How To Get an Authentic Casuals Look
A subculture birthed in the mid-1970s, casual fashion has always managed to stay relevant since it first took over the football terraces. Beginning in Liverpool, as the team’s success in Europe led to its fans discovering the brands and collections that were only available beyond the border. Manchester was quick to follow before London and, eventually, the rest of the UK’s football fans followed suit, keeping to the dress code as well as the lifestyle which had a strong group mentality and violent clashes.
Having evolved to become a driving force in men’s fashion over the past 40 years, this is how you can get the look using vintage pieces from the original time periods where casuals where at their most influential.
In the beginnings, high-end sportswear was the clothing of choice for casuals, this included labels such as Sergio Tacchini, fila and Lacoste. Calling casuals the first group to make streetwear popular is not much of a stretch, as they were the first group to hit the streets in pricy sportswear. At the time most of the brands had their roots in tennis and this is no coincidence, casuals were using the codes of middle-class sportswear so they could flaunt expensive labels whilst not dressing provocatively, in order to not draw attention from the police. This was a time where skinheads struggled to enter football grounds so a new uniform that would go under the police radar was necessary. These groups were not known as casuals at this point and all had their own nuances. In Manchester, they had flicky hair cuts and wore mainly Fred Perry causing them to be known as the Perry boys.
As the style spread, more labels started to become involved, the tennis star Bjorn Borg started collaborating with Fila and Diadora which quickly became the must-have collaborations for casuals in the 80s. Also, ski wear started to become a reference point, brands like Ellesse sold premium and limited ski wear which was more durable in the British winters and still held clout.
The fashion was subject to quick changes and soon high-end outerwear labels like Stone Island and CP company, with their instantly recognizable badge and goggles, where quickly being incorporated into casuals fashion and have been a mainstay ever since.
By the 90s, more high-end foreign labels, which are synonymous with modern casuals, came to the fore, including Armani, Ralph Lauren and Prada, as well as British labels like Burberry and Aquascutum, which had been seen on the terraces for some time but were increasing in popularity. This remains pretty standard casual attire for the current football hooligans who are keeping the traditions alive, along with those who simply enjoy the clothing.
If you're looking for an authentic casuals look or just wanting to buy a couple of pieces to mix into your own style, check some of the pieces we have here at Thrifty Towel, many of which are direct from the period.