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Looking Back at Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts’ Timelessly Sharp Personal Style

As the world remembers Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones’ drummer who died yesterday at 80 years old in the United Kingdom, and his influence on music, there’s also plenty to be said about his impeccable style.

As a member of one of the world’s most famous rock bands of all time, Watts was frequently in the spotlight for over 50 years. However, unlike the rock star stereotype, the musician didn’t dress in dramatic, edgy or flashy outfits. Instead, Watts preferred to keep his looks clean and simple, incorporating sharp coats and tailoring, minimalist patterns and tonal colors across sweaters, shirts and ties. This understated and classic style directly translated to his ethos about fame, as he previously told NME in a 2018 interview that he was “not really a rockstar.” “I don’t have all the trappings of that. Having said that, I do have four vintage cars and can’t drive the bloody things. I’ve never been interested in doing interviews or being seen,” Watts said at the time.

Similarly, Watts’ shoe style was equally versatile. While touring or onstage with the band, the musician was frequently seen wearing brown leather loafers in driver-on and lace-up styles. When completing press visits or attending events, he often wore shiny black wingtip or penny loafers. His approach to dressing was both sharp and timeless, and a testament to the enduring nature of sharp style.

Below, we looked back on some of Charlie Watts’ best looks over the years.

While arriving at London Airport in April 1967 after the end of the Stones’ European tour in Greece, Watts is seen alongside fellow musicians Brian Jones and Mick Jagger in a classic peacoat, printed button-up shirt and jeans. The star’s shoes of choice were a timeless pair of penny loafers.

Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Charlie Watts seen here at London Airport after their European tour ended with a huge show at the Panathinaikos stadium in Greece 18th April 1967. 18 Apr 1967 Pictured: Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Charlie Watts seen here at London Airport after their European tour ended with a huge show at the Panathinaikos stadium in Greece 18th April 1967. Photo credit: Mirrorpix / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA780879_001.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
L-R: Charlie Watts, Brian Jones and Mick Jagger in London in 1967.
CREDIT: Mirrorpix / MEGA
Watts wore a plaid blazer, paired with a printed tie and sharp white shirt, in 1996. The look was worn around the time the musician released his solo jazz album, “Long Ago & Far Away.”

In a sentimental mood: Charlie Watts returns to jazz, his first love, with a fine new album. Drummer for The Rolling Stones. 04/06/1996. 24 Aug 2021 Pictured: In a sentimental mood: Charlie Watts returns to jazz, his first love, with a fine new album. Drummer for The Rolling Stones. 04/06/1996 Material must be credited "The Times/News Licensing" unless otherwise agreed. 100% surcharge if not credited. Online rights need to be cleared separately. Strictly one time use only subject to agreement with News Licensing. Photo credit: News Licensing / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA780915_008.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
Charlie Watts in 1996.
CREDIT: The Times/News Licensing/MEGA
While on the Rolling Stones’ worldwide Licks Tour, Watts arrived in Germany in August 2003 before the band’s Hanover show. The musician stepped off the plane at the airport in a beige suit and white shirt, paired with dark brown loafers.

(dpa) - Charlie Watts, drummer of the British rock group Rolling Stones, arrives at the airport in Hanover, Germany, 7 August 2003. The Stones will give their last concert in Germany of the Licks world tour on 8 August in Hanover. Photo by: Rainer Jensen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Charlie Watts arrives at the airport in Hanover, Germany, in August 2003.
CREDIT: Rainer Jensen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

While attending the New York City premiere of the Rolling Stones’ “Shine A Light” documentary in March 2008, Watts wore a classic three-piece black suit with a white collared shirt and black-and-white striped tie. The musician stepped onto the red carpet alongside Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan.

MANDATORY BYLINELUIS GUERRA/©2008 RAMEY PHOTO310-828-3445New York, March 30, 2008This photo: The Rolling Stones The Premier of Martin Scorsese's documentary on the Rolling Stones, Shine A Light, at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan.PGlg6 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGAR105107_5.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
L-R: Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts attend the premiere of “Shine A Light” in New York City in March 2008.
CREDIT: LUIS GUERRA/©2008 RAMEY PHOTO
For an appearance at BBC’s radio studios in London in March 2012, Watts wore sharply cuffed navy trousers with a matching wool coat. The musician paired the ensemble with a bright blue scarf, as well as sleek black wingtip loafers.

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts seen leaving the BBC radio studios in central London. 06 Mar 2012 Pictured: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts seen leaving the BBC radio studios in central London. Photo credit: Mirrorpix / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA780877_005.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
Charlie Watts leaves BBC’s radio studios in London in March 2012.
CREDIT: Mirrorpix / MEGA
When leaving the Four Seasons hotel in Paris in October 2017, alongside other Stones members and their families, Watts conquered the winter chill in sharp style. The drummer layered a navy jacket over a thin black puffer coat and navy zip-up sweater. The pieces were paired with dark trousers and classic black penny loafers.

The Rolling Stones members and relatives leaving the Four Seasons hotel to go to the concert hall on October 22, 2017 in Paris, France. 22 Oct 2017 Pictured: Charlie Watts. Photo credit: KCS Presse / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA103654_010.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
Charlie Watts leaves the Four Seasons hotel in Paris, France in October 2017.
CREDIT: KCS Presse / MEGA
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