Stevie Nicks’ iconic look is widely admired and recreated by fans. Though she didn’t begin dressing in her shawls and top hats until she joined Fleetwood Mac, she said that an early experience with hair dye helped shape the look. She got in trouble, but she said that switching up her hair color had a profound effect on her.
Stevie Nicks met her best friend in high school
Due to her father’s work, Nicks’ family moved frequently moved throughout her childhood. She was born in Arizona but lived in New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and California. This was difficult for Nicks.
“Well, we moved — a lot,” she said in the book Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis. “So I was always the new girl. I knew I wasn’t going to have much time to make friends, so I made friends quickly and I adjusted really well, and when I’d say, ‘I’m gonna miss my room,’ my mom would always say, ‘There’s always a better house.’”
When the Nicks family moved from Utah to California, Nicks wasn’t a fan of her new high school.
“[It] was a very hoity-toity school,” she said, “very cliquey, and a lot of rich people went there.”
Still, she made a lasting connection after joining the school choir. Here, she met Robin Snyder, who would remain Nicks’ best friend for years to come.
Dying her hair helped establish her signature look
When Nicks first moved from Utah to California, she dressed relatively conservatively compared to her new classmates. She wore her hair short and in its natural dirty blonde color. At the end of the school year, however, she and Snyder decided to change up their looks.
“I had my hair streaked at the end of my tenth-grade year and got in a lot of trouble for it,” she said. “They didn’t just streak it blond, they streaked it silver. My hair was totally ivory. I was grounded for six weeks. But when my hair changed, everything changed. I got to wear grayish plum eye shadow. There was no way I was going back.”
Nicks maintained her new, more adventurous look by cutting her own hair.
“I’d gather up the top, measure it with my fingers, and just chop it off,” she explained. “I did it pretty well.”
When she joined Fleetwood Mac and began working with a designer, a professional stylist gave her the shag haircut that became her trademark in the 1970s.
Stevie Nicks worked with a designer when she joined Fleetwood Mac
Though Nicks always had an idea of how she wanted to look, she was able to bring it to life after joining Fleetwood Mac. She teamed up with designer Margi Kent to create a stage uniform. She explained that she wanted “something urchin-like, an English street urchin out of Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities.”
After some experimentation, Nicks and Kent finalized the look she’s worn for decades.
“We came up with The Outfit,” Nicks said. “A Jantzen leotard, a little chiffon wrap blouse, a couple of little short black tailored jackets, two skirts, and the velvet boots. That gave us an edge. I could be very sexy under layers of chiffon, lace, and velvet. And nobody will know who I really am.”
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