People Are Strange

How to dress like a David Lynch character.

David Lynch’s movies are weird, surreal, dark, creepy, nightmare-inducing, haunting, and beautiful. He’s the kind of director who creates scenes so wonderfully disturbing, they will bury themselves in your mind and stay there, sometimes for years (in my personal experience). Luckily, some of those unforgettable images are of cool lady characters with great LEWKS (like Perdita Durango, whom you will meet below). If you haven’t already, watch these films, take notes, and good luck trying to figure out some of the mysteries that have had me WTF-ing over the years.


In Blue Velvet (1986), a college dude named Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed human ear while taking a walk in his quiet hometown (guh-ross). Curious, he decides to investigate with the help of a detective’s daughter named Sandy (Laura Dern). He ends up discovering a twisted and seedy underworld that includes oddball characters like tortured lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and drug-huffing pervert Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). Jeffrey is quickly seduced by Dorothy, and why wouldn’t he be? Look at this lady’s style: long sparkly gowns for crooning some tunes, dewdrop-pearl earrings, bright-blue eye shadow, and, of course, a blue velvet robe. One like hers would be the perfect thrift store score, but this dress from Chicwish is the next best thing.


Clockwise from left to right: blue velvet dress, $60, Chicwish; pearl-drop earrings, $9,; Tokidoki Cromatico Eye Shadow in Skeletrina, $6, Sephora; French Connection metallic tights, $25, Asos; peep-toe heel, $20, Payless


Wild at Heart (1990) introduces us to fresh-out-of-jail Sailor (Nicolas Cage) and his boo, Lula (Laura Dern), who become lovers on the lam when Lula’s mean mama puts a hit out on Sailor. As we know, I LOVES me some lovers-on-the-run movies, and this one is no exception. Plus, it has my all-time favorite Lynch character, Perdita Durango (once again, Isabella Rossellini). Perdita is an old acquaintance of Sailor’s and a truly badass femme fatale. She reminds me of old-school Madonna: bleached-blonde hair with dark roots, thick brows, and all-black clothing. What a dream babe! A sexy dress like this one from ASOS and suspender tights (which are totally my jam lately, FYI) are perf for vibing Perdita. Don’t forget to mismatch your earrings like she does!


Clockwise from left: dress, $47, ASOS Curve; sword earrings, $12,; heels, $58, Asos; tights, $13, ASOS Curve; hoop earrings, $13, ASOS

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), the prequel to the beloved cult series, opens with two detectives receiving comedic clues about a murder from a brightly dressed woman named Lil. Lil makes strange faces while doing interpretive dance, which serves as a code for the men to decipher. While you might wanna take fashion cues from more-prominent characters like the infamous and doomed Laura Palmer, I personally love Lil’s style. I mean, LOOK AT ALL THAT RED! It is literally head to toe. The detectives figured out most of Lil’s messages, but the significance of the blue rose remains a mystery. The best part of her look is definitely that ’do, so if you’re feeling like having a “red period,” pick up some of this Manic Panic hair dye and get to bizznass.


Clockwise from left: Luck Be a Lady dress, $75, ModCloth; rose brooch, $43,; Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Cherry Crave, $5, Milani; Tessa Rose wedge, $64, B.A.I.T. Footwear; Manic Panic Hair Dye in Pillarbox Red, $13, Hot Topic


Lost Highway (1997) is an unusual tale—does that even need to be said?—about Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), a saxophonist accused of his wife’s murder. After being thrown in jail, he mysteriously transforms into mechanic Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty). When police discover Pete and not Fred in the cell, Pete is released and gets caught up with some shady characters, including a gangster named Mr. Eddy and his mistress, Alice (Patricia Arquette, who also plays the aforementioned dead wife). I love Alice’s simple white dress and her big, chunky, totally ’90s platforms. I’m obsessed with Topshop’s platforms, but these ones from Urban Outfitters are pretty cute and a total bargain.


Clockwise from left: white tank dress, $54, Romwe; Oasis clutch, $40, ASOS; vintage snake-chain bangle, $8,; ring, $13, ASOS; peep-toe platforms, $164, Topshop

Once you’ve got the wardrobe, you can look for a weird, unsolvable mystery of your own to go with it. Although, according to the laws of Lynch’s universe, it might find you first. ♦


  • Nomi March 27th, 2013 11:10 PM

    “if you’re feeling like having a ‘red period’”
    am i the only one who thought you meant something else :/

  • Helena K. March 28th, 2013 12:03 AM

    Agent Cooper! ;)

  • MaggietheCat March 28th, 2013 1:17 AM


  • Mary the freak March 28th, 2013 2:44 AM

    These articles always make me leave my sickandtirediwillnotleavemybed mood and now i wanna dress up. Love this!

  • laurenniee March 28th, 2013 8:32 AM

    Ugh that blue velvet dress is so lovely and I want it forever but why, why why why, you look at the sizing guide and “Large” IS A UK SIZE 10. Seriously what. What what what. Not cool.

  • Esmee March 28th, 2013 9:04 AM

    I soooo want Alice her hair

  • Ree March 28th, 2013 11:10 AM

    Is it just a strange co-incidence or does Tavi really live under my bed and report to Rookie and therefore knows that it’s my birthday today and next week I’m going to a fancy dress party as Dorothy from Blue Velvet?

  • anyone March 28th, 2013 12:04 PM

    I love to dress like I’m from a David Lynch Movie.
    I have mentioned it this month quite often but.. Once again: I LOVE DAVID LYNCH!

  • Lemons March 28th, 2013 1:00 PM

    David Lynch might just be the craziest, most fantastic director out there….
    I fell in love with twin peaks, that man knows perversion and mystery and twists like nobody else!

  • Julliettes Blog March 28th, 2013 7:03 PM

    That is both hilarious and cool, in my opinion.
    Wild at Heart is the best set of clothing and accessories, (though it may just be my weird sense of fashion, who knows?)

    Visit me at my blog (that is nowhere as good as Tavi’s [sorry, me!], but it’s something):

  • Kaetlebugg March 29th, 2013 7:19 PM

    I love this article!

    I recently watched Crash and it seemed somewhat Lynch-esque, especially in the beginning. Crash is a movie about race and it reminded me just how whitewashed so much of Lynch’s work is!! I love David Lynch but no-one ever talks about how his stuff should include more diversity, I think. Also those shoes aren’t from Urban Outfitters but UrbanOG.

  • insteadofanelephant April 10th, 2013 5:16 PM

    so good. i love getting my inspiration from david lynch, he’s so darn cool

    blog: instead of an elephant
    Creative Director: Thread Magazine