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“It was like we were in the 1970s, we used to dress so much more rock and roll” says Hot Chelle Rae singer Ryan Follese when asked about the band’s style evolution.
He and bandmates Ian Keaggy (bass), Nash Overstreet (guitar and, yes, brother of Glee‘s Chord) and Jamie Follese (drums) are sifting through a couple dozen shirts, jackets and pants lining every flat surface of a Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel suite, having been tasked with choosing several outfits for their appearance at the American Music Awards on Sunday. And unlike their red carpet look at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, the guys are going for some semblance of cohesiveness this time, rather than simply unruly rock star cool.
That means no wild animal prints or red polka dots. Instead, clean lines and tailored hems, a shiny scarf here and a purple tie there for the band who’ll play triple duty on Sunday’s AMAs, performing the pre-show, presenting an award and as nominees for Sprint New Artist of the Year. “If we won, it would be insane,” says Ian. Adds Jamie, “I’m giddy just thinking about it.”
It wouldn’t be a shocker. After all, the Nashville foursome has had one hot year, racking up hit singles with “Tonight, Tonight” and “I Like It Like That.” A little more than a week after their AMAs bow, they’ll release their second full-length, Whatever (out Nov. 29), which came together in lightning speed — just under two months including pre-production. The guys were clearly inspired.
“The last year has been crazy and because of that, all of the emotions have been heightened that it’s enabled us to write and record music from a place that’s different for us,” says Ryan. “We’re going, going, going and missing your families and going through relationship problems…”
“It’s been so much fuel,” adds Nash, “but we’re also having way more fun than we’ve ever had.”
That was evident as the four continued their hunt for outfits, needing even more ensembles for future media appearances on The Tonight Show, Today and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. “’Never be caught looking bad,’ that’s pretty much our philosophy,” cracks Jamie as buzzwords like “classy” and “classic” make their way around the room.
“I’m all about how you wear your clothes,” says Nash. “It’s like, so many people can have the same pair of jeans but it’s how you wear them — maybe two inches lower than you’re supposed to, or maybe higher. I like to have my jeans so close to skintight and then two sizes too big so they’re more slouchy and I can drop them a little if I want.”
While on the surface, the guys seem like the perfect shopping partners, it’s not quite the case, says Nash. “We don’t mind shopping for ourselves but it’s worse for [the] girlfriends because they don’t get to go to their stores. If we didn’t care at all, it would be easier.”
Look for the Hot Chelle Rae guys on the AMAs pre-show, kicking off on ABC at 7:00 p.m. The band is slated to play two songs. Also, check out details about their wardrobe choices for the big night below:
Nash: “I chose a dark, classic tuxedo by Topman. They’re a litle bit ahead of the American curve but not so far out that you don’t understand it when you see it. And I always have to have some kind of flash. Between the purple lining of this jacket and the purple tie, I’ve got it covered.”
Ryan: “I’m wearing a shiny silk-like blazer, a sheer thin black top, tight faux leather Zara pants and a shiny silk Reiss scarf. The shoes I found in London, on Brick Lane. I like suits and scarves — I’m kind of an old person trapped in a young guy’s body.”
Ian: “I wanted something kind of classy so I got a navy blue pair of G star jeans — tailored a little big tighter, as we do — a stark white shirt by Zara and a Topman blazer. It’s a little less than the VMAs when I went with a red polka dot blazer with a matching red polka dot shirt, but I’m still very happy about that outfit.”
Jamie: “I’ve got a little classiness going on — a button-down H&M shirt with the pinstripe suit jacket. I’m not rocking the vest [that came with it], but H&M is my brand, apparently.”
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