Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Groupie Guide: Style Must-Haves

My love for groupies and rock star girlfriends is well documented on this blog. From my love affair with Pattie Boyd that started it all, to my fascination with Bebe Buell and gals like Sable, Lori, and Miss Pamela, my admiration and appreciation for the style and free-spirited attitudes of these women never ceases. Looking at the styles of these great muses, one can see that these women really created the trends that we all love from the sixties and seventies. Pattie, who rocked Mary Quant shift dresses as fiercely as those Ossie Clark maxidresses; Miss Pamela in her feather boas and lace skirts and glitter and stars adorning her face; Sable, who knew exactly how to work those long gams of hers by wearing tiny hot pants and sky-high platforms. These items have all become style mainstays.

I have received many requests - via email and in life - for my list of style must-haves for any self-respecting groupie or rock star girlfriend. Because of this continued interest in groupies and girlfriends, I have created The Groupie Guide, a how-to look at all things groupie that I will update with style tips, beauty tricks, and advice on how to be 'with the band' from actual groupies.

A lot of people think that in order to create a groovy groupie look, they have to invest in scouring through vintage stores for a special archived piece. While I would never dare knock vintage, I think that purchasing clothes from labels - especially fledging designers and local vendors - is just as rewarding as finding those mint condition suede Biba heels (a major score of mine from the last few weeks). The clothing and accessories that I suggest are pieces that I either own or am planning on owning very soon, once I get a little more moolah for the summer. I have nothing but the utmost adoration for these items, and they are pieces that I - and I'm sure my fellow groupie gals - would wear.

Groupie Style Must-Haves:

1. A perfectly Penny Lane coat
Remember that embroidered coat with Mongolian lamb fur trim that Kate Hudson wears all throughout Almost Famous? Of course you do. There are countless threads on the internet dedicated to girls who are looking wear to find a coat like that of their own, plus countless more articles by sewing/designing enthusiasts who offer there tips on how to make a Penny-approved coat of your own. Well, I can't sew to save my life, so I rely on more talented hands to make the coat for me. That's why I purchased the UNIF 'Bridget' Shearling Coat, a vegan suede coat with faux shearling trim (stylish and animal friendly!), from my fave online store Nasty Gal. It reminds me not only of Penny's 'famous' coat, but also of the luxe fur coat that Bebe Buell was seen rocking while traveling with Steven Tyler.

2. Sturdy but stylish heels
I am incredibly average in stature, but when I go out to clubs and concerts I like to add a little height. For one, it makes it easier to see above the crowd and actually catch a glimpse of the band. Two, heels are just sexy. Whenever you wear heels, don't you just walk a little taller and feel a little better? I always gravitate to shoes with thicker heels, wedges, and platforms because I am a bit of a wimp and physically cannot handle stilettos. It's not really attractive to be hobbling around the whole night in six-inch spike heels, imitating the sure after effects of what Kathy Bates could do in Misery. These Isis Mini Market Heels are the perfect mix between biker boot and 70's sandal, stylish enough to be worn pretty much anywhere - a punk dive bar, an indie club, or an outdoor hippie folk festival. They also have a more manageable heel than Jeffrey Campbell's infamous Litas, which I bought on impulse but cannot be worn much because I don't know how to function in those five-inch heels (plus two-inch soles!).

3. A lovely lace dress
Lace dresses, particularly lace mini dresses, are an essential part of the groupie girl's wardrobe. The lace dress is the LBD equivalent for the groupie - it is unheard of to not have a tried-and-true number hanging in their wardrobe. A true groupie is not content to have just one - she collects them with more fervor than young boys do baseball cards. I myself am quite a fan of Lily. J, whose beautiful designs in shades of ivory and soft pink I discovered at their Camden Market stall. Other white pieces that I quite admire are the Backstage 'Rose' Dress, with long bell sleeves and delicate crocheting, and the fringe-trimmed American Gold 'San Cristobal' Caftan. White lace is more appropriate for day outings, whereas black lace owns the night. Just think of Band Aide Sapphire - in her black lace she ruled that Stillwater show. I just ordered this Bell Sleeve Lace Shift Dress by Shumaq and I absolutely cannot wait until I can wear it out! 

4. A cool graphic tee
Bebe Buell was often seen wearing graphic tees in photo shoots - so much so that the company Worn Free has recreated a handful of her greatest shirts. Why not take a style note from one of the greats and sport a graphic tee? After all, a girl can't wear dresses all of the time! And when the groupie is just hanging out with the band on the tour bus, it would be quite nice if she could relax in a comfy top while still looking ridiculously cool. I am partial to the tees by Krank Empire, a design and printing company from Austin TX that uses remanufactured, repurposed, and recycled garments (how rock 'n' roll is that?) to make their tees. Their graphics are cool, edgy, and at times humorous too (there's quite a good double entendre to the 'End-o-weed' design). I love their Marilyn tee, which takes an image of the starlet and in some twisted, slightly Warholian way, makes her a floating, eyeless head. Trust me, it's much cooler than I am describing it - whenever I wear this tee, I am constantly stopped to ask where I got it from. 

5. Wide-legged jeans 
What better to match with a graphic tee than a great pair of wide-legged jeans? This cut of denim is very Birkin-esque, super seventies but always chic. Wide-legged jeans hold the magical property of being figure-flattering on all body types. No, I'm not talking about Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants kind of magic, but magic all the same. The flared bottoms balance out curvy girls, while the shape of the overall cut can make petite girls look supermodel tall. These deluxe flares by Artisan De Luxe are great because they are dark wash (one of the few denim washes that looks good on everyone). These jeans also do well to go along with the carefree bohemian vibe that so many groupies achieve - they feature distress marks, artfully destroyed holes and patching, making them look like that perfect pair of jeans that you've owned for years.  

6. Oversized sunglasses
Ah, where do I begin to describe my love for oversized sunnies? Worn by every major fashion force from Jackie O to the Olsen twins, oversized sunglasses epitomize chicness and bohemian-ness - it just depends on who you ask. I tend to associate these sunnies with hippie chicks and groupie gals, like Sable who rocks her stylish shades with ease. I can't even count the number of oversized sunglasses that I own - the brands range from Forever 21 to Chanel and pretty much every label in between. It seems like every self-respecting sunglass designer has done oversized eyewear of some sort, so it's definitely easy to find a pair at any price range. I love these 'Bridget' square-shaped sunnies by Biba because of the shape, side-detailing, and - let's be honest - the Biba factor. 

7. An across-the-body bag
A long-strap purse is a style staple, not just for groupies but for girls everywhere. What makes this accessory groupie-appropriate is the particular style that the groupie chooses - usually leather and with tons of fringe, embroidering, and detailing. A purse like this is more traditionally stylish than the tackle box that Penny Lane uses or the wicker basket that was a favorite of Jane Birkin, and the details like elaborate stitching and fringe give it an air of kookiness and inventiveness that both Penny and Jane's carry-alls had. Many designers like Ember Skye, JJ Winters, and Jagger all have lines devoted to such fringed bags, but a groupie doesn't have to drop a pretty penny to get a bag like this - she wouldn't want to, there are concert tickets to buy after all! New Look's 'Freda' Saddle Bag, with its fringe and aztec-style outerstitch detailing, more that fits the bill for that perfect concert-friendly bag that can contain the life of the groupie-on-the-go.


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