Fashion Roadie, SXSW

sxsw girl in skirt on bike

The most stylish girl spotted at SXSW on her old-school bike, flouncy skirt hiked up, ankle boots, leather gloves and guitar (out of view) slung over her back.

Last week, at the very last minute, I booked a flight to Austin for a 24-hour whirlwind trip to SXSW, the annual music, film and interactive conference. One of my client’s, Dr. Martens, was co-hosting a music event there with Filter, and since I’ve always wanted to go, figured this was as good a time as any.

Because I work in advertising, SXSW has become a cliché, a boondoggle, a badge of honor (literally, as an actual SXSW badge will set you or your company back between $650 and $1,595.) It’s an excuse to ditch work to attend social media panels and wait in long lines to listen to bands you’ve never heard of. It had “Jumped the Shark”, or as I’d read numerous times, was so crowded and hyper-commercialized it had become “Burning Man for hipsters with jobs.” If this was all true, I needed to find out for myself.

I divide my short, unruly hair into ten tiny ponytails, which can withstand the rigors of travel while keeping its cool. Lacing up my spiked 1460 Docs in the dark, I feel that same “getting ready for a show” rush of excitement from long-ago yet familiar nights of the 80s and 90s, even though it’s 6:30 in the morning and my back hurts. My husband sleepily says “bye” to “his rocker chick.” More like his “off her rocker” chick in reading glasses, who is about to fly to Texas for 14 hours to hear 8 bands with no idea of where I’d sleep, or if I would sleep at all.

6th Street, Austin, Texas, SXSW. Or is it Bourbon Street?

6th Street, Austin, Texas, SXSW. Or is it Bourbon Street?

I certainly wouldn’t get sleep on the plane out: a small commuter the likes that terrify me, so easily tossed around in the sky. I forget my fear when the lone flight attendant tells me I look like Bjork. He motions up with his eyes — oh right, my hair, the ten tiny pony tails — and I smile. I bet he says that to all the middle-aged girls.

I land in one piece. After listening to some bands at the Dr. Martens/Filter event, I head over to 6th Street, the main drag and home to most music venues. I am overwhelmed by the brew of corporate branding, barbeque and beats. The heat makes me weary.

I seek refuge in the convention center to check-out the “Flatstock” display of works from the world’s top gig poster artists. It was awesome. And much more my speed. That speed being slow.

"Gig" posters from Flatstock, SXSW.

“Gig” posters from Flatstock, SXSW.

In the end, after more music (including an epic set by !!! — that is not a typo) I hitch a ride to crash on the couch of my client’s rental to snag a few hours of sleep before I head home.

Had SXSW Jumped the Shark? Did I care? I can tell you this: next year, I’m going to do it proper by booking well ahead of time and to catch some of the many films, venues and presentations that I know I would love.

Screw the fact that I’m easily twice as old as most revelers on 6th street. I’ve rocked hard, and will continue to rock hard. Bjork hair, boots and all.

rocker chic style

1: Safety Pin earrings, Tom Binns, 2: Marabou feather clutch, 3: Acne Zone Music shirt, 4: Bjorg brush ring, 5: Topshop Jamie Moto black jeans, 6: Dr. Martens spike books, Dr.

PS: The first time I rocked, or perhaps swayed, was at the Cow Palace to see the Commodores and the Brother’s Johnson. I remember wearing Dittos and a White Stagg ski jacket. What was yours? What did you wear? We’d love to know. xoxo

12 Responses

  1. I went to my first concert in 3rd Grade. Donny and Marie Osmond. I’m sure I wore purple.
    Second concert, 7th Grade, Adam and the Ants. INXS opened. I have no idea what I wore. My sister took me and I was so happy to be there with her.

  2. Paula

    This made me spit out coffee. Although as a kid I loved the Donny Osmond song “One Bad Apple.” which I think I need to put on my ipod immediately.


    First concert was Judas Priest, in Frankfurt, Germany. I am sure I wore some variation of white jeans and a denim jean jacket with patches. And of course, as you do at a Judas Priest concert at 14, I am sure that at one point in the evening, I threw up. 🙂

  4. Paula

    How very progressive of you Ms. Verrier; why am I not surprised! White pants + vomit = bad.
    I miss you. Can we go see a show together soon? xoxo


    Haircut One Hundred. 1982. I word a 3/4 length straight white pencil skirt and a white boat-necked, bat-winged top, both from Top Shop.

  6. Paula

    Rebecca, how very French. I absolute LOVE Haircut One Hundred (Love + One is one of my all-time favorite songs and makes me smile whenever I hear it.). xo


    My first concert was The Gears (opening – “I Don’t Like Your Face” is the only song I remember). and The Knack (headlining – still know all their songs by heart). Corvallis, Oregon. Frosh or soph in high school, so late 70s. I would have been rockin’ glasses, braces, feathered hair, a lot of color-coordinated plastic jewelery and pins, and probably something in a terry-cloth:-)

  8. Paula

    I am embarrassed to say I’ve never heard of the Gears, but wow, the Knack was always one of those bands I wish I could have seen but never did — I LOVE them. You ensemble brings back so many memories. Maybe you should revive it for your next NICKELBACK show! xoxo


    My very first concert was March 14, 1975 at Winterland Arena in San Francisco (at Post/Steiner). The lineup was Robin Trower, Journey & Pablo Cruise (Journey before Steve Perry). I was 12 years old and went with my older brother’s friends. I remember the date so well because we were going to celebrate my sister’s birthday but Ann Pinto and she got busted for something right before and my sister got grounded 🙂 My brother’s friends took me to so many concerts back then. Tickets for Winterland concerts were $5.50 including service charge and there was always 3 big name bands.

    As a mother of a 12 year old daughter myself, I would NEVER let her go to San Francisco with a bunch of 17 year old guys and see live music. But those many concerts at Winterland are some of my all-time favorite memories. How truly lucky I was to see so many amazing bands back then. Everytime I hear “Bridge of Sighs” I get a warm, sentimental feeling.

    1. Paula

      Journey before Steve Perry still holds spots on my ipod; such great stuff. I will forever be bummed I never went to Winterland before it closed. Do you remember much of what it was like? You are so lucky to have that concert history under your belt. I feel lucky like you too in that we grew up in an era and area of such wonderful, important music. You are also lucky to share music with your daughter. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to let her go to shows, knowing what you know. Does she get how cool her mom is, how hard she used to rock and still does rock? xoxo


    My first concert was the Police at the Oakland Arena. Don’t remember what I wore because I was so excited to be there. Second concert was U2. I wore a one piece white t-shirt shorts jumper with high top converse. I used to slick back and bobby pin the sides of my hair really tightly. The rest of it was curled and ratted on top. I was trying to emulate Bono’s hair. LOL! I worshiped him.

  11. Paula

    What scares me about you ensemble is that it’s not unlike something I wore last week! And I always glue the sides of my unruly hair to the side of my head.

    Wow, the Police, that must have been awesome. My first show at the Oakland Arena was Earth, Wind & Fire and I was practically in tears the entire time as they were my absolute favorite band in high school. Saw them 20 years later at the Shoreline and was near tears then too. Also saw U2 during their first tour, LOVED it. xoxo

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