Secret Style Icon: Linda Manz in Days of Heaven

Take a page from this panhandle prophetess.

“Sometimes I feel very old, like my whole life’s over, like I’m not around no more.” —Linda, Days of Heaven, 1978

Clockwise from top left: 1. & 2. Via Ask Actor; 3. Slant Magazine.

Terrence Malick’s 1978 movie Days of Heaven is sort of about murder and a love triangle among migrant workers on a Texas wheat farm in the 1910s, but only in the way that Lost in Translation is about a vacation, or Titanic is about a boat (well, I might like Titanic more if it were just about the boat, but I digress). It’s a simple story that’s made completely mesmerizing by some of the most gorgeous cinematography ever put on film, and by the strange, naive poetry of its narrator, an adolescent girl named Linda. Linda’s worked hard as a farmhand all her life and has never been to school, yet she has an eerily intuitive grasp of the adult problems around her, and despite her lack of education and sometimes-inarticulate speech, she has all the wisdom and world-weariness of someone four times her age (so your average teenage girl, basically).

Clockwise from top left: via Dressed Cinema; Rodarte fall 2011 via Dazed Digital; Band of Outsiders spring 2012 via Refinery29; Anna Sui spring 2011 via

Days of Heaven’s stunning magic-hour palette and long prairie silhouettes have been inspiring fashion designers for years. You can see the film’s influence in a lot of recemt collections: Anna Sui’s technicolor blues and sunset reds, Band of Outsiders’ long duster coats and faded plaids, and the messy hair and tawny caramel makeup at Rodarte (Rimmel makes a great coppery brown eyeshadow, $5 at Ulta).

Take inspiration from The Clothes Horse’s sweet, simple dress in primary colors; Broadist’s gorgeous mix of sky and earth tones (Topshop makes a similar dress but, alas, not in that amazing cyan!); Kennedy Holmes’s dramatic windswept hair and feminine layers (note to self: new favorite Etsy search); or the Parisian girl who looks incredible with just a modest blue dress, a messy bun, and a bike.

Or you can be inspired by Linda herself and wear faded calico dresses and milkmaid braids with an offhand, tomboy charm. Just remember that even a panhandle prophetess has to stop philosophizing about the end of the world and smile sometimes.


  • FashionHauties March 28th, 2012 3:04 PM

    Wait, this is awesome! I am literally getting ready to do a utilitrarian photo shoot with my friends in an hour! I love this- tomboy with a hint of girlie charm. Ah!

  • Sonja March 28th, 2012 3:23 PM

    AMAZING!! I love this! Days Of Heaven is a miracle of a movie. I love that two-toned/half’n'half cardigan. I’m inspired to make one from my vast sweater collection. PS Linda Manz is also amazing (steez et al) in the gut-wrenching OUT OF THE BLUE

  • missblack March 28th, 2012 4:01 PM

    I’m thinkin’ I need to see this movie now.


  • starcollector March 28th, 2012 4:30 PM

    Terrence Malick!!!!! That’s all I have to say? Why yes. Yes it is. Everything that is beautiful.

  • EmilyJn March 28th, 2012 5:52 PM

    The background today is really really great. good work.

  • Allyssa March 28th, 2012 5:54 PM

    One of my all time favorite films and characters in a film!!!!!!

  • Franny Glass March 28th, 2012 7:05 PM

    This, is sweet. Will definitely be watching this film. Plus, as a side note, the background today with Harold and his banjo is totally the best thing ever. Ever.

  • nellahnellah March 28th, 2012 9:31 PM

    big fan of Linda Manz- she’s also in a great film called Out Of The Blue (again, playing an incredibly world weary young girl) and playing a tomboy character (naturally) in the film The Wanderers, which is about 1950s new york teenage gangs (hawt)

  • Adrienne March 28th, 2012 10:01 PM

    Oooh I love this! I really like that yellow and black two toned cardigan.

  • isabellehungryghost March 29th, 2012 11:25 AM

    i really like the look!

  • Bren March 29th, 2012 3:28 PM

    Oh, man. I would totally like Titanic more if it was just about the boat.

  • bellaumbrella March 29th, 2012 6:50 PM


    • Naomi Morris March 30th, 2012 11:20 AM

      are you kidding? you are stunning

  • mayaautumn March 30th, 2012 2:32 AM

    ahhh, all of your secret style icon articles are amaaaaaazing!….especially this one!

  • EliseChenevere March 31st, 2012 6:35 AM

    I’m traveling to Marfa, TX in a couple weeks and I believe I’ll be packing lots of flowy cotton dresses with my boots now…