Dressing to Impress at CMJ


This week, College Music Journal (or as it’s more commonly known, CMJ) begins its Music Marathon where select buzz, hip and indie bands are selected to play in the widest variety of venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Getting onto a CMJ bill is a triumph for a lot of up-and-coming bands as they are presented with the opportunity to play for industry leaders. While bands stress about impressing key influencers, the rest of us non-musicians focus on impressing the other CMJ elite: fellow attendees.

While that CMJ full badge price probably was a swift kick in the rear at $495 a piece, there are some low-cost alternatives to looking like you work at Nylon or Paste, thereby carrying some serious clout at CMJ.

First and foremost, the leather jacket. So key for autumn in New York but when you’re already out the badge cost, spending twice as much on a new coat is not going to happen. American Apparel makes a nice leather-alternative windbreaker called the Unisex Matte Faux Leather Hoody for only $60. Layering is the key to understated cool so wear a sweatshirt hoodie underneath for warmth and cool factors (see what I did there?).

If you’re venturing out to watch bands from the West Coast, I urge you to dress the part in an oversized top with the skinniest bottoms you can find. Forever21 has produced yet another highly synthetic garment: leggings. While they’re cute, I would suggest you not stand near the smoker’s circle with these 95% polyester High Shine Leggings.

Above all, my recommendation for looking like you were given that CMJ pass (instead of charging it to your and your parent’s joint credit card) is, of course, the scarf. For a super-cheap one that looks like you bought it off a market stand in Chicago while touring with your bassist ex-boyfriend’s band, check out American Eagle’s Window Pane Plaid Scarf in charcoal combo for $19.50.

Pile on all these must-haves for a killer outfit that looks effortless—an easy “roll out of bed and onto the stage” look. After all, if you’re going to be critiquing future rock stars, you better look like one.

For more information on CMJ and the bands playing, visit cmj.com.

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