Before you go any further, I want to clear something up... Whilst I have listed many well known brands here this is not a list of clothes that you must wear or we wont let you in the club, it is just a guide to some of the well known brands that seem to have become skinhead clothing over the years. I truely believe that it is how you feel inside that makes you a skin and it is the wish to be identified as a skin that makes us want to race out and buy "the right" brands.

As I was growing up and even now, I could not afford most of these items but found suitable substitutes at much lower prices. Fred Perry's can easily be replaced with $7 Polo shirts from Lowes, Best and Lest or Big W. Target and K-Mart sell button-down collared shirts that look just as good as Ben Shermans for around $20. Places like the Swell Store sell quarter-inch braces for $45 dollars when you can easily make your own simply by buying dodgy braces from woolies and quarter-inch elastic from any good material shop for around a tenner. I think Docs are probably the most expenses item on the list but with the sheer amount of people wearing them these days there are plenty of second hand outlets out there. You can even by $5 skully caps from Lowes.


Ben Sherman (Shirts)

The Ben Sherman company started out in a small shed in Brigton UK in the late 50's and hit the scene in the early sixties with their stylist button down collar shirts, tapered fit, bakc pleats, loop and additional collar button, which proved to be an instant success with the Mods, He opened his first shop in Brighton in '63 and quickly build a large empire of outlets. Mr Ben Sherman was know as a party animal and was often seen out in Carnaby Street, London during the swinging sixties, he died 1987 a very happy and wealthy man.

His products were quickly adopted as part of the Skinhead uniform in the late sixties and they have been a staple of Skinhead fashion ever since. There has recently been a resurgence into popularity as factories have sprung up throughout the world including Sydney, which has meant that prices are now very affordable and the range of patterns and prints has improved beyond Ben's wildest dreams.

Bomber Jacket
Also known as Flight or Flying jackets
These jackets have always been popular with Skins. The bomber is durable, waterproof, stylist and generally speaking cheaper than a harrington or leather and much easy to find thought the world. Their are two main styles:
The original (as pictured) with it's harrington style front pockets, front zip flap to keep out the cold and leather zip tabs and bright orange lining...
The Spicer, a cheaper copy with slash front pockets, no zip flap but some do have a hiden hood.
There are some people who reckon that the Spicer is the superior jacket but I am not one of them, I know a few people who have had multiple Spicer's whilst I still have my original from over 15 years ago...

Bonds (Polos and Singlets)


Probably the most unique article of clothing adopted by the Skinhead movement.

Braces have been popular since the late sixties but have gradually got thiner and thinner. In the early years they were generally around 1" thick and were the button-on y-back variety . These days the clip-on, cross-over variety are the most popular and if your braces are wider than 1/4" there are concidered too wide (by some). There has been much talk as to whether diferent colours mean different things - it was often said that Red = Facist (But in some cites Red = Communist), White=White Power (Some cities White=SHARP), Black or Blue are probably the safest colors and Daglo and Rainbow are definately NOT cool. In my opinion judging somebody by the colour of their braces is no better than judging them by the colour of the skin or their hair!

Braces can be worn either up or down - Alf Garnett always wore his down and was credited with starting this trend. There is also a myth that wearing them down this means you are ready for action!

Crombie (Overcoat)

Whilst it is almost too hot to wear a Crombie in Australia, I felt that any 'Skinhead Clothing Guide' would not be complete without mentioning it.

A Crombie is a wool blend 3/4 length overcoat, with 3 concealed button, one slit in the back, a hanky pocket and two side pockets with flaps, most popular in black, but also available in navy or camel (Light Brown). Wearing a hanky in the top pocket was very popular, mostly red but favourite football team colours were popular too.

The Crombie became largely associated with the suedehead movement, who wore bowler hats, smart clothes, highly polished brouges, black crombies and carried either walking sticks or umbrellars to emulate the classic english city gent. This enabled many of them to get up to all sorts of mischief without drawing undue attention to themselves. This was not a common cult movement in Sydney but there were a few of us around in the mid to late 80's when both the general public and the police were continually out to give us a hard time.

Doctor Martens (Boots and Shoes)

Dr. Martens were invented in the 1945 by a couple of Germans- Dr.Marteans and Funck (engineer). Apparently Martean had a skiing accident injuring his foot. To make things easier whilst it healed, he and an engineering mate Dr.Funck set about developing a shoe with an air cushioned sole- one that would be comfy yet durable. Funck suggested selling these shoes to others, as they had sold well to German mates.

In 1958, Bill Grigg's spots an ad in Shoe Record by Marteans and Funck. They were looking for a overseas companies to produce their unique sole. The Grigg family then acquired global rights to use the air cushioned sole.(Bet they are counting their dollars and thanking the beer god for that decision!). So their factory in Wollaston-Northamptonshire(England) started making the boots and shoes as we know today. The first boot was produced on the 1st April 1960, hence it's name, the1460. "Airwair- with Bouncing Soles" comes from a doddle Bill Grigg had made.

The emergence of the skinhead movement saw the first adoption by a British subculture of Dr. Martens boot. In 1968/69 skinheads wore concealed steel toe caps. Steel caps were often polished or painted white, though they were classed as offensive weapons so Dr. Martens soon banished these other styles. The 8 eyelet Air Wear brown was by far the most popular with the laces drawn through the heel tag and the trousers high enough to reveal it. Black Dr. Martens virtually were never worn until well into 1969/70. It became a fad in early 1970 and brown boots were often dyed black. As the year went on Dr Martens developed many other styles but the 8 hole and 11 hole seemed to be the most popular with Skins preferring the ox-blood and cherry red versions.

Fred Perry (Polos, Jumpers, Cardigans etc)

Fred Perry was Britain's first tennis player to win the Winbledon men's singles, in 1933 he repeated ths achievement in 1934 and 1935, during this period he also three U.S., one French and one Australia Championships. He was well known as one of the world best dressed players and it was not long before he decided to bring out his own brand of sports clothing. although his intial range was white, it was not long before a range of colours were introduce and eventually pipping on the sleeves and collars, the unique weave and tuff fabric make it popular on both the teniss court and as street wear, these were shirts that could be worn during the day and still concidered acceptable night wear. In the mid sixties they were a popular choice with the British Mod movement as they were distictly "British". With the Skinhead cult hot on it's heels, the look was easily adopted and has remain popular ever since.

Nowadays, the Fred Perry (street wear) range has been extended to include jumpers, cardigans, Harrington style jackets, windcheaters, hoodies, socks and even underwear. Unfortunately with fame come a price increase, some shops can now charge up to AU$130 for a standard polo. As a result many young skins wear no-name polos to emulate their predecessors.

Grinders (Boots)

Harrington (Jacket)

What is a Harrington? - it a lightweight jacket, named after Rodney Harrington, a character on TV's Peyton Place, who was always wearing them. Zip up front and button up collar in a range of colors including black, blue, red, gray and bone and always have a tartan lining. Since the 60's London has been the starting point for many of the most important trends which have always been characterised by songs, symbols and also clothes. Some of those have resisted through the years but only few of them have become a cult: one of these is certainly the Harrington Jacket. Basic but reliable, simple but fashionable the Harrington has nothing to do with new fibres or innovative textiles. People love the Harrington Jackets because of it's unique character: wearing a Harrington Jacket has something to do with a choice, skinheads adopted these jackets as part of everyday wear in the late sixties and they have proved a very popular item ever since. Many other companies now make them including Ben Sherman, Lonsdale and Merc.

Levi (Jeans, Jackets and Sta-Press)

Invented in 1873, Levi'sŪ jeans are the original, authentic jeans. Levi were the most popular, although Wrangler were also popular too. The Levi's that were worn were always 'Red Tags', 501's or 505's usually with a small stitched in turn-up. The turn-up could be anything from a quarter of an inch to an inch. Some skinheads wore their jeans with an inverted turnup, but this is not very popular these days. The length of jeans can vary, but is usually short enough to show a bit of boot and/or sock. If wearing shoes then usually white socks are worn, but I know many skinheads who prefer to wear red, or Argyle patterned.

As well as traditional denim jeans, also popular were Cords or White Jeans. Cords usually had a White tab, instead of red and a zipper fly, and the Jeans a Red Tab. Another popular feature of denim jeans was 'Bleaching' where the jeans were treated to the effects of a bottle of bleach which resulted in a patchy light and dark effect on the denim.

Levi also made Sta-Press, these are smart dress trousers which have a crease right down the front and which never need ironing. Once again the best examples of these were made by Levi's, and they were made (as far as I know) right up until the start of the 1980's. The early ones had a much straighter leg than the late ones and side pockets which were almost vertical and closed with a button. These came in a wide variety of colours, although the easiest to find these days always seems to be light blue or beige. Levi's also made them in 'Tonic', which are extremely smart indeed.

Lonsdale (Shirts etc)

Like a lot of Skinhead clothing the Lonsdale company started life suppling Boxing equipment thru a little shop in Beak street, North London. In the early years, the brand was popular mainly for it's T-shirts and Sweatshirts but more reasently the company has branched out into all sorts of street and casual wear including, hoodies, spray jackets and even their own range of Harrington style jackets. They still continue to make sports equipment but no longer is the label only associated with the noble arts.

Tredair (Boots and Shoes)

Wrangler (Jeans and Jackets)

Ben Sherman
Brit Gear
Dr. Martens
Fred Perry
Jump The Gun
The Last Resort
Lonsdale of London
Machete On-Line Shop - L.A. California
Merc Shop - London
Sherry's of London