CASUAL culture I


The early 1980's saw the birth of the Soccer Casual, out went the previous skinhead fashions and in came Pringle jumpers, Lois cords, Farahs and Burberry scarves. The label was the thing, and the more expensive and exclusive the better. The following article is a breif history of what clobber British footie lads were wearing in the early days of the Casual (mainly the 80's), got to admit I'm not old enough to remember some of those fashions in the early 80's and in some cases thank god, cause there was some god awfull clothes as well as some smart stuff.
For the first time since the 60's Mod, working class lads were happy to look trendy and tidy, and these lads would use the terraces at their loacl club as their catwalks. During the early '80s the choice of menswear in most cities was limited to a few big department stores not like these days when you can buy a pair of Levis from your local Tescos. That's why tracking down those obscure tennis shirts became essential for the Casual (Fila, Lacoste, Tacchini etc). A lot of the clothes and ideas came from abroad. British clubs ruled the roost in Europe during this era. Consequently the Scousers of Liverpool spent a good deal of time in France and Italy robbing those much sought after Tacchini/Fila/Ellesse/Lacoste tops.

As the grapevine spread news of the Casual phenomenon across the country, a 'uniform' of sorts began to emerge. This could be said to comprise of certain labels such as Slazenger, Lacoste, Ellesse, Burberry, Lois, Kappa, Levis etc. Anoraks, cords and bleached jeans became a regular sight on the Inter City service trains at a weekend. Arguably more importantly were the trainers. The knack of sporting the correct footwear became an art in itself. 
Adidas was generally regarded as top dog during this era for trainers, though makes such as Diadora had some top trainers as well. Top Trainers of the time Included Adidas Samba And Diadora Borg Elite 
Despite occassional wearing of moccassin shoes, hiking boots etc. the trainer has always seemed to be in fashion, especially in the 80's.
As mentioned above Pringle jumpers were one of the early wears of the Casual along with the kagoul worn over the top. Again Adidas was one of popular makes of kagoule but Nike and Kappa were other great makes (especially the blue Kappa one) and maybe more obscurly some lads wore Patrick kagouls. When the winter months came the kagoule was replaced with Ski Jackets and the Pringles and Lyle & Scotts were replaced with Ski Jumpers by Fila and Tachini. At the same time Lois Cords, Farah trousers and bleached jeans (sometime with a slit at the bottom to sit better over the tops of your trainers) were worn. 
Then once the Casual became to popular some lads dressed down and started wearing semi-flares (pre-dating the Baggy look of the late '80s). Then new labels were sought out (Chipie, Stone Island, Henri Lloyd), some fans in Leeds took to wearing deerstalker hats to the match... 
The change of pace of what was 'in' and what was 'out' changed every week not like these days when the same labels seem to be in for years. By the late-eighties the Casual era was in demise. 
Today a lot of former Casuals and nouveau-Casuals, have returned to smartness. The emphasis is now not so much on sportswear now, with people plumping for Paul Smith, John Smedley and Prada. But there are a few labels that have stood the test of time and been there almost from the start to present day - Lacoste and Burberry.

Another Classic casual item was the golfing jackets - Burberry being the main one but by the late 80's it was replaced by the Ralph Lauren which stuck around for a few years until every Tom, Dick and Harry had one, another classic golfing jacket was the tartan Lacoste ones but they were never easy to track down.
The ubiquitous training shoe still holds the most fascination however, a fact recognized by Adidas who continue to release old-skool classics which are snapped up by lads, old and new alike.
The key seems these days seems to be keep it neat and tidy, keep one step ahead and keep on saving cause it never gets any cheaper.