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In the 1980s, several ethic and fashion movements became popular. However, while hippies were professing peace and love, a group of young British people was protesting against these principles and fighting hard to express their personality. These were the Skinheads, whose hairstyles soon became iconic.

On the other hand, directly from the Jamaican street culture, Rude boys fashion was developing in the same years, too.

If you want to revive both movements and make your style timeless, here you will find all the information that you need.


The Origins of Skinheads

Born in the late 1960s mod scene, Skinheads (often shortened to “skins”) were originally a working-class movement in London. Their name refers to their close-cropped or shaven heads, although there were several aspects of their aesthetic that were soon to become iconic. For example, all members of the working class were wearing Dr Martens and other work boots, button-down collar shirts, high rise jeans and braces.

The second wave of Skinheads aesthetic originated in the early 1980s. skins were motivated by alternative values, and they rejected the conservatism of the middle class and naivety of the hippie movement.

Today, their austerity and controversial fashion are what is left of Skinheads. Embracing their look is easy, and it can help you express your values and your personality.

The History of Rude Boys

The rude boys (or “rudies) subculture arose in 1960 from the poorer areas of Kingston, in Jamaica.

Those who were following this lifestyle were listening to ska and rocksteady music. Most importantly, they were all united under the same fashion style, made of sharp suits, pork pie hats, and thin ties. In other words, it was clear that their main influence was the fashion of American jazz artists.

At present, the Rude Boys style is still iconic and can be highlighted even more with the right twist of modernity. Many ska and ska-punk bands are still making great music, gathering fans with their art and their style from all around the world.

Ready to embrace your rude boy soul? Here you will find plenty of inspiration!

Do I Need to Shave My Hair?

Skinheads used to shave their hair very short, although they never went completely bald. Over the decades, their style has evolved, and now many Skins just shave the side partings of their hair.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to shave your hair if you don’t feel comfortable doing it. For example, many skinheads just removed their moustaches or beards. Female Skins were wearing a feather cut, which is a hairstyle short on the crown, with fringes at the front, back and sides.

Rude Boys and Skinheads Inspiration for Your Wardrobe

Collared Button-Down Shirts

Yes, you can still be controversial and express your ideas and your personality even if you are wearing a shirt. These pieces of clothing are linked to the ska and punk subcultures and can be worn with a pair of cosy jeans or some cargo pants.

Photo by Adaptor Clothing (Trojan Records Check Shirt With Pocket Square Navy and Orange)

Photo by Adaptor Clothing (Trojan Records Check Shirt With Pocket Square Navy and Orange)


Rude boys found their inspiration from the talented American jazz and soul music artists. Blazers were an important piece of their wardrobes, as resembled the iconic look worn by Prince Buster, and other musicians.

Photo by Boohoo Man (Skinny Fit Double Breasted Pinstripe Blazer)
Photo by Boohoo Man (Skinny Fit Double Breasted Pinstripe Blazer)


Many Rudies preferred the American cowboy-inspired look, which resembled the fashion features in old gangster movies. If you want to achieve the same result, you can rock a sharp suit. With the right accessories and shoes, you will be able to wear it every day as an informal piece of clothing.

Photo by Next (Two Button Suit Jacket)
Photo by Next (Two Button Suit Jacket)

Skinny Ties

Who says that ties cannot be a controversial accessory? They were worn by ska and ska-punk artists, as well as Rude boys, to express their gangster look. They are cool and can be worn as an informal piece of accessories.

Tight-fitting Trousers

Forget your loose pants. True Skinheads only wore jeans, combat trousers and tight-fitting pants. Style them with a cardigan sweater, plain t-shirt or any V-neck sweater, and you will immediately feel fabulous and stylish.

Photo by River Island (Navy Check Skinny Fit Suit Trousers)
Photo by River Island (Navy Check Skinny Fit Suit Trousers)

Also Read:

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Brogues, Loafers and Dress Shoes

If you want to become a Rude boy but you can’t renounce your elegance and style, then you can still be perfect by wearing a pair of brogues or loafers. They are comfortable and perfect with jeans or any other pair of pants. Don’t forget to wear them sockless!

Photo by Asos (Burton Menswear Suede Snaffle Loafers in Black)
Photo by Asos (Burton Menswear Suede Snaffle Loafers in Black

The Right Hat

The perfect hat can transform and improve any outfit, especially if you wish to achieve the perfect Rudies’ style. Trilby or pork-pie hats are the best ones, as they can be styled with any look and are also perfect for more formal occasions.

Dark Sunglasses

Gangsters always wear a pair of cool, dark sunglasses, and so do Rude boys. Find a good pair which matches your face shape, and you will immediately highlight your look. Old-school sunglasses are the best options, and you can find yours at any second-hand shop.

Photo by Trendhim (Paul Riley Matte Black Sunglasses)
Photo by Trendhim (Paul Riley Matte Black Sunglasses)

Work Boots

No Skinhead wardrobe is complete without a pair of Dr Martens or any other work boots. Recently, many brands have followed this trend, and nowadays you can find many cheaper and even vegan-friendly alternatives.

Photo by Asos (Dr Martens 1460 Mono 8-eye Boots in Black)
Photo by Asos (Dr Martens 1460 Mono 8-eye Boots in Black)

Football-Style Athletic Shoes

Boots may be a skinhead’s best friend, but soon even Skins fell in love with the comfort of a pair of Adidas or Gola. If you want an additional touch of style, you can choose your lace colours based on your favourite football team, or the other accessories you are wearing.

Photo by Gola (Gola Classics Men's Grandslam Leather Trainers)
Photo by Gola (Gola Classics Men’s Grandslam Leather Trainers)

Also Read:

Late 80s Men’s Fashion 1987-1989 Ideas

Mid 80s Men’s Fashion 1984-1986 Inspirations

Early Men’s Fashion 1980-1983: When Fashion Was Born

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

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