Happy 70th birthday, Mick Jagger! We’re celebrating the Rolling Stones rocker’s new septuagenarian status by digging into our archives to resurface his 2002 interview with InStyle. At the time, he was just about to go on tour and released a new collection of Rolling Stone hits. But it was his iconic style that had us captivated—and still does. It’s something that, shall we say, makes Mick tick. Case in point: In 1965, he had such influence on youth culture that Britain’s weekly Tailor and Cutter issued a plea that he start wearing neckties to “save” the industry. It seems the rocker’s chest-baring style was hurting sales. “The trouble with a tie,” Jagger responded, “is that it could dangle in the soup.” Nearly five decades, more than 50 albums, seven children and countless romances later, the musician still likes an open collar. In honor of his birthday, journey back to 2002 and read his “Man of Style” feature written by InStyle.com’s Executive Editor, Angela Matusik. Scroll down for an excerpt of the interview.
When you’re on stage, do you plan ahead of time the point in the show when you’re going to take your shirt off?
No, I don’t really. I might get to a point where I’m fed up wearing the same shirt and decide I want to change. But I try to use the changes, in a sort of vaguely ironic way, to poke fun at myself and the whole busi-ness. You know, I parade around, and if they go “ooooh” and “ahhh,” then that’s good. If they go “mmmm, not really,” then I get rid of it and do something else.
What designers to you wear when you’re on stage?
I’ve got some Costume National things. Alexander McQueen has done some coats that are great. Christian Dior–Hedi [Slimane] has done some wonderful T-shirts, coats and suits. Todd Lynn has made some leather, Dirk Schonberger has done some trousers and shirts. And Bodyworship has done a fantasy coat. How ’bout that? That’s a good list.
Do you consult with the other Rolling Stones on what they’re going to wear?
No, but sometimes I look at them and say, “You can’t possibly wear that.”
Keith Richards can be a bit flamboyant.
Well, I would say he’s more rough and tough than flamboyant. There have been times when Ronnie [Wood] has worn too many colors, and I have to tone him down a bit.
So they welcome your advice? [laughs]
No, of course not! Would you accept your girlfriend’s advice when she tells you that you’re wearing too many colors and look like a Christmas tree?
Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself in an outfit and cringed?
At almost everything I look back and think, Oh, God, what was I thinking? There are so many things that were hideously awful. But at the time, they were very good. I mean, that’s the way fashion is, you know?
Your look circa 1969 is very in right now: the long skinny scarves, the haircut. How does it feel to be inspiring fashion with things you wore more than 30 years ago?
Well, that’s a question Karl Lagerfeld put to Coco Chanel in the sixties. It just goes round and round. I’ve been on the fringes of the fashion business my whole life. More than on the fringes–I guess I’m in it. Now we’re doing lots of new sorts of T-shirts, reviving and changing the old ones for selling to the public. It’s kind of fun to do.
You’re involved with the Rolling Stones’ T-shirt designs?
More than involved. I did some T-shirt designs with a little English company called Buddhist Punk that are really good. There’s lots of detailing and stuff like that. Charlie Watts and I do that. And some for my clothes as well.
Have you saved your favorite clothes through the years?
Yes, I’ve got a lot of stuff, and my teenage children [James and Elizabeth] love it. They keep borrowing the clothes, but they’re very nice about it. They look after them. Elizabeth’s very into that.
Do you think that’s because your style has been so androgynous?
I don’t know if it’s the androgyny thing. I guess so. It’s more like I’m skinny and she’s skinny too, so she can wear my T-shirts…and my trousers!
Lucky girl. And James? He seems a bit more preppy.
Yes, he does that look, and the homeboy thing as well. How long is that going to last? The big-and-baggy thing has been going on for a long time now.
What makes a woman beautiful?
Oh, God, that’s impossible to answer. That’s part of the mystery because you don’t really know what it is; you can’t analyze that. Each individual has a different idea of what it is, and you can find one person beautiful with one kind of look, and then you can also find another completely different look beautiful.
Is there any particular way you like women to dress?
No. You have to dress according to your body and your coloring. If you ignore that, you can go wrong.
What makes a woman captivating, then?
There’s a certain attraction that some people just have. Onscreen, certain people can lock eyes with you and you don’t know why. In real life, you might meet them and they may not even have that.
Do you like watching yourself onscreen?
Oh yeah [laughing], well, you know, obviously, I have this sort of strange animal magnetism. It’s very hard for me to take my eyes off myself.
Plus, see celebrities in rocker tees.
— Angela Matusik