This past spring, the style editors at The New York Times made a bold prediction for our closets when they declared that '70s fashion was making a serious comeback in 2015. Basically, bell bottoms and bell sleeves were shipping to a Forever 21 near you, and to help us all prepare, they reached out to someone who might know a few things.
Bebe Buell -- mother of Liv and mother of all '70s rock muses -- probably spent a good part of the Me Decade packing for tours (from Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith), and proved she could conjure that look with ease. But as I was pulling references for my own autumnal look book, Buell got me thinking of Penny Lane, another rock inspiration who's always epitomized the casual glam of that era for me.
When we first meet the fictional Penny -- modeled after Buell, played by Kate Hudson -- in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous," she's helping aspiring teen journalist William Miller get past venue security for a coveted Rolling Stone cover story. Yes, Penny tries to paper over her groupie status by euphemistically calling herself a "band-aid," but her fandom runs deep.
"I think Cameron showed his love of women in that movie," Buell told Elle in 2012 of her old friend. "One of the things that he tried to show about the Penny Lane character is that she was really more rock n' roll than the band and I thank him for that. The part of her that was me, he captured ... dead-on."
Released in 2000, Crowe's semi-autobiographical film is set in the 1970s and is ostensibly about young William's mag-writing aspirations colliding with Stillwater, a band on the verge of fame. Yet you can't help but be swept up by Penny Lane. Her 'I'm with the band' ethos eventually proves faulty but it comes from that pure place; boarding a bus thinking you can chase the way a few aching notes made you feel the first time you heard them.
Under the direction of costume designer Betsy Heimann, Penny's looks project a heady mix of vulnerability, youth, sex appeal and armor (see that Shearling coat).
The Penny that hasn't been thoroughly disillusioned pulls from a stack of delicate cropped tanks and mid-riff-bearing long-sleeve tees of various stripes meant to be paired with body-skimming jeans or cutoffs. She doesn't shy away from statement pieces either, like a particularly notable white fur chapeau.
The finish feels breezy, effortless, like rolling out of bed and throwing on your favorite vintage Levi's. Kind of like fall.