Queen was the band, but it was Freddie Mercury that made me want to listen to their music. I had always known Queen’s biggest hits like Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions. Images of a hockey team scoring the winning goal or the infamous Wayne’s World characters rocking out would flash through my mind whenever I heard Queen on the radio. I didn’t grow up listening to the band; they were never really a group that I knew much about. When I accidentally realized what I had been missing, I couldn’t believe I had let so many years go by without having learned about their music.
It was my last year in university when I happened upon their performance of Killer Queen (1974) on YouTube. It was a Sunday night; I had just finished my last assignment and had a few precious hours to relax before I had to start preparing for finals the following day. I was making some dinner in my kitchen, a random music mix running on YouTube in the background. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will know it was definitely a retro music mix – anything pre-1990s. In the middle of boiling some pasta on the stove, I was distracted by the song, which I had never heard before.
Their song was quick, snappy and jazzy. Freddie Mercury would look directly into the camera, holding the mic as he belted out the lyrics effortlessly. But just as quickly as he would stare down the audience, he would look away, his eyes suddenly closed. Everything about him was so confident yet so vulnerable and with that combination he owned the floor. I loved his style, the black nail polish and fur coat – such a character. I ended up listening to Queen for the rest of the evening; watching their music videos, live performances, interviews, anything I could find on the talented Freddie Mercury and his incredible band mates.
Much of Freddie’s theatrical presence, whether performing in one of their hit music videos or in front of thousands of people was his style. While I am a big fan of his songs and music, I also can’t help but feel inspired by his unique fashion style, which evolved over his musical career. From spandex to high-waisted jeans and detailed belts, Freddie’s style is influential. Here are some of my favorite elements of Freddie’s style and how I’ve managed to incorporate some of these looks into my own day-to-day wardrobe:
During world tours, selling out stadiums in the 1980s, one of Freddie’s most iconic looks were the white trousers, typically worn with a matching white shirt and a bright colored jacket. While I myself can’t pull off white jeans, I did buy a white denim jacket a couple of summers ago. The stiff denim, when paired with a vibrant blouse or accessory really makes the look pop. I often accessorize the look with bold earrings or makeup.
Black Nail Polish
Just about every modern rock star at one point or another has rocked the black nail polish and Freddie Mercury is included on that list. I’ve always loved the look of black nail polish, no matter what the season. I find it can look super sleek but also brings out that desired edge.
Aviators to me are just the coolest and I can’t help but feel awesome when I wear them. Is it the black and silver? The shape of the glasses? I don’t know, but I love them. There’s a great album cover of Freddie Mercury in a white t-shirt and a pair of aviators and I just love that look. I hope to one day find a thrifted leather jacket to go with my new shades.
Jeans were a recurring costume item for Freddie Mercury. In the 1980s, men’s jeans became more straight legged and high waisted as opposed to the boot cut look of the previous decade. Since I’ve started thrift shopping, I find it difficult to justify buying clothes brand new when there are so many great finds at local vintage or second-hand shops. Men’s jeans particularly are a new favorite of mine. When I saw these items for $7.00, I couldn’t resist. The shade of the denim reminds me so much of that 1980s style.
In the early 2000s, belts were a big accessory item and I must have had a dozen different belts during those years. I’ve since given them away and I wish I had kept them. Freddie mercury always had belts with detailed buckles or straps. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a belt with a large buckle or metal studs, but I did find a leather belt for $3.00 at a local vintage shop and they go perfectly with the jeans.
Since that Sunday night in university, Queen has remained one of my all time favorite bands. That year, their music helped me get through more than just my finals. To date, whenever I’m in need of a bit of a confidence boost or more of a spring in my step, I will listen to a little Freddie Mercury. As soon as I hear that first verse of I Want to Break Free, I always find myself standing a bit taller, shoulders elevated, wanting to strut down the street as Freddie did when he captured each audience from the stage.