Once Upon a Time

Questions for indie folk singer Jamie Spiess.

By Laura Cassidy January 4, 2009 Published in the April 2008 issue of Seattle Met

As the voice of the local band Husbands, Love Your Wives, you’re the main attraction. What do you do to dress the part? My aesthetic reflects my music, but I don’t look at it as “dressing the part.” I am quite disorganized and tend to throw on a dress and put braids in my hair while making a mental set list a few minutes before I am supposed to arrive at a show. I very much admire bands who have it all together—their special pants, and their show eyeliner—but I feel awkward in public a lot of the time, so I try to wear things that I truly adore because that makes me feel comfortable.

Is this something you’d wear to be comfortable under the lights with your guitar? The band is gentle, and meant to tell tales, so what I’m wearing now is appropriate for being alone on the stage trying to impart these tales. This is a Victorian-era cotton children’s dress—or nightgown, I’m not really sure—from my mom’s store, Window Box, in Kalama. I’ve had these English riding boots since I was 15; I have won many blue ribbons with my Arabian horses in these boots!

Describe your style in three words. Lonely, Nordic, nymph.

Describe the style of your music in three words. Quiet, tender, folk.

Do you have a wardrobe wish list for shows? Mick Jagger’s purple leggings, Stevie Nicks’s batwing gown? No, but I have been collecting things with high, ruffled necks in white or black sheer and lace fabrics, with pearl and bone buttons down the backs. Once I figure out how to wear them without looking like a porcelain doll or a character out of the Lumière brothers’ silent films, you can count on seeing them at my shows.

When I figure out how to wear them without looking like a porcelain doll, you can count on seeing them at my shows.

Who are your musical icons and do any of them also have a style or physical presence that you admire as well? There is nothing as wild and appealing as the provocative old videos of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot in their ridiculous clothes, smoking their cigarettes and acting very blasé towards each other.

Say you’re headed for the MTV awards to accept the award for best new artist. Who do you commission to make your dress? I would look for a short lace vintage Chanel gown, and I would mix in something plaid and old from Burberry. Their ads have always appealed to me; the ethereal woman in her thick blanket coat, wearing her wellies, surrounded by baby lambs and a fleet of striking, blue-eyed Scandinavian farm boys or something absurd like that. Sounds like a Husbands, Love Your Wives song!

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