‘Mom, You’re Not Grunge Enough’: Olivia Rodrigo Fans Thrash in the Desert

On Friday, just outside Palm Springs, Calif., you might have thought a strange mirage had appeared: One or two zillion tweens descended upon an arena, all wearing platform Doc Martens.

Had some official communiqué been issued, at a frequency undetectable to those older than 25? Had everyone been subconsciously nudged to pair boots with fishnets and leg warmers?

No one seemed to care that it was hot out. What did matter was that the boots, punky symbols of past musical rebellions, were central to the unofficial-but-conspicuously-official uniform of Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts World Tour, which began that night.

Hailey Freestone, Bridget Lee, and Anna Avetissian met while trailing Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” tour. They arrived more than 24 hours early.
Vale Hernandez, Ary Huante and Ellie Villanueva are co-workers at Disneyland. They blast Ms. Rodrigo’s music constantly.

Each recent tour by a major pop star has seemingly birthed an aesthetic microclimate that follows the artist from show to show, usually evaporating when the tour is over. Dressing up for concerts is not new — see Grateful Dead fans in their tie-dye, the ’90s Madonna fans in their regalia — but last summer’s blockbuster tours have upped the ante. Imagine showing up to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour without a cowboy hat or attending Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour without looking at least a little bit like a shimmery disco ball.

These uniforms grow out of fans’ desire to emulate their favorite artists and to visually identify with one another. Now social media gives people a chance to share and see what everyone else has been wearing. And it doesn’t hurt that e-commerce sites like Amazon and Shein make it easy to order and receive a pair of sequined, thigh-high boots in the time it takes for Beyoncé to fly from Vancouver to Seattle.

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