Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Forget entertainment, that's style

There are people, for most of us, whose style we admire or emulate or just look to for inspiration. Chloe Sevigny, Kirsten Dunst, Alexa Chung, Audrey Hepburn, are all favourites, including personal favourites but its probably safe to say, that we all harbour a certain sartorial fascination for someone off the beaten track; perhaps an elderly woman in a soap opera, some strange avant garde figure you see wandering about your city, the crazy girl from some obscure indie movie or shock horror: a man. Yes, of my own style icons along the road less travelled by, in terms of people you consider ridiculously stylish, is the rather dapper Paul Weller, from his days as "The Jam" and "The Style Council" front man.

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Weller, he is best known as the lead singer and guitarist and not to mention lyricist with the punk/mod revival band "The Jam", but has enjoyed reasonable success as a solo artist and with his controversial, mid to late 80s' group, "The Style Council" also.

In his hay day, in the early 80s, Paul Weller was quite the style icon and it easy to see why. With an obsession with 60s' mod culture, Weller initially took much of his inspiration, not just musically but sartorial influence too, from that legendary era - monochrome, 'badger' winkle pickers, suits and skinny ties. Following his infamous departure from "The Jam", Weller became heavily influenced by the Italian and French, 'cafe culture' - La Monde, Italian coffee, continental - cafe nonchalance-particularly the chic, classic dress code. Throughout this time, and even to this day, Weller considers himself to be a mod and staying continually true to the mod ideal, these days he only wears Italian brands including Miu Mui and Bottega Veneta and traditional British labels like Paul Smith and Ben Sherman. Indeed, Paul has even designed his own rendition of the iconic button - up shirt for the latter. Regarding the stringent dress code of the Mod, Weller has said "That love of detail, the Mod thing, it's eternal for me. It's ingrained, I don't even think about it." and in the past has regarded his love affair with clothes to be as deep and profound and as part of him that it is almost a religion.
"The Jam" were a confusing group. Despite bursting onto the mainstream in the 'Year Zero', "The Jam" baffled their contemporaries. This was largely due to their clean - cut, 60s mod look that had no time for the unnecessary violence of rips and safety pins. Weller's obsessive attention to detail meant a structured yet ever edgy wardrobe, that looks as stylish today as it did back in 1980.
There was no denying Weller's style credentials in his second musical offering 'The Style Council". The trench was his signature look along with scarves, tailored trousers, thick wool coats and other pieces deemed continental and chic. Weller, although enjoying the playfulness of a sweater tied around his neck, never abandoned his trusty suit but rather styled it up a notch, with flamboyant details.

(Even, I had to laugh, when I saw how 'in depth' this post turned out! But in my defence, I have wanted to do this post with a long time! And heck, its a post for gents too!)
Who do you consider to be someone, whose style you admire, that's a little less obvious?


Anonymous said...

wow great post! no seriously, i know i say that like every post (though they truly are all fantastic, you have such a good informative eye :) but this one was a really intriguing concept- a style icon that is totally off the beaten track. i'm not quite sure if i have one, ill keep you posted, but paul weller is certainly a great start! he is truly a rocker who actually has some dress sense, all of his outfits do look like they could be chic now, not just in the 80s, and the 80s is pretty obvious sartorially so that's saying something! i just love his whole classic refined look, very modern, professional, but with a bit of British cheek thrown in lol ;) i also loved this post b/c i only really know one Jam song (that's entertainment, which i love btw!) but now i must check him out more. once again, fab idea, i'm thinking of my outsider icon ;)

Isa said...

Your post is very interesting .
I know Paul Weller because one of my boyfriend was a great fan of The Jam ! But I didn'k know him in this aspect .. thanks !

Anonymous said...

Ahh Paul Weller...I'm still waiting on that marriage proposal hehe. Seriously though, he is one of my biggest musical and style icons and I wish that more men were as sharp as he.

CoutureCarrie said...

Wonderful post! It's good to find style inspiration in unexpected places. I'm loving the shows Swingtown and Mad Men right now for retro looks . . .


Juliet said...

I don't know who I look up to, there are a lot of people who i think dress well, but I wouldn't wear any of their outfits my self. I'm a geek.

juliet xxx

The Clothes Horse said...

I think what is really great about people like this is that it isn't so much what the wear, but really who they are that stands out.

Anonymous said...

hmm still working on my weird icon, but so far some oddly inspiring characters for me are:

-sweeney todd (i really loved Johnny Depp's costumes in the film, the vests, the scarves, the jackets, the layering!)

-I love the perfect london punk look of the band the Kills

-there was a girl at my school who was like the 1980s on crack- she wore her grandma's bowling shirts, her dad's big ugly sweaters, neon skinny jeans- one pair was even leopard print, and even though it was always a little insane and i would never wear things like that, I still watched in fascination like everyone else haha

im still trying to come up with the one person who truly does inspire me that isn't directly fashion related, i mean there's gotta be someone who is so subconciously influencing me that I can't come up with them right now! ugg, this is so annoying to me haha, but i'll tell you when I figure it out

Dana (pron. like Donna) said...

in many of these examples, it's evidence of the people MAKING the clothes and making them their own.
not just anybody could dress like them and look instantly their signature. it's an air. it's unattainable.

Aretha said...

Mmmmmm, I have so many inspirations but I think they're all a little obvious (Deneuve, Miller, Pallenberg, etc). So, I can't really tell if there's an underground icon for me. And I love this post :)


hey really love your blog
and your posting is so in-depth and so well thought-out.
check mine out,
let's link up

Kat said...

Jayne, you're just the best! I think that girl in your school sounds pretty cool and haha sweeney todd, that's quite a good one really!

TCH - I could not agree more with what you said, That's exactly it, it is what someone brings to an outfit in their personality that makes it so special. That's what creates such an iconic look.

Aretha, no worries if your inspirations are deemed obvious, must of mine certainly are! Audrey Hepburn is hardly original!lol

beccajanie said...

I hadn't heard before of Paul Weller, but I'm intrigued by your inspiration from his looks. I will have to break out The Jam now, and have a listen in addition to enjoying some good style!

mary said...

Loved this post so much, I swoon over well dressed guys and let's just say I definitely swooned a lot reading this.

I love and agree with what you wrote... it was so enjoyable and you seem like such a cool person!

Oh, and as for off kilter style icons? Kurt Cobain, when I bought my big white glasses... weird!

coco said...

I wouldn't normally take inspiration from them but you have found some really great pictures. I have lots of ideas now.

Dapper Kid said...

Love these photographs, they are so stylish! I would never have normally thought about them as a source of inspiration in all honesty, but I'm glad you shared this :)

yiqin; said...

Fantastic post. Thanks for all the information! I dont really have any celebrity's style I really admire..hmm

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

speaking of elderly woman, the golden girls had great style.

miss vintage love said...

I LOVE the Jam!


great great eye and with fab detail. I like how your broke his style down to span his career in the different bands. He is very stylish. Im loving Kelis(singer) for not being afraid to take risks with her hair,music and style.Even when some think it is a little mad but ultimately creates trends tons copy. Like there was a time she had that mad afro with a kaleidescope of bright colours dyed into at one pop. Soon there were copycat hairstyles like that around the globe. Then with the release of her Bossy album she flipped her hair by cutting into an assymetric eighties influenced razor cut.So the front had short bangs and it was shaved at sides with a rat tail,soon all and sundry had that cut as well.

Sunniva said...

This is such an amazing post! You have done an amazing job with it. It's so good that you point out the less obvious style inspirations, because as you say, we all have them. I often get inspired by stylish men and I love these photos that you've posted of Paul Weller, The Jam and The Style Council.


olesya said...

sorry to bother, but where can i get hq pics of the jam band or young weller?