Style

Why We’re Style Crushing on Monica Martin of Phox

Monica Martin Phox

Photo: Maria Boyadgis for theFashionSpot

Frontwoman of six-piece US band Phox, midi-skirt enthusiast and all-round babe, Monica Martin, has got a country-vintage style to boot, and it’s safe to say we’ve fallen seriously in love with her. Not only does the Wisconsin beauty have the voice of an angel, she’s also got that totally lovable thing happening with her adorable freckles, winged eyeliner, wild curls and infectious megawatt smile.

We sat down with the lovely lady herself to find out a little bit more about her evolving style, beauty tricks, and what it’s really like being in a band with five boys. See what the budding style icon had to say below.

theFashionSpot: We’re big fans of your look! How would you describe your personal style?

Monica Martin: Aw wow, thanks! I love a lot of classic fits, A-line and circle skirts, cowboy boots and big hair. Sometimes I’ll just cut the bottom half off a blouse, and god knows I can’t keep a pair of nylons without ruining them, there’s always going to be a little bit of shabbiness with me. What I wear on the day-to-day has changed a bit since starting to tour — I’ve had to refine because of the nature of a small suitcase and I fear carrying delicate vintage pieces for long periods of time.

tFS: How do you choose an outfit before a gig?

MM: It helps that I have limitations while on tour. I honestly have about five black skirts on tour, with slight variations, and tops that fit nicely with each. I rotate them out. I just go with what feels right for the day, you know?

tFS: Do you ever use a stylist?

MM: I haven’t used a stylist. I consider myself someone with particular taste, and I know what I want when I see it. I’m curious for the day that I’ll meet someone who understands my taste and introduces me to new things.

Monica Martin Phox theFashionSpot

Monica wears her own top, Asos skirt, River Island heels, Karen Walker sunglasses and Colette ring

tFS: How does your on-stage style differ from your everyday look?

MM: After year one of tour there has been more disparity in my on-stage and off-stage looks. When I was living in Madison I would mostly always be in a skirt and top I found nice, with big hair and my makeup on. I was a hairdresser and makeup artist — I’ve always liked expressing how I’m feeling in those ways.

I feel more apt to be in lounge wear when I’m not on stage these days… I don’t know if it’s because I’m more relaxed being makeup-less as I unlearn my insecurities or because I spend sometimes 11 hours in a van and what’s the damn point?

tFS: Do you have any favourite designers?

MM: I honestly have not perused different designer catalogues out of the understanding that most of the things I truly loved were out of my reach, as of right now. I often see things in passing and admire them. Also, so often I’m buying old beautiful things that I happen to fall upon in vintage shops, so I keep my mind open to any and all designers.

tFS: Are you a fan of any Australian labels?

MM: Finders Keepers is Australian, I believe! They have some great tops with cool cutouts and pretty peplum dresses I was peepin’ the other day. Otherwise, like I said, the current design world is one I’m just starting to explore more.

tFS: What’s the most important thing to remember when getting dressed for a performance?

MM: The taller the hair, the closer to God!

tFS: Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction on stage?

MM: Not any sort of sexy button-popping incidents, unfortunately (laughs). Once in Montreal, I got on stage and realised that I sat on a large amount of what seemed to be pizza sauce or something totally foul, and I am the type of person to point something like that out and laugh at it, but it was somehow bothering me to no end.

Monica Martin Phox theFashionSpot

Monica wears Jets by Jessika Allen top, River Island skirt and shoes, Ksubi sunglasses and Colette by Colette Hayman ring

tFS: Do you give the boys in your band any style tips before hitting the stage?

MM: The boys have a mind of their own, and I think they’re sick of hearing my opinions. They have good taste. My best boyo, Matt, does like to pull some skanky moves and layer 4 different types of plaid to troll people.

tFS: Do you have any style icons?

MM: You know, I love so many of the golden age of Hollywood starlets and songbirds: Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, Lena Horne, Audrey Hepburn, and of course I could go on and on. I love the big curls and waves. I love the accented waistlines and beautiful necklines.

tFS: We’re in love with Phox’s cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”. Are you personally a fan of Taylor?

MM: I love a good pop song as much as the next person… and that song is so fun to sing! I haven’t listened to all of her work, unfortunately, but perhaps one day the mood will be upon me to dig deeper.

tFS: Is there a musician you’d love to collaborate with?

MM: Oh man, there are so many… and so many musicians I admire deeply that I have gotten to sing with already. My gut reaction in this moment is that I want to sing a song with Brandi Carlile.

tFS: What’s your biggest fashion regret?

MM: Getting really into the emo/scene style thing in high school…. or shaving half my head about 5 years ago.

Monica Martin Phox theFashionSpot

Monica wears Alice in the Eve at General Pants Co. Tank, Uniqlo Pants, Colette by Colette Hayman necklace and Karen Walker sunglasses

tFS: Having gone to beauty school, do you ever look after your own hair and makeup for shows and music videos?

MM: Absolutely, all the time. Those are skills I’ve been developing for a long time. I have cut my own hair since middle school…save about a year ago when the lovely owner Shelly of Cha Cha, the salon where I worked briefly, gave me a haircut and it’s never looked better.

tFS: Do you ever lend your beauty expertise to the boys in the band?

MM: I have cut all their hair for the past three years, and Matt’s for about seven. They’re all growing their hair out right now! I’m having trouble watching it happen.

tFS: Your hair is amazing! How do you take care of it?

MM: I either rock it super curly in its natural form, or round brush it out for big waves… the latter is nice because at the end of the day, I can wrap it up at night in pin curls, and shake it out, and do that for about a week without washing it. It saves a lot of time, and makes people think you’re trying a lot harder than you are (laughs). Oribe products are incredible and I trim my ends often.

tFS: What is your favourite personal feature?

MM: Hmm. My freckles.

tFS: Do you have any body-image hang-ups?

MM: Absolutely. I’m trying to unlearn all of the things I was taught about what beauty means, because many of my anxieties are inescapable and human. I have big thighs, stretch marks, scars from being a tom-boy and all the other things that are OK to have. Everyone has their imperfections and it’s OK.

Monica Martin Phox theFashionSpot

Photo: Maria Boyadgis for theFashionSpot

tFS: How do boyfriends react to you spending all your time with five other boys?

MM: If a boyfriend even mentioned he was worried about that, he probably wouldn’t be my boyfriend for very long.

tFS: How do you stay grounded in the entertainment industry?

MM: I’ve always had the understanding that I am no better than any person. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m on some sort of upper echelon, even though many people may start to treat you that way.

tFS: What is the best life advice you’ve ever received?

MM: I was 16 in Long Beach, California, and was wandering the streets while I was visiting my uncle. A craggy old man started mumbling at me for 45 minutes. He said, “I know the three things you need to know.” One of them was, “Get a quality mattress, you spend one third of your life sleeping.” And, for who knows what reason, it stuck with me, and it was the first large investment I ever made. I seriously forgot the other two things.

Phox is making their debut Australian performance at Sydney’s Newtown Social Club tonight, March 10. Watch their live stream from while they were in town here.

Photos: Maria Boyadgis for theFashionSpot