Anyone who is a real rock and roll fan has to appreciate the magic of Patti Smith. A dark wonder who created some of the strongest music in rock history, Smith is a great icon of female strength in music and songwriting as well as visual art. Smith is known for being one of the strong voices in the New York City punk rock movement, and this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2007 inductee called legendary rock clubs like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City home.
Outspoken, controversial (she used to pepper her interviews with sexual references and expletives quite regularly at the height of her fame) and very much herself, Smith is a great influencer of many female rock musicians and fashion alike. Musicians such as Michael Stipe of REM, Shirley Manson of Garbage, The Smith’s Morrissey and Johnny Marr and the band U2 have all claimed her music as a reference.
If you’re not incredibly familiar with Patti Smith’s music, you’re most likely familiar with her most famous song, “Because the Night,” which was co-written by Bruce Springsteen and released in 1978. It was later covered by 10,000 Maniacs and became a huge anthem of the 1990’s.
Patti Smith has said of her own style in a New York Times 2010 interview, “My style says ‘Look at me, don’t look at me,’…It’s, ‘I don’t care what you think.’” Smith, who brought everything from leather to menswear into her look is long, lanky and androgynous. From mannish white shirts and skinny ties to boxy jackets and painted cotton pants, Smith’s style has always been anti-establishment but an homage to her own musical and style heroes: Frank Sinatra, Keith Richards, John Lennon and Ava Gardner.
As someone who has always admired Smith’s incredible style, I love rocking a slightly Patti look regularly. Maybe this week is your time to work a menswear-inspired white tee or button-down. I am ALWAYS a fan of bringing the skinny tie into a feminine look. Maybe a pair of second-skin J Brand faux leather leggings or a great pair of Frye Engineer boots. However you pay homage, be sure to add plenty of authority questioning and attitude to your look. I’m sure our icon wouldn’t want it any other way.