Anyone who can rock face paint on the reg is pretty damn awesome—inspiring even, some would say—which is why our latest style obsession is Merrill Garbus, aka tUnE-yArDs. But with just a glance, if you have yet to hear her work, it’s hard to assess much about the musical artist. Do those puffy metallic sleeves suggest she’s channeling her ‘80s predecessors? Is her ukulele a nod to folksy songs sung around the campfire? Does that neon, geometric facepaint indicate that we have a warrior goddess on our hands? Perhaps it’s a little bit of all of that…and then some. If her ecletic look is any indication, tUnE-yArDs isn’t just one thing and she’s unlike anything we’ve heard before.
Inspired by sounds from Haiti, Oakland-based tUnE-yArDs blends dance party-inducing percussion beats with a roller coaster of pitch-perfect vocals. You may recognize her song “Gangsta” off of her second studio album (she has three) w h o k i l l from OITNB. And “Water Fountain,” the first single off of her third studio album Nikki Nack, released this past May, will make you want to skip rope in the park. Bonus: she’s awesome to listen to live and is known for creating on-the-spot drum loops. Seriously, a tUnE-yArDs YouTube session is time well spent.
But tUnE-yArDs didn’t just catch our attention for her killer vocals—it’s her funky sense of style that makes us adore her even more. Bold splashes of face paint, geometric prints, shocks of neon, and feathery bits and pieces give new meaning to the expression “fashion is fun,”. Click through the gallery to shop for styles inspired by our latest muse, from pom pom earrings and dramatically structured sleeves, to a cap that’s out of this world.
1. RareFringe Tribal Dress, $23 2. Heather Galea Designs Custom Galaxy Hat, $17 3. Unisex Striped Tank, $24 4. Chuck Taylors In Wild Honey, $55 5. Lazy Oaf Shape Out Dress, $108 6. Zalan Zinc Stick Sunscreen Kit, $12 7. Mermemerald Leggings, $75 8. Wildfox La Femme Deluxe 55mm Sunglasses, $179 9. South Florida Spree Top In Geometric, $35 10. ASOS Feather Chain Hair Grip, $4 11. LJC Designss White Wooden Tassel Necklace, $19 12. Raindrop-Print Blouse, $23
13. Line & Dot Till The Sun Blazer, $66 14. Scoop Back Striped Tee, $15 15. At Siam Pop Pom Earrings, $18