Style

Secret Style Icon: Nina Rindt

She’s kind of too cool for words.

Image via jochen-rindt.at

Unless you’re a major sports car racing nerd, chances are you’ve never heard of Nina Rindt. A Finnish-born model, Nina ran with the Swinging London crowd and was good buds with Twiggy (thus proving the theory that awesome people always know one another). In 1967 she married Jochen Rindt, one of Formula One racing’s biggest stars, but when he died in a car wreck in 1970, Nina sort of dropped out of the spotlight. Which is too bad, because I think she’s one of the most underrated style icons of all time. She does that slouchy ’70s bohemian thing in a sharp menswear-y way, and that boyish-androgynous thing in the most feminine way. OK, I am officially talking in the fashion version of a “one hand clapping”-style Zen koan, but that’s what Nina does to me. She’s kind of too cool for words.

Nina’s a very private lady who never gave a lot of interviews, so most of what we know about her comes from these amazing photos, which show an enigmatic woman who looks powerful and chic. So to help illuminate the Eternal Mystery of Nina, I have conducted a highly scientific study of these photographic records, and I present my findings to you now. Here are my Top 10 Reasons to Adore the Fabulous Nina Rindt:

1. Quite simply, no one has ever worked a hat like her, before or since.
Here she’s timing her husband, Jochen, racing laps, in a little Greek fisherman’s cap. The hat may be all adorably androgynous, but look at that face—girlfriend means BUSINESS. I wouldn’t want to come around that track a second late, would you?

2. Nina can work the Superfly look, too.
I love her in this slick ’70s fedora. And check the timer in her hand—don’t be late on Nina’s watch, man.

3. She can pull off a bit floppy sunhat.
Usually I’m not a huge fan of this look, because it reminds me of the goofy bucket hats babies wear at the beach. But somehow Nina makes even ugly baby bucket hats look amazingly chic, because she is magic like that.

4. She is not defeated by uncooperative or greasy hair.
Instead, she throws on a headscarf and has her own little Audrey Hepburn moment. I like a lady who transforms dirty hair into fabulousness.

5. She understood the power of repetition.
None of us can afford to wear new clothes all the time. Instead of regarding that as a limitation, do what Nina did and think of that as your opportunity to create a signature look. She wore this acid-green fedora a million times throughout the 1960s. But instead of being like, “My god, woman, will you please buy a new hat?!” you’re like, “My god, woman, will you please tell me where you got that hat?!” I think the key is that it’s a really great piece, and that she wore it unapologetically and with so much style that it’d be hard to get sick of it. I think the lesson here is, find something you love to wear, and wear the damn thing out. You’ll be iconic in no time! This photo also brings me to another thing I love about Nina:

6. Girl had her bitchface down.
That photo above was taken on the podium at the Brands Hatch race track, as Jochen took the top prize at the British Grand Prix. Like, I’m all for being a supportive partner, but isn’t it sort of rad how Nina looks like she could TOTALLY NOT CARE LESS about this thing that is sort of a big deal? Here’s another stellar example of the bitchface:

Whether she was timing splits or receiving accolades from an adoring racing public, she was not afraid to spread some attitude around. As a person who spends approximately 90% of my time in public faking a smile when I’d rather be frowning vaguely, I really admire this trait in a woman.

Here she is looking all cool and appraising, sizing up the competition at a race with Jochen. I’d probably look exactly like this if I had to sit around watching cars all day.

7. When she did smile, it was like the sun coming out from behind the clouds.
This is the great thing about having excellent bitchface—gotta keep those smile expectations low. And of course Nina’s grin here is extra cute because it’s directed at her dude.

Like, seriously would you look at these two BEAMING WITH LOVE at each other. UGH STOP BEING SO ADORABLE YOU GUISE. Which brings me to the next thing I love about Nina:

8. She and Jochen seemed to have had some sort of Paul Newman–Joanne Woodward love-for the-ages thing going.
Right down to the Ivy League vibe they have going on in this photo—Nina’s sensible sweater combined with those giant shades perched atop her head, Jochen looking all earth-toned and ruggedly handsome. It’s not often you meet a lady who can do both Superfly and ’60s coed well. Which leads us to…


She can look totally ravishing in a simple A-line skirt and kneesock combo…

10. …but this woman can also work GRANDPA SLACKS.
Plaid and polyester are two of the last words anyone thinks of when they think about stylish pants, but somehow Nina makes it work. A glamour girl who can work retiree chic truly deserves a spot on our list of fashion heroines, doncha think? All hail Nina, the only fashion icon who makes me wanna throw on a floppy hat and a scowl. ♦

29 Comments

  • Sugar August 22nd, 2012 11:46 PM

    Leeann, you are my favourite part of Rookie…. and as such I must tell you that is not a Greek Fisherman’s cap. :P

  • Tara August 23rd, 2012 12:05 AM

    so stylin’. I’m super inspired by her suave chic clothes!

  • morganosaur August 23rd, 2012 12:06 AM

    Wow, anyone who can pull off grandpa slacks is amazing, in my book. Also, WHERE DID SHE GET THAT GREEN HAT because that is something I need in my life asap!

  • Adrienne August 23rd, 2012 12:07 AM

    Thank you for introducing this incredible woman to me!! Wow she can pull anything off… I love her leather belts and that watch from pic #7! And I’m definitely inspired to get some hats now.

    Just curious, is the line from the first paragraph “awesome people always know one another” a link to somewhere else? I can’t click on it! :o

    http://theaverageasiangirl.blogspot.com

  • Katherine August 23rd, 2012 12:55 AM

    Oh my goodness, that second photo with the navy cap…. can I steal that whole look?

  • kzspygv August 23rd, 2012 12:56 AM

    I dig these wildcard style icons. Always amazing, never the usual suspects… props, Leeann!

  • ivoire August 23rd, 2012 2:10 AM

    ahhhhhhh so so so stylin. and that a line skirt and knee sock thing omg.

  • hillary August 23rd, 2012 2:30 AM

    ok she is THE coolest ever.

  • streaked lights August 23rd, 2012 3:32 AM

    I love ALL of her hats; especially the fishermans one. I want!!!!

    Anoosha Draws

  • Susann August 23rd, 2012 3:43 AM

    Great style! In some of the photos, she reminds me a little of Keira Knightley though.

    Fashion in Pepperland

  • Mustachefan August 23rd, 2012 3:48 AM

    SHE’S UNBELIEVABLE!!! Leeann, I am forever indebted to you for showing me Nina.

  • boyfights August 23rd, 2012 6:27 AM

    Nina is SICK thank you so much for introducing this minx.

    Also, my worst pet hate: “She could totally care less” = she cares somewhat/her care level is above zero. America, you need to accept this already: “Could NOT care less” = negative care levels. Could. Not. Care. Less.

    • Anaheed August 23rd, 2012 10:34 AM

      Thank you for pointing that out! I hate that too and didn’t even catch it this time.

  • kellbell August 23rd, 2012 7:37 AM

    I’m madly in love with her sunglasses!

  • julalondon August 23rd, 2012 7:44 AM

    Wow she is so beautiful.

  • lala August 23rd, 2012 11:14 AM

    Love this! Def chic!

  • christinachristina August 23rd, 2012 11:44 AM

    DAYUM how did I not know about this woman. Also, her husband’s nose is so sexy.

  • kendallakwia August 23rd, 2012 12:14 PM

    i gotta get me some plaid/polyester pants…

  • Janiebird August 23rd, 2012 12:46 PM

    I want to dress like her. All the time. PLEASE Rookiettes, tell us where we could find such fabulous clothes! :)

  • Tini August 23rd, 2012 1:59 PM

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with this post, but I just realised that the box asking for submissions to support Pussy Riot is gone, is it too late to submit a photo?

    • Anaheed August 23rd, 2012 3:44 PM

      Yes, it is indeed too late. Sorry, Tini!

      • Tini August 23rd, 2012 6:53 PM

        Thank you for your answer! I think it would be great though if – if there’s stuff to submit – you could announce the deadline, especially when you only accept submissions for a short time.

  • Ayla August 23rd, 2012 3:37 PM

    She got her eyewear game on a loooockkk.
    Where the hell can I find a pair so I can make picture 7 my life?

  • paige.xo August 24th, 2012 12:24 AM

    Why have I never seen her before? She is literally stunning. I wish I could pull off wearing hats. They just don’t suit me. :/

  • farawayfaerie August 24th, 2012 12:54 PM

    one day I’ll be this sophisticated

  • futureactress97 August 28th, 2012 6:53 PM

    God Nina is so beautiful! She definitely had style and it’s sad that she dropped out of the spotlight! Nina kind of reminds me of myself in a way, I can rock a bitchface and I think I can rock a floppy hat. She has a great sense of style too, obvi.

  • marengo August 31st, 2012 7:16 PM

    Those sunglasses! Perfect.

  • Mary the freak October 21st, 2012 1:37 PM

    SO

    MUCH

    INSPIRATION.

    ADORABLE.

    http://birdiewearsatie.blogspot.com/

  • Charlotte CallaGirl May 24th, 2013 6:42 AM

    THANK

    YOU

    SO

    MUCH!

    I now am about 100% into this woman…❤

    xx,
    Sophie

    http://thecallagirl.wordpress.com