Stylebook Inspiration: Rent 20 years later

On April 29, 1996, a musical premiered on Broadway that took the musical theatre industry by storm.

That musical was the late Jonathan Larson’s off-broadway musical, “RENT”. RENT was a tale of a group of bohemian friends living in a world of poverty, drugs and the rise of the AIDS epidemic. Larson made these obviously difficult issues seem magical as and could make you fall in love with the characters, the story and most importantly, the music. It’s hard to not watch RENT and not want to be at least one person in the show.

Being in a town far from Broadway, I didn’t learn about RENT until the movie adaptation in 2005. I remember being at the movie theater and being entranced with everything that was happening on the screen. I wanted to be stressed about how I’ll pay the rent (this would later come to fruition, of course), I wanted to scream about how I needed “one song before I go”. I wanted to ask my neighbor to light my candle, I wanted someone to cover me and then take me or leave me. But most importantly, I wanted to measure my life in love and live for today.

More than a decade has passed since my first encounter with RENT and I’m just as in love with it as ever. Hearing and seeing the live show has changed my life forever and the music will never die for me. I will always want to be in the East Village and be an “us” instead of a “them”. And for that, I have to say thank you, Jonathan Larson.

In honor of RENT’s 20th anniversary, I thought about the characters and how they would look today. Below are some of the looks of each of the show’s main characters.


Mark has always been the observer of the group and his look would be reflective of that today. I added Mark’s signature scarf to the look and the rest of it is pretty low-key, similar to how I think Mark would be after finding success as a filmmaker.


Roger is the classic rocker and I imagine he’s given up the plaid pants for blue jeans and a rocker tee. His look is also minimal because his main focus is his music and him Mimi and his ensemble should reflect that.


Mimi’s fun personality is constantly portrayed through her style and that seems like something that could never change. Since she is living a healthy lifestyle while living with AIDS, I assume her body is still everything. This look gives her plenty of opportunities to show off her body and proves she can still go out tonight.


Collins is still constantly working and on the go. His backpack has to be with him at all times, as well as a beanie. And don’t worry, fans, I’m sure Collins still has his infamous coat.


Maureen is, for lack of a better word, a free spirit. Her clothing reflects this and the mix of leather and fringe fits her perfectly.



Had Angel lived, I think her personality and her style would be just as colorful as ever. She would mix vintage finds with designer handbags as only she could.


Joanne has always mixed masculinity with femininity with great style. While a dress may seem like a stretch for her, this one gives the look an edge, as well as the men’s blazer and briefcase.


Benny is still a businessman, hopefully a more honest one. His look is a little more tailored now, however, as his investments have given him more profits that Allison Grey ever could.

See anything you like? Find out how to get it and I would love to know what you think of the looks!


E. Randolph

To get Mark’s look:

Gucci mens jeans
$455 –

Vans mens shoes

To get Roger’s look:

Old Navy mens t shirt

To get Mimi’s look:

Bebe crop top

Jean jacket

MICHAEL Michael Kors pants
$145 –

Jeffrey Campbell platform boots
$130 –

Prada handbags tote
To get Collins’ look:

River Island mens blue jeans
$66 –

Mens cap
$5.12 –
To get Maureen’s look:

Dorothy Perkins cardigan
$32 –

Halter top

Barbara Bui leather pants
$2,500 –

Cuff bracelet
$15 –
To get Angel’s look:

RED Valentino short sleeve dress
$710 –

Hanes stocking

Green pumps

To get Joanne’s look:

Loafers moccasin

Topman old navy mens clothing
$175 –

MCM men s briefcase
To get Benny’s look:

Dolce&Gabbana mens dress pants
$765 –

Topman men s sportcoat
$160 –

Paul Smith mens black dress shoes
$335 –


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