In response to my What Do You Want to Look Like? post, reader Queen of Sheba replied:
LOVE this entry! It has inspired me to ask my own question: I love a little punkiness or a little tough, but I have no desire to dress like a 12-year-old Hot Topic wannabe (I’m 27), and most of the places I shop (I’m cheap! thrift/vintage, H&M, sales) aren’t very heavy on the punk influence. How do I add some punk or tough influences to what I wear, and where do I look to find pieces that will help me do this?
(I’m a lucky, lucky postdoc, so I can wear whatever I want!)
I was positively gleeful upon receiving this question because I feel the EXACT same way. I’ve overheard many arguments about what it means to BE “punk,” a term that has floated around for ages but definitely morphed in meaning. I’m pretty sure that a little London Calling here and there is as punk as I get in real life, but aspects of classic punk style call to me like little rebellious sirens, luring me toward all things spiked and leathery. So, my queen, here’s what I’d recommend to a woman who wants to add just a dash of punk to her everyday style.
Studs of all types have been super trendy for a couple of years running, so tracking down a fun and funky studded accessory should take approximately nine seconds. And these pieces can be incorporated into decidedly non-punk looks. I wear my beloved Diesel studded bracelet, pictured above, with dresses, skirt-and-blouse ensembles, and laid-back casualwear as a way to subtly toughen up my look.
Since the SATC movie came out this summer, studded belts have become a mainstay. Whether you shell out for a pricey Patricia Field version, plunk down $12.99 at Target, or thrift one like I did, this is another piece that can punk up an otherwise staid ensemble.
Studded sandals are huge for spring and summer, and can be paired with floaty dresses for a great juxtaposition of tough and feminine.
Studded accessories might be the quickest, cheapest, and subtlest way to inject a little punk into your look. If bracelets, belts, and shoes don’t send you, cruise around Etsy for some studded inspiration.
Tall or short, flat or heeled, a good pair of black leather, buckle-adorned motorcycle boots is a fantastic asset to have on-hand. The John Fluevog Heidis pictured above have been favorites of mine for years, and I deploy them frequently with miniskirts and bulky sweaters.
Shorter versions like these Frye Engineer 8Rs are equally fun. I love wearing mine with my long plaid skirt, invoking a little Westwood. But I also do them with leggings and sweaterdresses for yet more tough-girly juxtaposition.
While the taller style works best with tights during the fall and winter months, short motorcycle boots will get year-round use paired with flirty dresses. This is another style that is extremely common and can be tracked down easily and cheaply. How could you pass on this versatile, comfy, and undeniably en-punk-enating accessory? Endless has a selection of looks at practically every price point.
Another hot trend that just about every retailer is pushing! This version from Kim & Maki is a wee bit pricey, but you can make your own layered necklace using multiple thrifted or already-owned pieces.
Those are my three easy tips for adding some punk overtones to a generally tame wardrobe. All will work with conservative looks, all utilize items that are easy to track down, and all can be done on the cheap. And, just as requested, Queen of Sheba can pull off these punky touches without looking like she raided her local Hot Topic.
Anyone care to offer further suggestions? How else can we add tough elements to our un-tough ensembles? By all means, chime in!
Images courtesy punkassphotos.com, and are of the band Civet. Can you say FOXY???