Friday, 14 January 2011

A Bit Of Fashion Advice....

The Crystal Palace Pub
circa 1978
 Since I spent most of my teenage years walking around in ankle length drape jackets, drainpipes, and brothel creepers, cynics might question my competence to pass judgement on the sartorial elegance of today's youth.

But youth fashions today seem to me to be somewhat bland, and lacking in imagination to say the least.

One little affectation which seems to be making a reappearence is the habit of wearing only one glove.

I think it was the great Gene Vincent himself who started that one, with Alvin Stardust and Micheal Jackson (both big Vincent fans) following suit in subsequent decades.

This morning on the Brussels Metro I noticed a young chap displaying this particular affectation, but not quite getting it right. Therefore I would like to offer the following advice in the unlikely event that any Belgian teenagers . and some of them do know the alphabet - are following this blog. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

The right way (a la Vincent et al). Black leathers, gleaming winklepickers, and a skin tight black leather glove.

The wrong (Belgian) way. Ill-fitting blue-grey jacket from Primark, grubby jeans, white trainers, and a single grey wooly mitten.

Mittens are simply not Rock n Roll, I'm sorry. I know it was a bit chilly today, but this is not an accurate interpretation of the trend.

And at least we combed our hair properly!


  1. For those of you who don't know, 'Brothel Creepers' were a suede boot which was worn by soldiers in North Africa during WW2. The suede boots had a hardwearing crepe sole. These boots were considered more suitable for the hot climate than the traditional boot worn by soldiers.

    After the war, soldiers headed for the nightclubs and brothels wearing these boots looking for sex.

    I suspect the name 'Brothel Creepers' is firstly a reference to men on the prowl looking for sex in clubs and brothels, after a long period without it, and secondly the word crepe, referring to the crepe soles on the boot, which was mischievously changed by the Brits to the word Creep to reflect how society in the 1940's viewed men looking for sex.


    Typical British humour!

    Teddy Boys started wearing Brothel Creepers in the 1950's.

  2. I remember Alvin Stardust being interviewed and asked about how he had come about the idea of wearing juar one black leather glove.

    He claimed that he had genuinely lost one of the gloves, and at the last minute before a live performance decided to wear just the one glove.

    It was a bit hit and became his trademark.

    Alvin made no reference to Gene Vincent wearing one glove. I got the impression from the interview that it was Alvin's own creative idea.

    I now know that Gene Vincent wore one leather black glove, but I didn't then.

  3. In the photo you look a bit like, a young Prince William ...!

    Pensive, serious, thoughtful, reflective, a bit of a dreamer ...

    At least you are recognisable! ... By the eyes and the shape of your eyebrows.

    Did you know our eyes never change with age.

  4. The Teddy Boy style of dress was inspired by the 'Dandies' of the Edwardian period.

    A 'Dandy' was a man who placed a particular importance on physical appearance. Sometimes there was a suggestion that the 'Dandy' was a homosexual, such was the male's excessive preoccupation with his appearance.

    The Teddy Boy syle of dress started in London in the 1950's. The Teddy Boys were originally known as the 'Cosh Boys', named after the 1953 film which portrayed the life of a delinquent teenager.

    The name change from Cosh Boy to Teddy Boy came about as a result of a 1953 Daily Express headline which shortened Edward (the inspiration of the Cosh Boy look was from the Edwardian period), to Teddy, hence the name TEDDY BOY.

    The name stuck.

    It is ironic that the Teddy Boy's style of dress which suggested male toughness was inspired by the Edwardian 'Dandy' look which was regarded by many of that period as perhaps being a little effeminate. The 'Dandy' in 19th novels is always portrayed as an affluent, shallow, superficial character and there is always the suggestion that really he is not 'manly' and should not be taken too seriously.

    Teddy Boys spent a great deal of time grooming their hair. Brylcream was used to give it a sleek shiny look. Boys and young men had a habit of constantly combing their hair again and again with a comb which they kept in a backpocket of their drainpipe trousers.

    With teenage obesity rising, if the Teddy Boy look were to be revived, I think the trousers would have to be renamed .... 'Tree Stumps'?