Keith or Anita?

Thinking about the Stones during all the Exile on Main Street mania, I realized that while most girls cite Anita Pallenberg as a Style Muse, I would choose Keith instead.

Anita is gorgeous. She got at least two Stones to fall in love with her, after all. In the movie Performance, she was sex on fire. But stylewise, to me, she was just a Rock Chick. Shaggy fur coats, floppy haps, floaty blouses, bla bla bla.

But Keith! There was style. Even if he couldn’t play guitar, he would still be the essence of Rock style. No one before or since has nailed it like Keith. Jimmy Hendrix was great but his style verged on costume, whereas Keith was just naturally cool.

For years, I wore one earring, inspired by Keith. Sometimes I still do, and it’s an old tiger claw, just like Keith’s.   Python boots seem like a wardrobe essential, because Keith wore them. Watching Keith listen to “Wild Horses” in Gimme Shelter, eyes closed and foot tapping in his worn out python boots, you can only think: Coolest person ever.

I don’t know why my style idols are men or women who dress like men. My favorite photo of Frida Kahlo is the one where she’s dressed in a man’s suit.

Wearing dresses and heels makes me feel ridiculous. Hats, too. And yet I am a girlie girl with a Girlie Brain who hoards lipstick, jewelry and nail polish. I just feel more myself when dressed like a tomboy. I’m drawn to men’s shoes and men’s jackets. When I veer too far from this style, I feel silly and uncomfortable.

Is it a power thing? Dressing up like a girl equals Trying to Capture Male Interest. It’s important to me to feel tough. Or maybe it’s a boob thing:   Do girls with big boobs feel innately more feminine and thus drawn to girlie clothes?

Or is it just cooler to be a Rock Star than a Rock Star’s girlfriend?

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37 Responses to Keith or Anita?

  1. TheShoeGirl says:

    Way cooler. I love tomboys- especially girlie ones. 🙂

    Great post.

  2. XuXu says:

    I, too, am tomboygirl.
    I can work a skirt…but love love love
    me some Dickies…and choose them.

    I think it is

    1) not having to worry about moving
    too quickly or actively….no skirt flying, etc

    2) I am taken more seriously

    3) probably a power thing

    4) for sure a protection thing

    also. it’s way more sexy to not
    try and be obviously sexy. i believe.

    the men I attract by dressing this
    way are not men hung up on being
    with a woman who is obsessed with
    dressing and make-up, etc.
    They are not intimidated by me.

    when I want to do the “girl” thing
    I knock that shit out of the park
    because it is SO unexpected.


  3. Kenita says:

    Meh. I was still in my mother’s womb during the age of the Stones. I’m not too far along on the Pallenberg and Keith fashion fiasco, but Sinbad was the first person who inspired me to rock one earring! And boy did my mom catch a fit with I took her Indian feather heirloom.

    You remember Sinbad? You probably poked fun at him. ;/ But Xena the Warrior Princess had the fashion thing down pact. Wait.. how did I get from the Stones to Xena? Anyway, tomboys are the best. Hands down. Was raised with the guys and I impressed them with my armpit farts. All the girls thought I was disgusting, so I just replied with an armpit fart and an obnoxious burp. And the ones at lunch, after eating that poison they call cafeteria food, was EPIC.

    But I’m not going to lie like a mother, I have my dressy days. And now that I’m getting older and developing a taste for shoes instead of all the Adidas and Nikes accumulating in my closet space, those dressy days come more often than not.

    You can’t lie SW. When you’re all dressed up with some place to go and your hubby tells you that you look hot, you know you soak it all up ! 😀

  4. Faux Fuchsia says:

    Don’t make me choose between Anita and Keef it just isn’t fair.

    We are spookily in sync- I am hardcore OBSESSED with Keef Mick and Anita right now, and have watched the Stones in Exile twice.

    I’ve done a Memorial Tribute Post about the. All that youth beauty thinness good hair and glamour is pretty interesting.

    I’m listening to Tumbling Dice as I type. In case you’re wondering.

    If pressed I’d say it’s cooler to be Mick and Keef than Bianca or Anita.

  5. enna. says:

    I wouldn’t bank on it being a boob thing. I have biggish boobs, and I’m really drawn to menswear (and would be utterly lost without my fedora). Sometimes I think I’m drawn to more masculine things to offset the inherent femininity of my figure. But I really like dresses and heels, too.

  6. Mary says:

    I love both their styles. I am a girly girl and love heels and a lovely frock. However I also do the tough, girly thing with leather, studs blah blah. I listen to a lot of metal of all genres from technical death like Meshuggah through to stuff like Iron Maiden, Slayer, doom (Neurosis) etc. LOVE.IT! Oops I digress, I also love the Stones but I think the Beatles had more to offer musically. The White Album is fucking awesome. Sorry I rant 🙂

  7. Dave C says:

    I’m in the grip of a Keef obsession at the moment myself, I remember when I was a kid seeing him on TV for the first time and just thinking ‘my god, who is THAT?’ The rest is history. And although I don’t care much for Frida’s paintings, she was always über cool. She could do the tomboy thing to perfection then turn on a dime and do the ultra feminine thing as well. She could kick Anita’s (style) ass any day.

  8. Dru says:

    I idolised the Beatles (in their early sharp-suit phase and later the Sgt Pepper military jackets) when I was growing up, not the Stones, but if you had to ask I’d still pick Keith or Marianne even if I do like Anita’s style.

    I have boobs (I keep telling myself they’re not that big) and hips, but tend to be happier and more
    comfortable in non-fussy, mildly mannish/boyish-looking clothes, particularly men’s shirts. I don’t do low-necked/tight tops, but I do like sometimes wearing a skirt with an otherwise not-that-girly collection of clothes. It’s grown-up ‘woman’ (i.e. LBD/tight/revealing dress+heels) that I simply can’t do. That and handbags. I’ve spent all 20-odd years of my life with backpacks and messenger, this business of turning them into trends mystifies me.

  9. Dru says:

    Ooops, I meant messenger bags up there.

  10. Miss B says:

    Keith is/was achingly stylish. I’m a Brian Jones fan, myself. Severe soft spot for that man, and my god, he could dress himself. I daresay it was one of the many influences he brought to the Rolling Stones table. Though the band went on without him, and he wasn’t a songwriter, his leadership in the formation and early days of the Stones can’t be overlooked. I loved the androgyny of his aesthetic; a lot of it was quite feminine – paisley, gold and bold prints – whilst masculine at the same time.

  11. Ann says:

    Big ups to Faux Fuchsia for bringing Bianca’s name to the table! See, I LOVE her. Still think she’s one of the hottest around. I guess I am a girly girl. Much as I’d love to do the menswear thing, I look like a fool anytime I try. I’m truly jealous of the girls who can pull it off. A few years ago, I bought a white suit a la Angelina Jolie and spent a fortune getting it custom-fitted. I wore it to a very formal party. At the time I thought I looked fierce, but looking back at the pictures from that night, I realize I just look ridiculous, like I’m trying too hard.

  12. deja pseu says:

    Or is it just cooler to be a Rock Star than a Rock Star’s girlfriend?


    I envy the lanky women who can pull off the menswear look and make it cool. On me it just looks middle-aged-butch. ;-p

  13. annemarie says:

    Apparently, Anita maintained that Mick Jagger was a total prick but that Keith was lovely. I also like that about him.

    And yes, I aspire to dress more like Keith. With my big head of pre-Raphealite curls, I would look way too Merchant Ivory in a floaty blouse. In addition, I have no tits.

    It is cooler to dress like Keith. Though, in fairness, he was quite femmy. Look at that pretty face and those figure hugging outfits. We’re not really transcending genders too much when we dress like him.

    When I was a kid, I loved Axl Rose and wore bicycle shorts and bandanas on my head.

  14. annemarie says:

    correction: I think it was Marianne who said that Mick was a prick and that Keith was lovely.

  15. Ah synchronicity…. I was listening to Sticky Fingers yesterday and remembering my lovely Keith encounters. Agreed with whomever said Mick was/is a prick! (I’ll never forgive him for being so.) But Keith, he is lovely! He was the first massive rock star I’d ever met at the tender age of 18, and he treated me not like a groupie (I was working in a nightclub) but like a new friend (seriously, we hung out after hours and yakked the night away!) And every other encounter he was just as sweet. Interesting, years later when I met my husband, he also had his Keith stories that mirrored mine. Great guy, great style. Ah they just don’t make them like that anymore… (; I did think Anita was pretty hot, but boy was she out there…. OTOH, Marianne Faithfull is more my speed! I actually tell hairdressers to cut my hair as a combo Marianne Faithfull/ Rock n Roll Brigitte Bardot. I’m lucky if I find someone who understands, but usually wind up hacking it up myself. Perhaps I should tell them “cut it like Keith’s, I’d be much happier!

  16. I am a tomboy all the way. When forced to wear a skirt I feel like I’m in costume. LOVE Keith Richards’ style!

  17. jools says:

    No mention of Charlie? Probably the best musician and most “grown-up”. And married to the same woman for over 30 years. Ah well I do get it. Keef and Mick are living dangerously and they’re gorgeous.

  18. Dru says:

    Punk Glam Queen- what a lovely story! I’ll admit it now, I went to see that silly Pirates of the Caribbean largely because I wondered what a combination of Johnny Depp+Keith Richards would be like (this was right after he admitted to snorting his dad’s ashes).

    I think all the Stones’ 60s/70s partners were pretty fantastic, style-wise (Bianca, Anita etc and of course Marianne). Jerry Hall, Patti Hansen, L’Wren Scott and that teenage waitress Ron Wood left his wife for just do not pack the same punch, though I do think Sophie Dahl is lovely.

  19. Aimee says:

    for me it’s ozzy on the cover of sabotage.

  20. rebecca says:

    I have big boobs. In fact I have a ridiculously feminine figure. I hate wearing feminine clothes. I feel like a caricature of myself, and I HATE the kind of attention it gets me. So I am uncomfortable in anything that makes my figure look more feminine than it is, and usually veer towards dressing like a tomboy, or in skirts that are kinda baggy. That is, NOT sexy or girlie. No pink. No animal prints. No see-through panels or body-con dresses, and no stilettos. To me, when women dress really ‘sexily’, it DOES seem to me like they’re trying to capture male interest. Which to me is slightly gross. Like the whole reason we women were put on this planet was to fall in love and be ushered away by our handsome princes (or princesses, though none of my gay friends seem to have this weird hang up that my straight ones do) and never have to take responsibility or think for ourselves ever again. It’s gross, man. And dressing for the opposite sex is just a small representation of this fucked up trend.

  21. I’d so forgotten about the one earring thing. Yes Keef is the business.

  22. WendyB says:

    Keith was pretty back then…it would be the same as being a girl, I figure.

  23. Dave C says:

    Can I just ad a quick big up to Miss B for mentioning the astonishing Brian Jones? Now that man had style…

  24. Cricket9 says:

    Pre-boobs, or after boobs (they are my own, late-blooming boobs), no pink, no frills, no skirts and almost never heels for me, despite some, rather lame, efforts, so it’s Keith, not Anita, and it’s way more cool to be a rock start that the star’s girlfriend/boyfriend.

  25. That’s really spooky – I’ve been thinking recently that most of my style icons are men or androgynous women, I just prefer that look. It’s much more sexy than a skimpy dress or something. Maybe I always wanted to be a rock star? Looking forward to the Exile documentary which is out tomorrow night over here- Mr TNMA is a massive Stones fan – and we have the ‘patience please’ photo of Keef by Ethan Russell. Fantastic haircut, great sunglasses and a nonchalant pout. He looked so cool then.

  26. dust says:

    I’ve worn and still wear both, girlish and boyish stuff, and the biggest compliment is when people tell me that I always look like myself. Looking sexy has nothing to do with clothes, luckily. I’m sure that your wish to wear leather shorts has nothing to do with sex with the others, but more with yourself and not even in sexual way. Once you have your leather shorts you’re not gonna wear them cos other stupids might think that you are in estrus.
    It’s hard to choose between two of them, I vote for baby!

  27. I feel ridiculous if I wear a necklace and did wear a long, fitted tuxedo jacket (just that and shoes) to my wedding.

    My 8-year-old dressed as Frida for Biography Day at school, but I put her in flowing, printed fabric and chunky turquoise beads.

  28. kate says:

    Mick said in many an interview that he never spent money on clothes or cared about his appearance. Now a critical glance at his precisely disheveled look would contradict his claims. I always felt like he was trying too damned hard to be NOT try-hard, if that makes any sense. I also recall reading that he derived his style from Anita’s, wearing her clothes (hence the pussybow blouses, Italian fedoras, tight pants, jewelry, and occassional furs and scarves). So maybe Keith wore it better, but Anita was still the mastermind and was basically his stylist.

    If there’s one person I want to call out as an annoying over-cited influence though it’s Marianne Faithfull-totally poor little rich girl Anita imposter. Even though Brian Jones was sort of annoying in a similar fashion I find myself most attracted to his ridiculous style too–I mean, the guy wore Thea Porter and had that hilarious cloud hair. I guess I like humorous style over pure cool.

  29. Nadia says:

    Keith Richards is definitely my favorite Stone! He’s got more spunk than the rest of them put together (sorry Mick Jagger fans, but it’s true). It’s definitely much cooler to be the Rock Star than the girlfriend!

  30. thereswaterhere says:

    Totally a boob thing, for me at least 🙁 I can’t wear androgynous-wear no matter how hard I try or want to. It’s baaaaad. Even blazers have to be cropped short and super slim in the waist or its frumps-galore!

  31. theresa says:

    For me, dressing up (girly, tough, costume-y, whatever) is the way I differentiate myself as a girl who is not ok with the power vagina free love mentality that is “hooking up.” Furthermore, the girlier I look at my college, the more men fear me (because they are used to unwashed pseudo grunge hippie-ness.) The poofier my dress, the higher my shoes, the longer and more princess-y my hair: the more I scare them. I also enjoy wearing leather and Keith Richards pirate blouse, blazer sort of stuff…but generally speaking, if I look styled AT ALL guys take me seriously. Strange you are, college culture.

    (I am sure its different at bigger schools, but at least at small liberal arts school, I am fairly certain that unwashed gen y faux feminism is the modus operandi.)

  32. theresa says:

    Well, I don’t think they take me seriously, necessarily, but they don’t know how to deal with me at all.fine by me.

  33. Kapaali says:

    I’m like you, Sister, I feel silly when I wear heels and dresses. It’s just not my bag. I’ve always taken my fashion cues from men (Noel Fielding, anyone?). The exceptions to that rule are women who don’t dress like girly girls AND rock, like Joan Jett, Patti Smith, and Alison Mosshart (who I would totally go gay for after I was done with Jack White, oh yes).

  34. erika says:

    I found Mick Jagger’s use of capes in Gimme Shelter so inspiring I made one last year after not being able to find one anywhere. I actually prefer his style to Keith’s it is a bit more rumpled. Keith did have a great haircut however. I am not super impressed by Anita Pallemberg. She wore what the other stylish girls wore. So what. Also she seemed to be terribly disloyal to Brian. All around I much prefer the style of The Who. I was watching The Kids are alright the other day and the mod suits they wore were absolute perfection. Also The Song Remains the Same, Jimmy Page’s outfit on stage. Lest we forget, women in music are not just accoutrement. Janis Joplin had one of the best wardrobes ever. Her clothes were major styling hippie luxe. And Angela Bowie may not have made the music but she directly created David Bowie’s stage persona and look.
    As for myself. I prefer to interchange between feminine and less so. I never dress for men. Although I do know what will get their attention. And I dress like a boy although I do have boobs. I have to say tha I feel far more powerful when I am dressed up like a lady however. Sort of superior and untouchable.

  35. enterrement de vie de jeune fille says:

    J’adore ces clichés de Keith richards spécialement celui où il est accoudé, bravo pour ces photos très expressives.


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