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Skinhead to Smooth - and more

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
In his excellent article The French Cut Alex Roest explores the originals whose interest in clothes and music did not wane (or not for good at any rate). He looks at what "˜wasn't a coherent scene and didn't have a name as such' so he calls it The French Cut.

http://www.filmnoirbuff.com/article/the-french-cut

He claims some of the ex-Skins/Suedes/Smooths were joined by some original Mods in choosing this style, or was it the other way around he asks? Obviously it wasn't only them wearing this style because it "˜just exploded in the Seventies' (quote J Simons, owner of the Squire Shop).

Alex feels that another way of looking at it would lead to the conclusion it was a more mature way of trying to stand out, through sartorial subtleties rather than via a uniform.

So what was this look? It's a known fact that the early Stylists or Individualists fused Ivy League with continental styles, Italian and French styles to be precise.

I had tried to capture the shift from "˜Skinhead to Smooth' in my own piece for Ask Andy a couple of years before.

http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/f...head-to-Smooth

I am also proud to have supported Alex in his work.

What I am interested in is how and why this massive shift came about. And was it a smooth transition? No pun intended! I struggled with it as the look of 1968 / 69 was one that I loved.

Can we use this thread to explore the shift in clothes, music and lifestyle that happened between mid-1970 and late 1971 (I know that timescale will vary across the country). In particular, was there a way in which the former Skinhead kept his or her identity in tact or did they go wholesale like Robert Elms into any new fad that came along?

Well, that's it.
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
I knew this would be hard to get going. Lots of views but no replies yet.

This is the kind of look I was toying with by mid 1971. The old skinhead style almost entirely eradicated.

White cotton shirt - Take 6
Slipover - Quincy
Gabardine slightly flared trous - Squire Shop
'Norwegian shoes' - effectively loafers with a webbed detail on the instep, from I think a shop called 'Anglo-Continental' in Brewer St. Anyone recall it?


post #3 of 17
Dude, there's an entire thread devoted to skinheads on this very page. You should have just posted over there.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Huh? View Post
Dude, there's an entire thread devoted to skinheads on this very page. You should have just posted over there.

I know, thanks. This is the next phase.
post #5 of 17
Interesting that you stuck to Central London shops for this style. I never felt a need to do that as it was readily available and reasonably priced locally.

There were no items like American shirts or Royals that you had to go up town for.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brideshead View Post
I knew this would be hard to get going. Lots of views but no replies yet.

This is the kind of look I was toying with by mid 1971. The old skinhead style almost entirely eradicated.

White cotton shirt - Take 6
Slipover - Quincy
Gabardine slightly flared trous - Squire Shop
'Norwegian shoes' - effectively loafers with a webbed detail on the instep, from I think a shop called 'Anglo-Continental' in Brewer St. Anyone recall it?



Ahhh! Great photo, you can see the love there !
I think I know the look you mean - like Peter Craven out of Please Sir!!!??
Really looking forwards to reading the replies, what a great look.
Good luck sir.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunty View Post
Ahhh! Great photo, you can see the love there !
I think I know the look you mean - like Peter Craven out of Please Sir!!!??
Really looking forwards to reading the replies, what a great look.
Good luck sir.

Thanks Bunty. I never watched Please Sir, I'm afraid!

You mentioned in your PM that your brother as a mod and then skinhead just regarded both as the fashion of the day - and which he often tried to lead.

I suppose to respond to Kingstonian and the point about central London shops I should say that's what I wanted to do. That Skinhead 'one-upmanship' in terms of dress stays with you. It's like Alex says in the French Cut

'...... that another way of looking at it [the French Cut] would lead to the conclusion it was a more mature way of trying to stand out, through sartorial subtleties rather than via a uniform. '

Going to central London for things helped that cause, I guess as they were that much better in terms of quality and cut (normally) and they were thus subtly different.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Try again.

What was a typical Saturday come 1971? In 1969 it would have been London for a bit of shopping, pose in the afternoon at the North Bank Highbury, and a few pints in the evening. Or alternatively London shopping, home to get ready and then off to Ilford Palais to spend the evening listening to Motown, Atlantic / Stax.

By 1971 I had a steady girlfriend and a Saturday might still be spent clothes shopping in London but by now King's Road and not the West End so much. Lunch here at the Chelsea Drugstore listening to T Rex and Bowie:



Suddenly there seemed few places that had much attraction in the evenings and, now skint, these were often spent sitting by the fire!

How did things change for you originals?
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
While researching a bit on the Drugstore I found this blog:

http://casualcoblog.blogspot.com/201...drugstore.html

Which has a few more pics etc of the now McDonalds......
post #10 of 17
I think this Thread should carry on,after 1970.There has not been too much written about the early 70s-but in truth I liked the Smooth Look.Patterned Shirts,Mohair Trousers(with the 1/2" Turn-ups)and the Royal Smooths and Gibsons.I did the same as all the other ex Skinheads and grew my hair Shoulder Length.I worked in the Butchery Trade and the Uniform was:-old Pattern Shirts,rolled up Trousers or Jeans and Dms.We even started wearng Braces again-under the White Coats.Iliked T-Rex and Rock,but about 6 months later went back to Soul,Funk and early Lovers Rock.Good Times.smile.gif
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brideshead View Post


How did things change for you originals?

By 1971 I was a full time student and outside London. I had a grant and earned well during Summer breaks etc. but there was rent and living expenses. Still well off compared to today's students - lumbered with debt and paying tuition fees.

More to the point, student standards of dress were probably the worst they have ever been - greatcoats, loon pants, tie dye t shirts. I did not stoop so low as to dress like that, but there was no real competition to remain smart.You would wear a nice button down to a lecture and the rest of them were dressed like ****s. When I came back to London I wore my old mohair suit to work, then upgraded to a 3 piece Rodney Bewes- style thing. I sourced that locally; same with the rest of my stuff. That was me sorted for clothes until I could no longer get decent leather shoes or a proper overcoat on the High Street. Then I had to put a bit more effort in.
post #12 of 17
In the 70s,my tastes changed so that I wore Jackets and Trousers.The last Suit I had(and it was off the Peg)was a 3 Piece Brown Striped Suit-as Kingstonian said"A Rodney Bewes".I most certainly went more Casual.This went on for a couple years.Mid `70s it changed again for me,I became what they class as a "Soul Boy",Clothes then became important again.
post #13 of 17

Hi, Have just seen this thread. I lived in Romford, Essex so know the Palais well and spent a good afternoon on the North Bank terraces but probably chasing you about as i was a Tottenham Skin. I remember first the first Skinheads in Romford around 69 and i remember them more wearing any sort of boots with jeans and shirt/t-shirt with braces and a suit jacket or sheepskin coat. It wasn,t untill a year or so later that DM's, Ben Shermans, Brutus, Levi's and the other iconic fashions really took hold. I would love to get hold of a pair of interwoven lace up Loafers. I still own 4 pairs of DM's, wear Levi's and 90% of my shirts are button down collars.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Clifton View Post

Hi, Have just seen this thread. I lived in Romford, Essex so know the Palais well and spent a good afternoon on the North Bank terraces but probably chasing you about as i was a Tottenham Skin. I remember first the first Skinheads in Romford around 69 and i remember them more wearing any sort of boots with jeans and shirt/t-shirt with braces and a suit jacket or sheepskin coat. It wasn,t untill a year or so later that DM's, Ben Shermans, Brutus, Levi's and the other iconic fashions really took hold. I would love to get hold of a pair of interwoven lace up Loafers. I still own 4 pairs of DM's, wear Levi's and 90% of my shirts are button down collars.

Hi Gary

As you can see this thread has never really taken off as I hoped but, ironically the traditional skinheads thread has started to cover this topic of moving on in the early 70s.

Actually I wasn't really an Arsenal supporter, more of a floating football fan really. My dad was a Tottenham supporter so I have always followed their ups and downs ever since the early 60s. I remember going to Ipswich once to see Tottenham play there. I paid to go into the ground, realised I was surrounded by 'tractor boys', left the ground and paid again to go in the other end with the Spurs lot. Either it was incredibly cheap to get to watch a top match then or I had a lot more money than I do now!

I would love to get some of those loafers too. They were some of the best shoes I ever had.

What was the name of that good menswear shop opposite the market square where I used to often shop for clothes from about 1967?
post #15 of 17

Hi, I remember the shop you mean but can't remember the name. I used to get most of my clothes there too. Sometimes Mister Byrites would get the odd bit of gear in, i bought a great Brutus trimfit shirt from there, orange check! Getting into football was cheap then, under 16's was 50p, adults 3 quid.When i was 15 i used to go to a home game with 2 quid for that i paid all my bus fares, entry to the game and buy myself burger and chips in the cafe and have money to put on Suzanne beware of the devil on the jukebox! Followed Tottenham religously for 10-12 years home and away, best days of my life for having a laugh. I remember the Palais well, can you remember the big black bouncer, i think his name was Banjo. We used to go to Kings, The Lacey Lady in Seven Kings a lot as well, there was always a punch up at Kings. I will find out that shops name, Gary 

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