Although Alison Sudol performs under the name A Fine Frenzy, her sense of style is anything but maddening; from classic color combinations to clean lines, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter prefers style order to overload. “A lady,” opines Sudol, “should always keep a few secrets up her sleeve.” She did, however, divulge a few details about the outfit she wore onstage at Sundance. A Fine Frenzy’s third album is slated for release this spring.
What I Wore: Marc Jacobs blouse, Elizabeth and James skirt, Stuart Weitzman booties.
I brought this outfit on tour because: There’s something about a long, high-waisted skirt and little, buttoned blouse that I really love. (Do people still call them blouses?) It’s feminine but not fussy, and for some reason, I always feel a little calmer when I put it on. For touring, that’s very important; I get quite nervous before we play, and the last thing I want to be worrying about is whether I look funny in what I’m wearing. Of course, sometimes I do look funny in what I’m wearing, but at least I don’t know [it], so it doesn’t affect my performance. As for the heels, they’re incredible. I’m not very steady in high heels as a general rule, but I seem to be able to move in them without falling over.
If this outfit were one of my songs, it would be: “Riversong,” from my new record. There is a lot of space in it, and though the melody is simple and almost childlike, there is a tremendous amount of sadness and longing underneath. I think this outfit is like that—in that what is not seen (or heard) can often be more powerful than what is shown.
My personal style is: A bit old-fashioned, but not in an overpowering or costume-y way. I love the clean elegance of cream and black. Whether it’s a photograph or a piece of clothing, a leather bag or a film, I tend to gravitate towards simple, beautifully made, quietly lovely things. They make me happy.
I always pack: A great staple blouse, a slip, black tights, and these heels. And a great book!
You’d never catch me onstage wearing: Anything strapless. The possibilities of potential “wardrobe malfunction” are manifold… and terrifying.
My pre-tour shopping stop is: One of the local flea markets to get fun, interesting vintage pieces and then mix them with modern things. Generally, Bloomingdale’s or Barneys are great stops to find a variety of designers in limited time, though I love smaller, independent stores, too. Lake in Silver Lake is one of my favorites.
The best on-the-road purchase I ever made was: A pair of vintage dark red leather boots in Charlottesville, Virginia. I wore them on and off tour for years until they completely fell apart. I always try to scour local vintage shops and antique stores as much as I can while I’m on the road—it’s my version of hunting for buried treasure. Also, just yesterday at Sundance, I was given the most beautiful cashmere herringbone blanket made by Commonwealth Proper that I am now completely obsessed with. It’s a lovely, rusty chocolate and soft as can be, plus there’s something distinguished and gentlemanly about it that reminds me of wood-paneled libraries and leather chairs. Touring is a great big adventure; you never know what you’re going to find along the way.