My style has been cultivated through decades of being a reluctant fashion victim and is restricted by my age and stature. “What ever assets you may have make the best of what you’ve got” (Time)
It’s a strange thing to be examining my own style but I’ll do my best.
Clothes were always just something that kept you warm and were purely a practical thing for me. My Dad was always smartly dressed but never appeared to think about clothes, I guess being in the Army and living within the conservative confines of England in the 1950’s and early 60’s dictated what he wore.
When London went psychedelic in 1967, I was three years old so by the time I was five, it was all velvet loons and long hair. TV was relatively young invention, and thankfully with it came the male style icons. The quintessential cool English Gentleman was John Steed, a character played by Patrick Macnee in TV show called The Avengers; while at the other end of the masculine style spectrum was Manchester United football legend George Best, who came from war torn Belfast. He was a perfect idol with long hair, looks to die for, perfection in fitness, balance and grace; while simultaneously maintaining a wild, womanising, hard drinking persona. One of my favourite cartoons as a child was called ‘Mr Ben’ which featured a bowler hat wearing businessman, who would visit a costume shop, take a costume into the changing room, put it on and go on an adventure appropriate to the costume.
Before I was ten years old Bolan, Bowie, The Sweet and Slade were on Top Of the Pops every week, and taking dressing up to a completely new level! Slade had made an early attempt at success dressing as Skinheads, although it never worked for them it was enough to be the favoured band of an army of skinheads. With three elder (fashion conscious) sisters it wasn’t long before I had three stylists on hand making sure that if their little brother was to be seen with them, he’d better look good! At the age of seven I made my first communion, while some of my peers were still wearing short trousers, I was wearing a double-breasted red/green two-tone tonic suit.
I was more into Football than clothes and fashion, but my best friend Sean was two years older than me, discovering girls and so always had to have the best clothes. Of course I couldn’t be seen with him, unless in proper attire. We were into the soul boy look of peg trousers, box jackets, small collared shirts and pointed shoes.
The mainstream was the American cool look inspired by a 1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll revival, dominated by ‘The Fonz’ from Happy Days TV show. Showaddywaddy were leading a more English revival, and wore the Teds style drape coat, drain pipe trousers and brothel creepers – a look adopted and adapted later by punk rockers.
But things had got stale and so perfect for anti fashion of the Punk movement; which we obviously gravitated too, with our parents regularly announcing ‘YOU’RE NOT GOING OUT WEARING THAT’ – so we had to accessorise once we’d left the house!
Only a short bus ride away was King’s Road- the epicentre of the English Punk scene and so Sean and I made regular visits. We couldn’t afford to buy anything in ‘Seditionaries’ or ‘Boy’- the two main shops, but the designs were easily copied.
I was about fifteen years old when I found ninety quid in the street, so before I went home and my Mum would have advised me of the sensible thing to do. I hopped on a bus to Soho Market and bought my first ever motorbike style leather jacket, which was a copy of the Sex Pistols Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle.
The leather bike jacket was to be what I’d be wearing for 20 or so years, though not the same one. Levis and Dr Marten boots were and still are an essential, even when I briefly hung up the bike jacket in the early 80’s in favour of more Mod or Skinhead jackets- the Levi Jeans and DM’s were constant.
My style was always been dominated by the music I listening too, so I learnt about music, popular culture and street style simultaneously. I went through so many style changes during the 1980’s but luckily, I moved on a little quicker so was usually able to sell my old clothes to friends, before they fell out of fashion!
I have no idea in what sequence some of these changes happened but it went something like this….
Hippy…..And like that I stayed for a good length of time!
In late 2012 I started to take my music more seriously, and so made the decision that I needed to take my style more seriously too! Understanding that the two have always been so intrinsically linked in my mind. Folk singers in general dress very badly and I promise now- I will never perform wearing short trousers, socks and sandals or a beard!
I’ve always liked to wear bright colours from my punk days, as well as the classic sharp mod/skinhead look and being a short, fat, bald bloke in my 50’s I thought this wouldn’t look too silly, and like I was trying to dress like a much younger man. In the early 90’s when I was still in my arty scruffy phase; my best mate was hanging out with Brit-pop stars in London’s trendy Camden Town and went through a phase of wearing bright coloured Bowler hats and looked great in them. We’d both always loved that Clockwork Orange Droog look, so I adopted that and I’m so glad I did because it does stick in people memory.
So in conclusion my style is a combination of Droog, Punk, Mod, Ted and Skinhead.
- Punk 75%
- Mod 20%
- Skinhead 30%
- Geezer 80%
- Tart 20%
- Styleometer 100%