Avril Lavigne’s pop-punk style has barely changed in 20 years. This is a good thing

Photo: Ryan McFadden

In Avril Lavigne’s new music video, “Bite methe Canadian punk-pop singer struts down an alley with Travis Barker while wearing a motorcycle jacket with graffiti, a plaid miniskirt and patent leather thigh-high boots. The outfit could have easily hailed from the 2000s, when it topped the charts with songs like “Sk8er Boi,” “Girlfriend,” and “Nobody’s Home.” The new song isn’t a comeback per se; Lavigne released an album, head above water, in 2019 (his first since 2013 April Lavigne). But now she’s back on stage with the fiery new video, and she looks like she’s never been gone. Nearly two decades after cementing her signature look, the star hasn’t given up on her plaids, studs and skulls. Her hair is even dyed pink, like it was when she sang, “Damn yeah, I’m the fucking princess!”

As a Canadian teenager growing up and listening to Lavigne in the 2000s, I idolized her style. In high school I tried to style one of my dad’s ties with a graphic tee and trucker hat just like April did in his “Sk8er Boi” video. When she wore a red and black striped top in his “He Wasn’t” video, I went to my local Gap and bought a similar T-shirt. I felt like a rock star in it. There had always been a cool, nonchalant side to her outfits; they said, “I have an attitude. ” And admit it: when she wore those three row studded belts with her baggy jeans, you wanted one too.

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Seeing Lavigne continue to represent her fashion aesthetic in 2021 makes me an even bigger fan. It’s safe to say that the 2000s punk-pop look isn’t the trending look of the day (although Barker’s fiancée Kourtney Kardashian is in on it), but there’s definitely something badass in not caring about what’s going on and what’s going on. Fashion is cyclical — introducing and discarding trends faster than you can even wear them properly — and Lavigne is a clear case for finding your fashion uniform and sticking to it. Think of all the 2000s pieces she could recycle and wear again, and we’d probably never even notice.

In Area at the 2021 VMAsPhoto: Getty Images

That’s not to say Lavigne’s fashion sense looks dated. In fact, I find his rocker-chic style to be quite modern. That’s because she nodded to her signature sensibility in new ways, like when she attended the VMAs in September wearing a pink plaid suit from Area, one of the new fashion’s hottest brands, with a dazzling bra from Cristahlea. But the mini plaid jacket and moto jacket in her new video, her most undeniably retro outfit yet, is seriously exciting. The 2000s have entered the chat, and I welcome them with extreme joy. We could all learn a lesson from Lavigne’s approach to clothing here, which is to make your own rules and just wear what you want. If you disagree, take a cue from Lavigne and bite me!

Photo: Courtesy of Elektra Music Group

Diana J. Carleton