There seems some kind of irony in writing about punk as a common trend, after all, punk in its truest sense was an act of fashion and social rebellion, it was about flipping two fingers to the system and those who stood for the conventional. Yet here we stand some thirty years later with punk very much part of the fashion establishment.
Everywhere you look, punk and its many elements have infiltrated the mainstream fashion market; from its fashion forward forbearers such as Vivienne Westood and Alexander McQueen to the likes of Topman, All Saints and Urban Outfitters, punk has most certainly made the cultural shift from social outsider to the mainstream style.
The spiked Mohican in its array of colours may still be the reserve of the true punk but pretty much every other element has now found its way into the 21st century. It’s not just the clothes themselves but how we actually wear them; the high turn up on those skinny jeans, the rips in the knees, the rolled up sleeves on that denim jacket, the battered and worn oversized biker jacket. It is all these elements, which would have had people crossing the street to avoid you in the early 1980’s, that are now thrust in every retail window you walk past on your way to work.
Take a look in your wardrobe and without even knowing it there will be pieces that were once the preserve of the fashion outsider. You may not wear them in the manner befitting a punk but one way or another their first steps into the fashion world were forged by kids who simply did not fit into 80’s Britain and weren’t afraid to show it. Punk may have softened at the edges and Johnny Rotten may now be doing adverts for margarine but this is no reason not to add a little rebellion to your wardrobe. No one is expecting you to suddenly turn up to work in acid wash jeans, Dr Martens and braces but here are a few ways of incorporating punk in the modern world.
Essentially there are two ways to go with your choice of jacket – leather or denim. Both are very much in vogue at present so really the choice is yours. With winter on the horizon the leather jacket – or more specifically the biker jacket – is probably the wiser choice but then again, punk is about gut instinct not making wiser choices.
From loose knit, oversized sweaters that were adopted from the punk scene by Kurt Cobain and the 90’s grunge scene (check out anything Hedi Slimane has done for Saint Laurent) to plaid shirts, denim chambray shirts and black jersey sweaters, the fashion market is awash with punk inspired tops this season.
There seems something inherently wrong with walking into a shop and purchasing a pair of jeans with pre-made holes in the knees but there is no escaping this look this season. Personally, if you want a little more authenticity I suggest trying to source them from a vintage shop or at least just wearing in your jeans to they begin to fade nicely around the knees. However, if you do want that quick fix you won’t have any trouble sourcing them on the high street this year.
The suit in the 80’s was synonymous with the age of capitalism and yuppies but the punks still found a way to make it their own. Where the popular trend was for looser, Armani inspired cuts in lighter colours (watch The Wolf of Wall Street) the punks took to skinny fitting, check patterned trousers with a high-rolled hem to show off their boots. The check trouser is once again a popular choice for this season and ensures you can go to the office by day and punk it up by night.
From Dr Marten boots to brothel creepers, thick-soled brogues to double monks, there are numerous stylish ways to get the punk look this season. All of the aforementioned footwear sits well with either skinny jeans or a good pair of slim fitting checked suit trousers and make for a perfect addition to your wardrobe as we begin to see the colder climes descend.
Some Final Thoughts…
The punk may be the social outsider, the rebel with the glint in their eye but there is no escaping the fact that as a fashion trend it has become very much part of our daily lives. There may not be gangs of kids on street corners with buttoned up shirts and Mohicans but from the tattooed hipster to the man in the check suit, punk has gone mainstream. You will see elements of the punk in nearly every man’s daily attire and while the attitude and defiant nature of this trend has softened, the clothes themselves still retain the power to give us all a sense of subtle rebellion.