Music's Men of Style: Adam Lambert on Why He's 'Put Down a Lot of the Makeup'

Ramona Rosales
Adam Lambert photographed by Ramona Rosales on July 22, 2015 at the Palihotel in Los Angeles.

Adam Lambert, 33, once flaunted cheetah prints, ­peacock-blue frosted hair, neon tanks and suits with spikes. But lately the American Idol alum -- now touring the world to promote his third album, The Original High (which hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200) -- has switched his fashion influences from glam divas to more traditional heartthrobs.

THIS COVER STORY FIRST APPEARED IN BILLBOARD MAGAZINEGET THIS WEEK'S ISSUE HERE OR SUBSCRIBE TO BILLBOARD HERE

Adam Lambert Shows Off His Streamlined Style: The Billboard Cover Shoot

"I've put down a lot of the makeup. I put the flat iron in the attic. I'm looking at people like Elvis and James Dean," says the Indianapolis native of his new look. (And yet, there's an undeniable dose of George Michael, too.)

Lambert, an LGBT activist who says his music "is about [the] ­pursuit of happiness," has landed on this style in a far less calculated way than one might think. "I've been asked with this album campaign, 'Did you want to tone it down?' It wasn't that I was consciously [doing that], though," he says. "It just shifted."

 

Favorite Designer

"I love Margiela, how their stuff fits. Certain lines are for certain body types, and not all of Saint Laurent quite fits me. I'm not a waify little 22-year-old model, as much as sometimes I'd like to be, for fashion's sake. Margiela is cut for, like, men."

See Wiz Khalifa, Sam Hunt, Adam Lambert and More Male Music Stars Rocking Hot, High-Fashion Looks: Exclusive Photos

The Power Of Trends

"As a pop musician, [trends] are part of my job; to reflect what people like. Production and the way something sounds are very much like fashion, where for a particular season people are gravitating toward something."

Adam Lambert on Bonding With Sam Smith, His New Sound and His 'Dark Side'

Best Fashion Advice

"Take one thing away."

Can't Live Without

"[My] old, white Buddhist Punk T-shirt. It's kind of burnt out with holes all over it; it's something I've had in the closet for 10 years and I keep going back to it."

Listen to music from Adam Lambert, and more artists from this issue, in the Spotify playlist below: