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    Punk Icon Viv Albertine Shares Her Greatest Style Moments

    The Slits guitarist's new memoir, Clothes Clothes Clothes. Music Music Music. Boys Boys Boys., catalogs a life lived in style.

    From 1978 to 1981, Viv Albertine was a part of the groundbreaking all-female punk band The Slits.

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    Which helped paved the way for later amazing all-girl bands, feminist-tinged pop, and Riot Grrl movements.

    The Slits, along with bands like the X-Ray Spex, The Raincoats, and Blondie, added a vital female voice to the often male-dominated punk world.

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    Here's Viv (back row, center) with (clockwise from top left) Debbie Harry of Blondie, Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Pauline Black of The Selecter, Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders.

    Fronted by 14-year-old dreadlocked spitfire Ari Up, The Slits released two albums in their short career: Cut and The Return of the Giant Slits.

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    You might be familiar with their incredible cover of Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through the Grapevine."

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    Or their track "Typical Girls" — a wry commentary on the trappings of modern femininity.

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    Viv's just released a new memoir — Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. —recounting her years with the Slits, her friendship with Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, her love affair with The Clash's Mick Jones, and so much more.

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    "I think in hindsight people see [Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious] as cartoons," Viv told a Channel Four interviewer, "but at the time we were nobody to each other, and nobody had any particular charisma, and no one went, 'Ah, Sid's walked in the room,' and I write with that mind-set. They're rounded people in my book."

    It's a beautiful and touching document of her time in The Slits, her relationship to music and men, and her struggles to find herself after the dissolution of her marriage and divorce.

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    It's a definite must-read — and it's been shortlisted for a National Book Award.

    And, as the title suggests, the book's also about how Viv's personal aesthetic helped her define herself within the punk scene.

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    Here, she's exclusively given BuzzFeed Life access to some of her private collection of photos, and told us about the clothes that helped define her.

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    1. With Mick Jones (of The Clash), 1977:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "We met at art school and started dating. I watched him form The Clash. It was a painful process and kept going wrong, but Mick wouldn’t give up. Here we are doing a modeling session for the fashion chain Laura Ashley. I was annoyed because Mick got to wear his own clothes but I had to wear these long ‘girly’ dresses. But the money was good and I was broke. I really like the photo now — I even like the dress. My hair is cut and coloured by 'Keith at Smile' in Knightsbridge. He did lots of glam-rock people like Roxy Music and he was a pioneer with color. Mine is blonde on top and tapers to dark brown, the opposite to your roots growing out."

    2. Playing a show in Berlin in 1978:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "I’m wearing red ballet panty hose, a blue ballet rehearsal dress (made of viscose, which falls well), a school merit badge pinned to the dress (not mine, I never got one of those), socks, and trainers. A fan has thrown her high-heeled shoes onto the stage. Maybe she realized you can still be cute in flat shoes. I’m playing a Les Paul Junior — red scarf tied to the neck — which I’ve had sprayed sparkly black."

    3. Taken in early 1977:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "I hadn’t let my hair get all matted yet. I’m wearing Johnny Thunders’ (The Heartbreakers/New York Dolls) skull T-shirt. We were very fond of each other and he was always very gentlemanly and kind to me. He said this was his favorite T-shirt. I adored it and wore it all the time. It is hanging together by a thread now, but I still have it.

    My studded belt is from a hardcore s & m sex shop. There weren’t many places you could buy black leather in London in the 1970s — we had a choice between Vivienne and Malcolm’s shop, [called] Sex, and porn shops. The gray miniskirt is my gym skirt from school. I liked mixing up different pieces that signified ‘girl,’ but they were not usually worn together. It was very confusing for men. My attitude definitely wasn’t compliant, or trying to attract them. The thigh-high boots I had made at the same bookmakers that Vivienne Westwood used, but I never really liked them — they were too wide at the top and looked like fishing boots."

    4. Playing a show in 1978:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "Again mixing up clothes that signify ‘girl’ — pink 1950s tutu, white T-shirt with the arms pinned up by badges. Rickenbacker guitar, sheer pink panty hose, socks, and trainers. No one wore trainers like this back then. Lots of different-colored ribbons in my hair. Lots of very unfeminine attitude."

    5. Tessa, Ari, and Viv in 1979:

    Courtesy of Viv Albertine

    "Tessa is wearing opaque black leggings — most British girls wear these because of the weather. Tessa’s pink pumps and Ari’s red pumps are very cheap Chinese shoes from Chinatown in New York. Their shoes are very worn — we wore everything until it fell off us. We were poor and there wasn’t the culture then of looking groomed and expensive; that look was abhorrent to us. Ari has scars and cuts on her legs, she was 15 years old, still climbing walls and running around all over the place. My legs look rather mottled — it was probably cold, they always went like that when I was freezing. I’m wearing All Star trainers."

    6. In Europe in the late '70s:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "Bruce Smith (The Pop Group, PIL) is now our drummer; he’s wearing a Jamaican hat and Palmolive is now drumming with The Raincoats. We are on tour in Europe, late 1970s. This is Munich, and I’m wearing a 1950s or '60s sundress, pale pink with white spots. My hair is getting more matted now. Tess is all in black except a cocktail dress with the hem hacked off, and Ari has put on everything she owns that is spotty."

    7. Christmas 1980, Death Valley, California:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "I had just ‘discovered’ the photographer Diane Arbus and suggested to the girls we try and make our faces look like Arbus’ subjects. I am wearing a white child’s party dress, which I had copied and made in my size, and various shades of lilac socks tied in my hair. I wore my hair like this for a couple of months and people who sat behind me on buses used to laugh and try to pull them out. The socks weren’t new — they were quite well-worn and had dirty toes."

    8. The early '80s:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "As the '70s turned into the '80s, I got more into reggae and was influenced by the Rastas that lived in my neighborhood. I didn’t want to dress like the Rasta women, they wore long brown skirts and ugly, clumpy ‘Earth’ shoes. This is a dark green velvet and corduroy ‘roots' hat I had made, copied from the boys’ fashions. They would pile their locks up inside, but my hat is collapsing because I didn’t have enough hair to fill it."

    "I’m also wearing a pale green 1950s mohair sweater, orange-and-white check trousers, and white Courrèges boots from the '60s. Once I picked up a Fender Telecaster, I never played a Gibson guitar again."

    9. Signing with CBS, 1981:

    Courtesy of Viv Albertine

    "Our first album, Cut, was on Island Records; our second album was on CBS. This is from the set of signing photos we did on the day we signed the contract. Left to right, Christine Robertson our manager; Tessa Pollitt, bass player; Howard Thompson, A&R; Viv; Ari; head bloke at CBS."

    "I found this bowl-shaped straw summer hat at a thrift store in L.A. The blue-and-white cotton sailor dress was by a young English designer — it puffed out and nipped in again around the thighs. It was very difficult to walk in. When I wore it in L.A., a girl stopped me and asked if she could buy it off me. We’d already recorded our album by ourselves when we signed to CBS — that was unusual in those days. No one was very interested in The Slits or ‘punk’ in Britain anymore; it’s too small an island to keep too many genres and bands going at the same time. I was at the same junior school as Howard, and I think that’s why he signed us. The album is great, though, even better than Cut, but no one much knows about it. It’s called The Return of the Giant Slits.

    10. At Neneh Cherry's wedding, 1983:

    Courtesy Viv Albertine

    "This is me and Ari fighting over Neneh Cherry’s bouquet at her wedding to our drummer, Bruce Smith. Ari went for the Chinese look with her dreadlocks tied up in a turban. I’m wearing quite an unsuccessful combination, I think. Vintage English straw hat with a couple of polka-dot ribbons tied around the crown, sailor dress from a sale at a theatrical costumiers in Covent Garden, West London, and Victorian knickerbockers from the same sale. Trainers. What was I thinking?"