressing for indoor shows
Indoor gigs generally give you a bit more flexibility in what you can wear at a metal concert. You don’t have to worry about unpredictable weather or different floor surfaces.
As all indoor venues are enclosed spaces with lots of people inside, avoid multiple layers. Wearing just a t-shirt or sleeveless shirt will prevent you from overheating in a crowd. Overheating in crowds can be a problem as touched upon by Prof. Louise Burke OAM, Chair Of Sports Nutrition at Australian Catholic University.
“We can absorb heat from our environment. Lots of bodies cramped into a room adds to normal body heat as well as heat generated by dancing. All this heat then radiates in the absence of any natural airflow,” she remarks.
Also, wear non-slip footwear at a show. Wearing sneakers or slippy-soled shoes is a nightmare if you are on a wet surface. And indoor shows will always see people spilling drinks making the floor slippery.
So wearing sturdy shoes such as a pair of Doc Martens or boots gives you two benefits – the assurance that you won’t slip, and extra foot support for standing all day.
Dressing for outdoor shows
Being outdoors gives you a bit more to consider about your choice of dress. You have to think about changing weather conditions and what the ground might be like at the show.
If you are going to an outdoor show, definitely think about wearing a hat. Hats are a good way to protect you from the sun and help avoid getting sunstroke. Finding one with a band logo or emblem also helps blend in with the crowd.
It’s here where wearing looser items can be beneficial – particularly on a hot day.
If the sun is bearing down, there’s nothing worse than overheating. So wearing something with lighter colors helps you stay cool and show a bit of character in the process too.
How To Express Your Individuality At A Show
As important as it is to be sensible about what you wear, how you dress at shows also makes a statement about yourself.
Metal shows are no exception. For some individuals, they want to be seen by others and will do whatever they can to stand out. And this won’t come by wearing a particular shirt or shoe type.
Expect to see plenty of fans go out in heavy makeup to make their statement. There will be lots of heavy eyeliner, dark lipsticks and pale cheek blushes.
On top of that, expect to see plenty of outrageous jewellery choices too. At a metal show, there can be no holding back with big and bold jewelry pieces. This could be spiked rings, choker necklaces, or big bracelets. You’ll also see plenty of piercings too – be it in ears, nose or tongues.
Don’t be surprised to see striking haircuts too at shows where people want to be different. Many people will dye their hair just for a show. It can be dyed black or mixed in two-tone schemes with more primary colors such as red or green. Fans do this to look different from contemporaries or to associate with the band themselves.
That isn’t the only thing you see with hair styling either. Expect people to go all out in making their hairstyle plain to see. Some people will opt for buzz cuts but others go in the opposite direction.
That’s when you see people breaking out the punk-inspired spikes or long hair that stretches down past the shoulders. It’s a way for people to show who they are and what they are about.
What Outfits Should You Avoid At Metal Shows?
Although there are no official rules about what you should not wear to a show, there are some obvious things to consider.
Firstly, no one is going to be seen at a metal show wearing a suit or cocktail dress. Not only would these be uncomfortable to move about in at a show, but they generally look sorely out of place in the metal scene.
Another thing you really shouldn’t do is go to anything wearing open-toed shoes. If you are in a crowd full of people, having your toes exposed runs the risk of them getting trampled – repeatedly.
Getting a broken toe a few minutes into a multi-hour show will leave you deeply uncomfortable. So keep them protected.
Finally, there’s the matter of picking anything with political or sensitive slogans.
If people are going to a show, they are there for the music. So wearing something offensive or derogatory will create unwanted attention.
And if it is too extreme, you can also get removed from the show itself. So don’t make a scene for the wrong reasons.
Can you wear band T-shirts even if that band isn’t playing that show?
Yes – wearing any band t-shirt that fits in with the acts playing is generally appreciated. It shows that you are into the genre itself and can even spark up some productive conversations with other fans.
Can I wear sunglasses at shows?
It depends on where the show is being held. If you are at an indoor show, they aren’t practical as the main lights are off when bands play.
But they can be useful at outdoor festivals during the day. That’s where they can reduce glare and improve visibility from afar.
Do I have to wear black clothes at a metal show?
No – it’s not like you are at a funeral. You will see plenty of people wearing different colored clothes at the show.
When deciding what to wear for a metal concert, think about what works for the band you are seeing, and what matches the look you want to go for.
At the end of the day, knowing what to wear at a metal concert is up to you. Most people going to shows have an idea of what they should wear when going out.
Putting on band apparel is always a good starting point, as it shows your interest in the acts at a show. But it also helps to dress appropriately for the venue so you stay comfortable as it progresses.
There’s nothing wrong with pursuing some individuality in your dress sense either. Donning some makeup or creating funky hairstyles is always going to be appreciated by others in the crowd.
Special thanks to Prof. Louise Burke OAM