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The Skinheads – Lifestyle, Fashion and Music

The birth of the skinheads was influenced by typical mod culture and they interpreted the general mod style whilst sporting more working-class attire. Another inspiration was the Jamaicans and this new group of youths dominantly listened to the specific Jamaican music such as soul, ska and early reggae.

Although the initial skinhead culture was simply their lifestyle, music and fashion it has developed into a racial and political debate where white power and neo-Nazism has come about. Despite this, although all of these people may share the same music, fashion and lifestyle tastes this does not mean that they all share the same racial and political views.

Due to their close-cropped or shaven heads and working-class attire they differentiated from the mods which meant they gained their own label of ‘skinhead’. These initially began due to the post-war generation who generally had more disposable money than in the past two decades thus giving them the opportunity to splurge on more stylish clothing. This craze began to fade by the early 1970s and other groups evolved from this but the whole skinhead subculture was revived and is still present to this day.

There was a general style of clothing that this entire group of people seemed to participate in. In the past it was easy to identify who belonged to this specific group; this also remains today. Both male and female skinheads dressed similarly and the women sported a similar shaven look sometimes shaving their entire head and leaving a fringe at the front.

There are basic fundamentals which a skinhead’s daily attire would include:

Torso – a tailored checked or tartan shirt was extremely popular or alternatively a polo t-shirt manufactured by popular brands such as Fred Perry and Ben Sherman. As jackets a denim style, bomber jacket or a Harrington was widely fashionable. Some of the denim jackets were personalised with bleach in order to create an ‘acid wash’ look.

Bottoms – typically, the most popular form of trousers were turn-up jeans which allowed them to show off polished, heavy boots or their socks when wearing loafers. Combat trousers were also becoming more apparent throughout the skinhead era and jeans were splattered with bleach to achieve a more camouflaged look. Their jeans were usually manufactured by popular denim brands such as Lee and Levi’s.

Footwear – the most prominent form of footwear were the Dr. Martens boots. These were available in a variety of colours and usually patent leather and extremely heavy in order to achieve a working-class and ‘hard’ look. They also occasionally wore brogues or loafers and paired them with socks which were shown off by their cut-off jeans.

Accessories – braces were a must when it came to accessorising and these could come in a variety of colours which best suited their choice of clothing on the day. Hats were also popular and many of these youths were seen with bowler hats and trilby hats.

Sometimes, for a special occasion, skinheads would also wear a suit to go dancing at clubs to their favourite genre of music. There are many people who have adapted the skinhead look today and it is still seen as a stylish way of dressing, therefore these items are available in a wide variety of shops.

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