Buttoned Up But Wild At Heart: The Style Of David Lynch

June 25, 2018

The notion of a style “uniform” has its champions and critics, depending on what fashion and menswear resources you read. Whether simple and utilitarian, like Bill Cunningham’s blue jacket and khaki chinos, or dandified, like Tom Wolfe’s white suits, some fashionable people enjoy the simplicity and statement of a signature look, while others find it stifling or dull, occasionally cartoonish. But there are examples out there of people who have made signature looks without loudly pronouncing them while still maintaining a bit of fluidity or singularity to their sense of style. My favorite example is David Lynch.

You’d think that the artist behind mindbenders such as Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire would have some degree of loud eccentricity to his style, like an Andy Warhol type. But Lynch has actually worn pretty much the same thing since his Eraserhead days — a plain shirt, mostly white, buttoned all the way up with a jacket, mostly black, putting on a tie when the occasion demands. Relatively plain, though the insistence on buttoning the top button focuses attention, so it’s not without its quirk. It’s an outfit that is acceptable in most social situations as it shows a degree of care without being fussy. But as consistent as this style, my goodness his hair! It has remained an incomprehensible series of swoops through it all.



Honestly, I have no idea how his hair does it. It starts pretty clean and often ends up as random and twisty as stormy waters. It’s pretty difficult to find a photo where his hair is exactly the same. This rebellious quaff has served him as his hair turns from black to white with time. It would be an impressive hairstyle even if it didn’t keep shifting like sand but combining this inconsistency with his buttoned up uniformity it makes something familiar yet distinct. He employs and displays an eccentricity that doesn’t skew into costume territory and is reliably unpredictable.

It’s easy to blow past this kind of stylistic uniform since it doesn’t have that singularity of wearing the exact same thing every day nor does it boldly pronounce itself. However, much like with his movies, you’re not going to find too many people doing what David Lynch does. Take inspiration and find your balance of simple and indulgent and keep in mind that the owls are not what they seem.