3.18.2010

Rock N' Roll Style Guide: PJ Harvey



The so-called "effortless" look was all the rage this year. It was about trying to look as though you rolled out of bed without actually having rolled out of bed. The look was cool in that it was inspired by 90s grunge, but it quickly became tired and contrived when attempted by socialite party-people. Calculated looks can be as cool as effortless ones depending on how you carry them. The quintessential example of effortless, raw, low maintenance style is PJ Harvey. Her outfits look like she literally grabbed some random items from a pile lying next to her bed with her eyes closed. She gets away with it because she is PJ Harvey, one of the rawest singer songwriters of our time. Her look is believable because she wrote "Big Exit", and "Rid of Me". Everything she wears looks naturally faded and worn, not cut up or DIYed. The only rationalization I have for people purchasing pre-faded t-shirts or "destroyed" denim is that they are trying to buy style. In high school, I used to tote around in a pair of jeans, which were so badly tattered that at the end of their run there were more patches than original jean material. They became like a second skin, so it was hard to stop wearing them. The people who gave me strange looks and comments were the same people buying up pre-distressed denim the next year. It's easy to get swept into the desire for something new, especially when you immerse yourself in fashion blogs, but if you truly have a style of your own, then none of your old clothes will look stale. PJ's look makes me appreciate the raggedy things in my closet that may not look glamorous, but definitely have stories to tell.

Style Breakdown: Haphazard combos of undersized hammy-downs paired with remnants from a stripper's closet.

The Essentials:
  • T-shirt from your 10 year old sibling's closet paired with a sequin or latex mini skirt
  • Thrift store stripper boots
  • A patchwork dress made of a cheesy pop culture icon like the "Spice Girls"
  • A zip-up top zipped down to your belly button
  • A choker necklace
  • Lingerie worn as outerwear
  • A cotton tube top paired with sleeves cut off from a long sleeve shirt
  • Choppy short hair and bangs that look like you lopped it off yourself
  • Loads of black eyeliner and lipstick

36 comments:

Francy said...

I love PJ Harvey! And her style is so cool. I agree with the rest of your post. I get annoyed when I see ripped jeans and T-shirts priced ridiculously high in stores. Honestly, anyone can do that themselves for a much better price! I think that and logo bags are the worst cases of trying to "buy" style.

JULIA said...

Hahaha, describes my life... that's really how I dress myself. Not like PJ, but get up and go. I hope it works! :P

apparellel said...

pj harvey simply rocks it. period. i LOVE her!! i like your style breakdown. haha. awesome!

xxx
t

Susan said...

I love these looks, but I go for a more elegant one :)

hey lovely, I still don't have the goodies that I won at your fabulous giveaway of DaLipstickBandits Cosmetics. do you probably know when they sent it? if yes, I would check it with my post office. they are not very reliable sometimes...
thanks, xoxo

Nubiasnonsense said...

I think the "effortless" look is pretty cool. She looks great in these and honestly just seems like all she was trying to do is rock out

E said...

Absolute nostalgia! You always post the best style icons!

Clara said...

great post as always
xx

wulanasihsetyarini said...

cant stop reading this..u write so well..
great list too..

xoxo,lemonzest

Blau von T said...

so im just off to add 4 more layers of eyeliner x

Wrecked Stellar said...

Hey love! I'm digging the t-shirt from your 10 year old sibling with a sequin skirt look- while I don't have a sibling other than Bec, I do need to get my super old t-shirts from when I was younger. I've kept most of the ones for sentimental reasons- old softball, basketball, and cheerleading t-shirts from yeah my 10-year old self! They were all big on me anyway back then so they've gotta fit now! Also, loving the lingerie out look- I've bought a bunch of babydolls recently that I need to wear out with denim cutoffs when it's warmer! Hope you have a fabulous weekend! xo, Mel

Anna G said...

She's so badass. I feel so young because I remember when pre-distressed jeans were being worn by everyone when I started high school. I even had a pair but gave them away when I realized how stupid I looked. Now all my torn jeans get that way because I how mush I were them. Sorry for the rant.

Danielle Barbe said...

GREAT post. i freaking love PJ.

Fabulous Finds Gal said...

You said it perfectly. I have nothing to add.

xo,
Christina

Stace said...

yeahhhh so she's amazing as.
I love dressing uniquely and I love the laidback chic she channels!

xStace

Susu Paris Chic said...

I so enjoyed reading your editorial dear. You've got it figured out. You know your style. That is what entices and interests - you are a style icon!

Couture Carrie said...

So fun, darling!
Love your list of essentials!

xoxox,
CC

Clare said...

You, my dear are a fantastic writer and I love PJ Harvery as well! She is clearly a style icon!

thetragicallychic said...

rocking cool post :D

TIFFANY thegirlwithafeather said...

Great post! Her style is so unique, and her confidence allows her to pull it all off!

Kiyo said...

I don't think I'd be able to pull this off but it looks great on her! Love all the hairstyles :)

Haute World said...

I've always admired her style. I think what I love most is the fact that she could look sexy without baring too much skin, and when she did reveal a little more, it never looks trashy. I've been to a few of her concerts and I remember thinking that she's the only one who could pair something obviously glam adorend with sequins, with something like a trucker cap and platform seventies heels.

I do agree with your sentiment re: the pre-faded pre-torn looks that people buy. I've never understood it. To me the beauty of having something that is worn, is the fact that you have your own memories to fall back on. I remember every tear and shred from some of my most worn jeans. There's just something ridiculous about buying a pair of jeans that already come with grass stains on it.

Audrey Allure said...

She has such great style!

Gant Jackets said...

Such cool pics! Love the post!

Missy said...

fab post x

Missy
For everything about fashion:
http://thefashionfusion.blogspot.com

Cindy Whitehead said...

Love this post - great visuals and a fantastic look.

Cafe Fashionista said...

Ohmigosh are you kidding me? I LOVE PJ Harvey! Everything about her is just AMAZING! And you are amazing for posting this - love you, love you!! :)

freeteyme said...

totally effortless - great post!

Damsels said...

you are right it began to get played out ... so its kind of good for me cuz it makes it more of a challenge to pull it off without lookign like everyone else .. i lke the 10 yr old brother shirt thing lol. .. my bro is a bit chubby tho :(

knalleffekt said...

really cool rocky pics!

nicoletta said...

great picture!
amazing blog

http://thescentofobsession.blogspot.com/

Natalie said...

Definitely a smart post. Very cheeky. And isn't she quite the chick.

loving your blog: two of my lady loves on just your first page, Courtney Love & Shirley Manson.

St_BÂȘnn said...

so cool!

SabinePsynopsis said...

Perfect analysation of how to become as cool as PJ Harvey. Now all I need is a singing voice...

disarming darling said...

loooove her. have you seen her performance on the dvd "from the basement"? it's haunting.

cool blog!
xx

http://disarmingdarling.blogspot.com

Orphaned Apparel said...

Your blog has truly become one of my favorites. It's just a big pile of awesomeness. :)

 Mommy Drinks Style said...

I've always felt that PJHarvey had the best natural rocker chic style. It's amazing, she's so petite and yet has a voice like a lion.