Stage Lights and Streetlights

Article by Abe Plaut.

Dexter Clardy, IU graduate, Soul Revue veteran and lead singer of Bloomington based Huckleberry Funk, oozes in individuality and a swagger of his own. With a style self-described as “daringly weird,” he is unafraid to take risks and go against the status quo with his wardrobe, both on-and-off the stage.

“I like to be different,” Clardy said. “I don’t like to go to H&M, buy a shirt and go into a party and five other guys are wearing the same shirt as me. I hate that.” Layering a shirt with jackets and sweaters or even ripping up a shirt are two ways Clardy keeps from dressing the same as everybody else.

“I didn’t really let anyone know I could sing until I got into highschool,” Clardy said as he remembered his time in high school show choir. After coming to IU, he joined Soul Revue and learned an important lesson about dressing for the stage.

“Before anyone hears a note out of your mouth, they see you first. So it does come down to appearance,” Clardy said. When he steps out from the darkness off-stage and into the spotlight, bold colors and patterns demand the eye’s focus. It is only after he starts singing that the music demands the ear’s attention.

For Dexter, it is important to match your clothes to the music you are playing onstage. “I want to bring the aesthetic of whatever our show is going to be,” Clardy said. “If we’re going more suave, I want to come out on stage looking real suave. I want people to be like ‘Oh my god, he’s bringing the sex tonight and he ain’t even said nothing!’ I want people to know what’s happening. If we got a banger, I’m coming out with some blue jeans and some pins on.” In this way Clardy brings music and fashion together to influence the way people feel.

Stagewear and everyday wear don’t have to be like comparing apples to oranges. “It’s really the same approach,” Clardy said. “Some may interpret it as flashy, but honestly I just like being fly. I feel like my day is better when I look good.” Sometimes performing in clothes designed by Bloomington-based Native Language Clothing, Clardy is unafraid to experiment with unconventional colors, patterns and materials. Almost anything is fair game to be included in Clardy’s closet including turtleneck sweaters, beaded bracelets, soccer jerseys and floral button-downs. At the core, Dexter considers comparing his stagewear and everyday wear to be more like comparing Fuji apples to Gala apples.

For more of Dexter’s style on-and-off the stage, follow his instagram @bowtie_clardy and visit

Photos courtesy of Matt Teden – Endion Media and Meagan Wilson

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