Introducing Ska Fashion
Ska is the music genre that informed reggae. Originating in Jamaica in the 1950s, it quickly developed a following in the UK. Combining calypso, rhythm and blue and US influenced jazz, its off-beat walking baselines became the genre of choice for British mods in the 1960s. Martens, straight-leg high-ankle jeans, braces, and simple, checked shirts.
There was also considerable crossover between mod fashion and the skinhead subcultures in the 60s, with British skinheads incorporating the fashion of both the Jamaican rude boy and mod subcultures. However, it was their combined love of Ska that really connected these groups. Skinhead fashion was more straightforward than the tailored styles that mods adopted. Closely-cropped or shaven heads were complimented with Dr. Martens.
The 1970s saw a Ska revival in the UK, led by The Specials. This restoration of the genre was called 2 Tone, and fused the 60s sounds with punk rock. Bands such as the Madness and The Selector brought a harder, punk rock attitude to Ska.
As with the music, mod, skinhead and gangster styles of the sixties heavily influenced 2 Tone fashion. Men wore polished black shoes or boots, straight-cut trousers or jeans with the same high ankle style that skinheads adopted, revealing white cotton socks. This was coupled with combinations of button down shirts with skinny ties and braces, polo shirts.
Over the top they wore the classic Harrington bomber jacket finished off with a trilby hat and a pair of wayfarer sunglasses.
Women’s Ska fashion included tight tonic pencil skirts, tweed skirts or prince of wales patterns. Pinafore dresses with dogtooth and checked patterns were paired with high white socks and high heels. Both dresses and skirts were worn above the knee, and combined with Dr. Martens, monkey boots or winkle pickers for their everyday look.
How to Nail Ska Fashion
We’ve made nailing the Ska & Two Tone look easy! Check our guide to mod clothing for men and women to perfect your vintage look.