Archive for this is england

Skinhead Fashion: From Head to Toe

Posted in Fashion, Subculture with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by lvigilante

I recently gave my cousin the film, “This is England” for X-mas, and it reminded me that all along, there has been a certain look behind the subculture.  So from head to toe, here’s an ATTEMPT to break down the Skinhead look with pics from the film. Sources from “Spirit of ’69,” and my general knowledge.

From the top: Shaved/ Short hair, British Shirts (Ben Shermans and Fred Perry), and Braces

Starting from the head, usually a fully shaved head tops the Skinhead.  However some Skinheads tend to keep a little hair by shaving with a number two clip— having hair with the length of an eighth of an inch long.  It is said that anything over an eighth of an inch is not Skinhead.  The true meaning behind the shaved head has no connection to racism at all.  Having a shaved head simply made it easier for the 60s Skinheads when working at factories.  A Skin shaving his or her head or having short hair meant not having to worry about catching lice or getting his or her hair caught in machines when working in the factory.

Onto to the body. Two main articles of clothing that make up the Skinhead fashion are the t-shirts and the braces (thin suspenders).  Most Skinheads wear shirts designed by Ben Sherman and Fred Perry.  Ben Sherman shirts, often called “Bennies,” were a popular choice as reggae and ska fans (also known as Rudeboys) tend to sport this kind of shirt.  Since Skinheads were enthusiasts of the Jamaican culture, they showed that they listened to reggae and ska music by wearing Ben Sherman shirts.  In addition, Skinheads also wear Fred Perry shirts since many believe that he was Britain’s greatest tennis player.  Skinheads wearing Fred Perry shirts became a trend mainly because some Skinheads were former mods (another music scene that originated in Britain), and to the mods, Fred Perry shirts were a must.  As many types of shirts became popular to the Skinheads over time, one main accessory that has stayed consistent is the thin braces (suspenders).


To the Bottom: Jeans and Doc Martens.

Moving down to the lower body, the popular kind of pants to wear are jeans.  Since the original Skinheads were a working class of people, it would only be fitting to wear something durable and “blue-collar.”  Therefore the preference of jeans became the trend for Skinheads.  Skinheads take pride in their appearance, so some of them even go through the trouble to iron creases in their jeans.  When worn, the jeans were to be rolled up to show off the boots and the laces. Going lower, the favored footwear for Skinheads are Doc Marten boots.  The boots emphasize the working class, and so for Skinheads to stay true to their roots, they wear this article of clothing in and out of work.  Doc Marten boots are the preferred boots since they provides the most comfort with its “air wair” soles. However, since mods/ rudeboys and skinhead looks are related, don’t be surprised to see loafers.

Skinhead Fashion Today: From durability and blue-collar, to glamorous and the runway.