For a New Jersey rocker who isn't ashamed to say his band invented the eighties "mall-rat look," Jon Bon Jovi has come a long way. Though he remains true to his (frosted) roots with snug trousers and dark glasses, gone are the precariously ripped jeans and long poodle hair. These days you're more likely to see the 38-year-old in something he spotted from the front row of a Versace runway show he attended with his wife, high school sweetheart Dorothea, or pulled off the designer racks on Madison Avenue. In fact, the entire band (including Richie Sambora, Heather Locklear's husband) has aged gracefully, as evidenced by the Hugo Boss suits they're wearing for their latest album, Crush. This month, Bon Jovi's arena-size presence shares the big screen with Matthew McConaughey in the World War II submarine thriller U-571. After nearly a decade of studying acting and performing in smaller art-house films like Moonlight and Valentino and The Leading Man, this father of two (Jesse James 5, and Stephanie Rose, 7) has officially moved out of the mall and into the megaplex. 
How would you describe your current style?

Jon: Organic. Everything is based on comfort. I've lived in jeans my whole life. The only designer I cared to know till I was 30 was Levi Strauss. I've learned about fashion in the last eight years. 

In what way?

Jon: After our first four albums, we were all burned out. I took some time off in 1990 and began expressing myself in different mediums--soundtracks and movies. I cut my hair. I was on the road for Keep The Faith with the whole new look. My hairstyle was on CNN. It was like "Holy cow, Jon Bon Jovi cut his hair!" 

Why did you cut it?

Jon: I got tired of it. I look back at those pictures and I'm like, "Oh, God, look at all that hair!" 

Who are some of your favorite designers?

Jon: Dolce & Gabbana. I love their cuts. I call it "the gangster cut": double-breasted, tapered. Versace has grown more to my liking as the years have gone on. There's a store in L.A. called Lords--I think these guys are about to break big. And I like the Hugo Boss suits that we wore for the new album. 

"All the people I trust in the world are women, from my mother to my daughter to my wife to my management."

Do you remember your first shopping spree?

Jon: Oh, yeah. I was in Chicago, must've been '89, and some store sent me a shirt and a note. So I go there and I'm being all cool--I don't take my shades off--and I'm with my dad. The salesmen are going crazy running around. They have me try on this beige leather jacket with long fringe. I said, "Love it. Put it on the counter." I get out of the store and my dad says, "You know what that jacket cost"? I said, "Yeah, I think it was $350 or $450." And he says, "Hey, rock star, why don't you take your glasses off next time? It was 2,500 bucks." 

Are there any outfits from your past that make you cringe when you think about them? 

Jon: Sure. If you want to torture me, show me our early videos. On our first two albums, we thought that the way to be was to imitate Ratt and Motley Crue. Before you knew it, you were sitting there with makeup and hairspray on. You'd sweat, the hairspray would run into your eyes, and your eyes would be burning. It wasn't until our third album that we realized, The hell with this. Go home, be who you are. And fortunately for us, that has helped the longevity of the band. 

Who chooses most of your clothes? 

Jon: At the shoot for our album, we were wishing that our wives were there. We were all, like, What would the girls say? 

So your wife has veto power? 

Jon: Definitely. We had a party New Year's Eve. I had to put on about five different things before she let me go to a party in my own house. 

In U-571, was it a relief to wear a uniform? 

Jon: I dug the uniform. But, like everything else I wear, I wanted it taken in and tailored. You couldn't do that though. On a movie, I'm so much more the humble, learning, nice, accommodating guy than I am in the rock and roll business. 

Did you have a hand in decorating your home? 

Jon: We have a very big French neoclassic estate on the water. It's the New Jersey Versailles. It's all 18th-century French antiques and tapestries. There's an English pub. There's a [recording] studio, which is over a storage space that once was an 11-car garage, and a boathouse. We designed it, decorated it. It's exquisite. 

What's your favorite room? 

Jon: The living room. It has an 18-by-10 foot movie screen. When you hit a button, a tapestry drops off the wall and the projection booth is behind there. We have friends over every weekend. We open up a half-dozen bottles of wine and eat popcorn, and then we go up to the pub. It's really nice.