Heels & Picks: The rules for rocking out

Jun. 10, 2015 | 0 Comments


BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Things are heating up at Heels & Picks headquarters. Literally, sure, with the coming of summer, but also figuratively with the release of my solo album, “American Boy,” as this week marks the album launch. My band, team and I are in full go mode.

COURTESY ERIN SMITH  The author, left, and bandmate Cassie Fillhart.


The author, left, and bandmate Cassie Fillhart.

As I write this on Sunday, I’m preparing to hit the gym prior to hair and makeup. After that it’s sound check and a live-to-air performance on local radio station Star 101.9. Thursday is our album launch party at The Republik, an early all-ages show running from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Do you have your tickets yet?

My bandmates and I have been in heavy rehearsals, paired with TV appearances, interviews, extra promo and the things we do in our normal lives. It’s busy but we are ready to rock.

On the eve of my album release, I look back and think about all I’ve learned when it comes to fashion and music. In particular, as I chose outfits for our Oceanic VIP Music Hall performance and our Republik concert, I thought back on all of the fashion do’s and don’ts for stage that I’ve learned — mostly the hard way — over the years.

Since I connect with a lot of other bands and young rock girls, this seems like as good of a time as any to share my tips for what works and what doesn’t when it comes to stage wear for women.


If your hair is bugging you before you get onstage, it will bug you one thousand percent more when you’re onstage.

I have roughly 25 pounds of hair; it’s super big and gets really hot underneath all of that mop sometimes. I also know it’s kind of my thing and so I like to leave it down when onstage when I can.

That can sometimes pose a problem because it is just so hot under there, and at about the halfway mark during a set my curls will start to frizz out no matter how miraculous my hair and makeup person was.

Sometimes a ponytail is okay. There are so many cute ways to do ponytails and that will keep your hair off of your face as well.


Thinking of going strapless? Just don’t do it. When rocking out, you’ll suddenly be rocking out with your nipple out and there’s nothing to do but pull awkwardly at your top for the whole set.

You may fool yourself into thinking that your best strapless bra can handle. It cannot. No strapless bra can. Leave the strapless dress/top in the closet for date night or a night out with your girlfriends.


There is rarely a time when you will catch me out in the world without lipstick. I love the stuff.

Deep red or dark pink are my usual go-to shades, so of course I prefer to wear them onstage as well.

COURTESY ERIN SMITH  The author, and her boyfriend at Sunday's Star 101.9 live broadcast.


The author and her boyfriend at Sunday’s Star 101.9 live broadcast.

This can be problematic though, in that lipstick can smear. Once you get lipstick on a microphone, it does a reverse kick flip back onto your face and then you look like Courtney Love circa Hole before she discovered Hollywood.

The best way to combat the lipstick smoosh factor is by applying lip stain for stage. It’s a little drying but it really does stay put, whereas most lipsticks would run.


I prefer to wear big heels on stage, but there’s a limit at which I begin to approach ankle-break alert.

The last time we played The Republik, I wore a high pair of black heels that were pretty steady. On Sunday, I wore my most gigantic pair of heels — my spiky-toed, platform Steve Maddens. The only reason I could wear them was because I wasn’t moving around too much; the Music Hall stage is situated in much closer quarters than The Republik’s.

Here’s another little something I’ve learned over time: the shoes you wear dictate how you carry yourself. If I’m in big heels, I tend to stand a little straighter and move in a more feminine way because the shoes demand it. If I’m in boots, I get a little more rock ‘n’ roll in they way I move around the stage and command the microphone.

There is a little voice in the back of my head telling me that for this Republik show, boots are the way to go. I wish I had Beyoncé’s stiletto skills, but I’m still in training.


Even us girls get a little shimmery on stage, and I’m not talking about the sparkle cream applied pre-show. It is hot up there (see paragraph above about 25 pounds of hair).

If I can take a hiatus mid-show, I will apply MAC’s Prep and Prime loose powder to my face with a brush to dull the shine. Blotting papers work well in a pinch, too.

See everyone Thursday night!
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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