I got a chance to sit down with Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter to discuss her fashion inspirations, dressing for Warped Tour, tattoos, and more.
Automatic Loveletter is performing acoustically at the Keep-A-Breast Girlz Garage for the entire Warped tour. Her set times are not listed on the inflatable or paper Warped Tour schedules, so make sure you stop by the tent to find out when she is playing.
Her new acoustic album The Kids Will Take Their Monsters On is for sale at Warped Tour and will be officially released on June 28, 2011 through Paper + Plastick Records.
How would you describe your personal style?
70s male rock star goes female.
Do you have any other inspirations or influences?
Yeah – Southwestern, Navajo, Indian, gypsy, some type of kinda witchy type thing, renaissance, 70s – bell bottoms, boots. I love cutting up my shirts and making them halters like this. Things that dangle, like this bathing suit top. Lots of scarves, you can tie them in places so that they drape. Hats, I’m really into hats.
What do you think that your clothes say about you?
Well if I have to talk about myself that way, I guess I would say that I’m an artist. I like to use what is my body is as like a…I don’t know, you’re putting yourself out there. This is what you’re selling, and this is who I am, and I like to show people with my tattoos and my clothing and all that the kind of person I am.
What are the best and worst trends that you’ve seen around Warped Tour?
Best trend is hair color – blues, greens, yellows, pinks – all of it. Fucking awesome. I have pink in mine, and orange. I made these 90s Mexican vintage bags I’ve actually been seeing girls wear, so anything like that is pretty cool. Boots.
Worst – I would say is a lot of makeup. I mean, I get it, you’re putting on a show, but doing that every day and then having to wear it in this heat? I don’t know, kids are getting really stylish these days. I haven’t seen anything that I’m like “no, don’t do that” – except the banana guy, ”why are you wearing a banana?”
How does the Warped Tour heat affect the sort of clothes that you wear?
Usually day to day I wear jeans or cool bell-bottoms, I guess I don’t really wear much pants – in the pants department, as you can tell. It’s just too hot. I pretty much put a bathing suit on and then basically put a shirt over it or some sort of dress or shorts. And then I spruce it up with jewelry and other knick-knacks.
When you are going on Warped Tour, how much clothes do you bring with you?
Last Warped I brought about 3 suitcases and sent 2 of them back immediately. This Warped I did a good job, I only brought one. It’s very very big and very packed, but I brought one.
What is your one must-have item for Warped tour?
(Juliet points to her cowboy boots)
Do you think that being a musician gives you freedom to wear clothes that you might not be able to wear in other situations?
I feel like anybody can wear anything they want as long as they wear it with confidence. I feel like anybody can dress the way that I dress, or the way that Blood on The Dance Floor even. I think that anybody can dress that way as long as they carry it with confidence.
So obviously you have to adjust your style a bit for the heat, but to what degree are you willing to sacrifice comfort for style, especially when you’re on stage trying to put on a show?
My feet are very hot right now, so I’m sacrificing that. They’re in pain. They go numb after a while. The sun is brutal, so if you’re not wearing a lot of clothing then you’re not getting protected.
Do you think that since you’re playing acoustically now it allows you to wear different clothes that you might not wear if you were having to run around on stage?
I would not wear this outfit. This hem would be flying up and my freakin’ ta-tee would be just flashing everybody.
What’s your everyday beauty routine?
Well, it depends on if I get to shower or not. I try to get clean, put my contacts on, brush my hair, blow out my bangs. I put makeup on first and then I get dressed because if you try to get dressed and you don’t have makeup on yet then you tend to think you look ugly no matter what you put on. So I put makeup on first. And then I get dressed. And then put some perfume on or something. And then snake it up!
What are your favorite stores to shop for clothes?
I shop at a lot of online boutiques: Bona Drag is really good, Nasty Gal, Spanish Moss. One of my favorite fashion sites is knighttcat.com, it’s amazing. Real stores? All the places that I love are little secrets in LA or New York. Forever 21 is getting awesome.
When did you start getting interested in fashion?
I mean, as a teenager and as a kid I always liked to have cool clothes. I didn’t start learning about designers and fashion sites, and finding your own inspirations…I started probably doing this starting about 3, 4 years ago. When I got into my 20s.
What was your fashion sense like when you were in high school?
I wore a lot of American Eagle and PacSun. I was very beachy.
I know you have a lot of tattoos, which one was your first tattoo?
(Juliet takes off her boot to show me a small treble clef on her left ankle that she has since covered with a large snake. It took me a minute to see it, but if you look closely enough the treble clef is still visible through the snake.)
How old were you when you got that?
Were your parents ok with it?
Yeah my mom approved it.
So your parents don’t mind any of your tattoos?
So you have tattoos on our hand now which is a recent thing. That the sort of thing where a lot of people are like “Oh my god, don’t tattoo your hands. It’s all over. You’re a tattooed person.” Was that a concern?
I’ll never be able to have a normal job. But no, I plan on doing this forever. Hell no.
Do all of your tattoos have personal meaning?
There’s a story behind all of them?
Yup. It’s pretty funny, my tour manager, who is actually my ex boyfriend…(I interject: “that’s not awkward?”)…nope he’s my best friend, not at all. We both have that (Juliet points to the inside of her right upper arm), we have matching tattoos. It’s from the movie “Willow.”
If you could raid a celebrity’s closet, who would it be?
Aerosmith. Steven Tyler.
What has been your biggest splurge purchase?
If my manager and my mom ever hear this they’re gonna kill me. One time I went on a shopping spree and I spent like 3 grand.
So what did you buy and was it worth it?
I don’t really know where all of those clothes went to be honest. It was like a year and a half ago. I have so many clothes that I can’t really even remember really what I bought then. I have so many clothes.
Do you feel like as a performer you have an obligation to dress up?
Totally. It’s an investment.
What are you wearing right now? Describe your look.
Ok well I’m totally shameless, I’m wearing an Automatic Loveletter Harley Davidson shirt that I cut up into a halter dress. Vintage cowboy boots with a vintage cowboy band thing. Vintage jewelry. This is a cuff from India. Sterling silver bangle. A Vanessa Mooney arm band. A giant cross necklace with an eye on it. Feathers. Raccoon teeth. American flag bandana around my neck. Free People floppy hat. Snake bracelet.