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The eight style lessons we can learn from Bob Dylan

It’s impossible to overstate the impact Bob Dylan has had not only in music but also in fashion. Sure, the man who famously once said “All I can be is me – whoever that is” has raised eyebrows in the past for his bold fashion choices, but Dylan has always demonstrated how varied rock-star style can be. And when you look at artists such as Harry Styles and Mark Ronson, his influence is even more easy to spot. 

Here’s our pick of Dylan’s best looks over the years…

1/8

1964

Why it works: Shot here to promote the release of his album The Times They Are A-Changin’, a 22-year-old Dylan opts for a pretty simple look. His unbuttoned striped Oxford shirt paired with straight-cut washed jeans are bought together neatly by an understated (yet very effective) buckled leather belt. As for his messy shirt tuck? It completes the nonchalant look with aplomb.

© Michael Ochs Archives

2/8

1965

Why it works: At first glance, you may think you’re looking at a young Mark Ronson, but, nope, it’s Dylan, and this just highlights the impact he has had on fashion and music to this day. Sunglasses worn indoors adds a star quality to any outfit, as proven with Dylan’s blazer and T-shirt combo. You can also see the early signs of his shaggy hair that later became synonymous with his style. 

© Doug McKenzie

3/8

1969

Why it works: When it came to nailing airport style, no one did it quite like Bob Dylan (pictured here with then-wife Sarah Lownes). This leather, double-breasted, belted peacoat is a thing of wonder and, paired with white jeans and loafers, you’re looking at an unbeatable aviator outfit. Style note: when you’re that cool, you should never hold a bag by its handle. Clutch it under your arm instead – no questions asked.

© Evening Standard

4/8

1977

Why it works: Seen here attending a Ronee Blakley concert at The Roxy Club in Los Angeles, Dylan expertly demonstrates how to master layering. Carefully considering the levels of your outfit will always set you high on the style scale. For this look in particular, the main point of focus is that classic 1970s collar. With its bold check design elongated over his refined leather jacket – and paired with light denim-wash jeans – his appearance states “casual and carefree”.

© Ron Galella

5/8

1978

Why it works: When Bob Dylan performed on stage during the late-1970s, there was one rule and one rule only: the louder the look, the better (a mindset he shared with David Bowie, that other style icon of the same decade). Case in point: this head-to-toe white look Dylan rocked in 1978. 

© Keith Baugh

6/8

1984

Why it works: Sometimes small details in a tux are all you need to make a statement. Rule number one: an oversized cuff coming out of the sleeve creates shape, and extra brownie points if you top it off with a bold cufflink. Rule number two: opting for a Western string bow tie makes a welcome change to a classic. Rule number three: always embrace blacked-out aviators indoors because, well, you’re Bob Dylan, baby.

© Time Life Pictures

7/8

1984

Why it works: Animal print is something that many men shy away from in their wardrobes, but Dylan perfectly demonstrates how to master it. The main lesson being that you have to really commit to the look – and that even extends to grooming. From his wild, untamed hair to that tiger-ish lick of guy-liner, these are all elements which add up to complement Dylan’s shirt without overshadowing it.

© Pete Still

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