British Style Genius: skinhead style

My fascination with the skinhead style of This is England continues, and was fuelled yesterday by watching the last episode of BBC 2’s brilliant British Style Genius. Focusing on street style, the episode included the skinhead style of the late 60s and had some really interesting interviews with a guy, Alan Mortlock, who used to be one of the first skinheads. BBC 2 summarizes skinhead style:

“With the decline of the Mods in the late 60s, the look evolved into the Hard Mod, which soon transformed into the first Skinheads. Hard Mods often lived in the same economically depressed areas of South London as West Indian immigrants and began to emulate the “rude boy” look of pork pie hats and short Levi jeans.

The movement was non-political and gave off the impression of an aspiring white working class, but the fissures of the inter-cultural mixing soon began to show. In late 1970s the Skinhead look became associated with inner-city racism.

The escapism from the Skinheads’ gritty industrial reality then took a darker turn to the football terraces where their aggressive football hooliganism against rival teams became their new entertainment.

With its roots in the Hard Mod look, early Skinhead fashions were visibly similar but soon grew into a distinctive style:

  • The famous ‘skinhead’ itself is typically a grade two or three closely-shaved head for men and a Mod-style short feather cut for girls.
  • The Ben Sherman trend prevailed from mod fashion with button-down, gingham shirts. The size of the check denoted your place in the gang – the larger the check the more authority you had in the group.
  • Sta-Prest slacks and jeans were the choice of trousers and many skinheads would sit in a bath of water with their shrink-to-fit Levi 501 jeans to get the extreme skinny-legged look.
  • Jeans were inevitably tucked into a pair of Dr Martens boots
  • The look was completed with a pair of braces and a trilby or pork pie hat.”

Not that I would go for the whole look, I think you should only really dress like this if you can fully identify yourself with the skinhead culture (and I can’t) but I love individual style elements such as the button-down shirts, Fred Perry jackets and braces.



7 responses to “British Style Genius: skinhead style

  1. It is for sure an authetic look!

    a kiss!!!

  2. cheers my mate..

    thats really a skingirl

  3. The girls have got the 60s skinhead look down but in the 60s early 70s skinheads never tucked jeans or trousers into boots the nazi “skins”of the 80s did but they knew nothing about style or music, take a classic ska song from 60s say toots and the maytels version of “louie louie”80s “skins its crap its a ni$%er song” and the dancein, mods and skins dance, nazi skins pogo and give nazi sieg hails,but nice to see mods and REAL skinheads back.keep the faith.Tony the mod,30yr and still here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. There is a few inconsistencies with the BBC 2 article. I’ve yet to have met or talked to a skinhead who has ever heard that the size of your check determined your place in your gang. Also, as Tony The Mod has said, jeans were never tucked into boots. They always have been worn outside the boot.

    Like the article for the most part though, always interested in seeing people not involved in the subculture who appreciate the style.

  5. I echo the remarks made above. There is so much nonsense spoken about this style, it seems someone can just open their yap and say anything they like, with no-one to say any the wiser.

    One more thing. FrauleinM says, “I think you should only really dress like this if you can fully identify yourself with the skinhead culture (and I can’t)”.

    Why can’t you? The more intelligent, style-conscious people who do brave the withering looks and disapproval of the ignorant, the better.

  6. when style creates fashion, hysterical, i love it!


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