When it comes to truly great personal style, there’s often a uniform involved. Not literally, but most women who can be considered style icons do have a certain formula they rely on when approaching fashion. Take for instance, Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s closet full of prim suits, peacoats, and oversized sunglasses or Kate Moss’s on-repeat use of off-duty staples like skinny jeans, slip dresses, and oversized furs.
PJ Harvey, the British-born musician and writer who’s been in the news lately thanks to her controversial lyrics and videos leading up to the April 15 launch of her new album, tends to take the opposite approach, and that’s what makes her such an unexpected inspiration. Since she started her career in the late 1980s, her look has continued to evolve. But the way she puts things together has not.
Harvey has a distinct way of breaking the traditional set of cliche “fashion rules” set forward by magazines, society, your crazy aunt, or whoever. Think: smudged makeup with white Victorian-style dresses and blouses. Or bright blue eyeshadow worn with a bold red lip and dark, arched eyebrows. Her penchant for over-the-top headpieces paired with ethereal white gowns has made her one to watch on stage, but it’s also the company she keeps that likely has a lasting influence on her interesting style too, including friends such as designer Ann Demeulemeester and New York legend Patti Smith.
Above, click through the gallery to a selection of PJ’s most inspiring looks.