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What I Learned About Style From Sonic Youth's "Bull In The Heather"

In case you missed the memo back in 2011, Sonic Youth is now O-V-E-R. We can all sit in a hugging circle and cry together about that later, but at least the subliminal teachings in their videos live on and on and on.



In case you missed the memo back in 2011, Sonic Youth is now O-V-E-R. We can all sit in a hugging circle and cry together about that later—I'd be into that—but at least the band's darkly experimental blend of scuzzy bass, minor chord angst, and ghostly vocals lives on and on and on. The foursome's imprint can be found in practically every alternative rock group from the late 80s and beyond, and guess what? The NYC crew were also pretty good at wearing clothes. Okay, so actually the men in Sonic Youth stuck to a regimen of flannel, tour-worn jeans, baggy t-shirts, and the occasional button down.

Really, the band's fashion focal point was always Kim Gordon. Her reaction to grunge's shapeless, anti-fashion aesthetic was to set up clothing line X-Girl, an offshoot X-Large, back in 1993. Along with stylist Daisy von Furth, the X-Girl look was all about skinny tees and preppy, 60s-influenced A-line dresses. Worn by downtown It girls like Chloë Sevigny and Sofia Coppola, X-Girl's SoHo store was a total scene, complete with guerrilla fashion shows and stunts like the Godard-inspired video (below) where Chloë and her bowl cut hair busted in on a Marc Jacobs catwalk show.

X-Girl aside, Sonic Youth's 1994 video for "Bull in the Heather" is a snapshot of the era. It's also evidence of the band's influence to this day and it's full of subliminal messages which will improve your day-to-day existence. Let's take a highly analytical, super-serious look. Please note the completely random, but totally key cameo from Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna.


I love how mischievous Kathleen Hanna looks. That expression says: "I just made out with the English teacher under the school bleachers at the school dance." Short, messy, pigtails always complement this Drew Barrymore-in-Poison Ivy rebel-girl smirk. Also having a slightly matching t-shirt with your BFF definitely solidifies your rockstar soul-sister bond. Mostly what this onscreen moment tells us is having good girl buddies is EVERYTHING.


Chuck Taylors have been de rigueur for rockers since The Ramones. Low tops like these beat up blue babies are ideal for "dancing," otherwise known as "thrashing around the studio and trying to befuddle the band members." This particular style is now discontinued, but resourceful internet explorers will know you can always impress your friends by scouring and scoring near-obsolete items on eBay.


Wear your cutest underwear outside of your tights. Then dance around the boys in the band, simultaneously distracting them and mocking their trad rock posturing. Then steal their guitar and start a band. Words to live by.


Dig out that old communion dress from the attic. You know, the one that gave you a rash round the neck. Got it? Cool. Put it on. Ta-da! Kindercore vibes FTW!


Horses make rad accessories. For one thing there's an ironclad guarantee that nobody will have the same horse as you because every horse is unique and made from nature. Also try and only eat fruit that matches your threads.


Hot pink miniskirts are hot. What is this one made out of? Rubber? Leather? More like MAGIC. Girls should always note that wearing a casual t-shirt with a short-ass skirt is a killer combo. Don't mess with perfection.


Just when you think you've got Kim pegged, she dons some white slipper kitten mules topped off with a fluffy baby bunny tail. These heels are great for throwing across the room in a fit of ennui. In other news, seriously, just go blonde. Just once. And get your hair lopped off into a shaggy, boyish yet sculpted bob. Also, know your angles. Shots from above are good. Shooting from below = bad. (Everyone who was once on MySpace knows this and they no doubt learned this from "Bull In The Heather."


Make boys paint your toenails for you. Actually, just make boys do everything for you.


Again here's Kathleen with her revolutionary underwear-as-outerwear fashion innovations. Sure, Madonna kicked this off with "Vogue," but the great thing about Kathleen is she makes this trend accessible. Forget Gaultier, all you need is a thrift store. This look works best with big hair. The bigger the hair, the closer to the "Bull in the Heather."


Moral of the story? Wear your underwear outside your clothes, get yourself a pink rubber skirt, and for the love of Sonic Youth, remember that girls rule, okay?

Hazel's wearing a pink rubber skirt and riding a pretty pink pony right now. She's on Twitter - @HazelCills

Style Stage is an ongoing partnership between Noisey & Garnier Fructis celebrating music, hair, and style.