My 3 Favorite Musicians Are Also My Biggest Style Influences

Part of what makes an artist great is not just what they produce, but the look and image they bring alongside with their art.

Sep 1, 2014 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

I’m a huge music fan, and when I decide I like an artist, I get really into them. I listen to everything I can get my hands on by them and read everything I can about them. This process includes countless searches for all kinds of pictures of said new favorite artist.
 
Part of what makes an artist great, in my opinion, is not just what they produce, but the look and image they bring alongside with their art. My favorite musicians have obviously earned a warm place in my heart because of the lovely sounds they make, but magazine cutouts and giant posters of them have earned spots on my bedroom wall because of their distinct style. The same way I’m inspired and feel so many feels because of their melodious lyrics and sweet, slow guitar solos, I’m totally inspired by their outfit choices too. 
 
If I could pay tribute to these icons in any other way, I would, but because my childhood guitar lessons only lasted a few months and my singing voice only sounds close to perfect when I’m driving alone in my car, I’m happy to put on my records and channel my favorite musicians through my wardrobe. 
 
My everyday look right now is a mixture of three of my all time favorite musicians.
 
Patti Smith
 
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Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe by Kate Simon, 1979.

 
I read Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids when I was just 17. I was captivated by her stories and entire presence as a woman, as well as the old pictures of herself scattered between the chapters in the book. As soon as I finished her book, I immediately bought a jacket just like the one picture above, as well as her album, Horses.
 
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Patti Smith by Steven Sebring.

She’s obviously had a huge influence on my life in more ways than one. I love the way she sounds on her records and looks in photographs -- so confident and self-aware. Her style is simple, and she seems to wear whatever she likes, paying no regard to current trends. It’s grunge, yet not grungy; masculine, yet totally feminine, too.
 
I read in a 2010 New York Times article, Patti perfectly describe her style as, "Look at me, don’t look at me,” which I have just now decided to borrow as my new life motto. She’s got a timeless look that’s all her own, and her vinyl sleeves will always have a place on my wall.
 
My favorite way to channel Patti’s look is with simple button-up tops, oversized jackets and sweaters.
 
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Clockwise: Striped Cape, $39.95 at H&M; Briton X UO Clint Felt Panama Hat, $64 at Urban Outfitters; Indigo Linen Ex-Boyfriend Shirt, $79.50 at Madewell; Highlight of Your Chic Leggings, $34.99 at ModCloth; Oversized Open-Front Blazer, $32.90 at Forever 21.

Debbie Harry  
 
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Michael Ochs Archive.

I first fell in love with everything Debbie Harry when a friend sent me this video. (You’re welcome.)
 
I’m totally into Debbie Harry’s look because it’s made up of so many different looks. She gracefully mixes up an array of fashion genres to make her own image. She’s part mod, part glam, and part rock 'n' roll.
 
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I’m inspired by Debbie Harry’s boldness in mixing prints, textures and patterns. She pairs her signature black and white tee with everything, from camouflage cargo pants to the floral skirt pictured above. She’s made me want to wear silk with flannel, and stripes as a neutral.
 
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Debbie Harry by Martyn Goddard.

 
Because of Debbie Harry, I find myself mixing and matching pieces I would never have thought to pair together. I love the way she breaks all the rules, and looks so cool and put-together while doing it. Her look is super easy, because you don’t have to worry about perfection.
 
To get Debbie Harry’s look, experiment with different prints and textures, throw on your favorite pieces, and work it! 
  
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Clockwise: Striped Crop Top, $10.80 at Forever 21; Band Of Gypsies Lace-Trim Slip Short, $54 at Urban Outfitters; In A Flash Dress; $118 at Nasty Gal; High Waisted Pencil Skirt, $38.69 at ASOS; Pins And Needles Printed Floral Blouse, $59 at Urban Outfitters.

Bruce Springsteen
 
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Getty Images.

Oh, Bruce. I could write this whole article about Bruce Springsteen. I almost tried to write this whole article about Bruce Springsteen. Anyone who knows me knows that Springsteen is my life, and they are probably rolling their eyes reading this.
 
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I won’t talk about how perfect his lyrics are and all the deep feeling I get when I listen to his sultry whispers, but I will talk about the simplicity of Bruce’s (yes, we are on a first name basis) signature style. I spend a good chunk of my time Google image-searching pictures of him ("Shirtless Springsteen" when I’m feeling wild), and I know his style according to each decade. (Aside from awkward '90s Bruce, his look has remained pretty steady.)
 
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What I really dig about his style is that it’s basically held together by a handful of timeless classics: denim, striped tees, plaid button-ups, leather jacket, watchman cap. It’s so easy and effortless.
 
To get Springsteen’s look, you could invest in a few, good quality, key pieces and bam! you’re set for life. 
 
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Clockwise: The Unisex Circle Scarf, $28 at American Apparel; Recycled Fisherman Beanie, $22 at American Apparel; Too Ugly For LA Bored In The USA T-Shirt, $28 at Etsy; Glamorous Chiffon Plaid Blouse, $42 at Urban Outfitters; Denim Super Flare, $78 at Free People; Fringed Suede Jacket, $49.80 at Forever 21.

 
Are any of your favorite musicians also your style icons?