Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Style of This Is England, This Is England '86, and This Is England '88

This Is England is a film written and directed by Shane Meadows. It was released in 2006 to great acclaim and as a result, two spin-off three-part series This Is England '86 and This Is England '88 appeared in 2010 and 2011 on Channel 4 in Britain. A third series, This is England '90 is in the works.

This Is England and the follow-ups tell the story of a group of young friends growing up in a town in England's Midlands. Creator Shane Meadows wanted to show what his youth and those of his friends as skinheads in the 1980s was like. As a side note, the popular opinion of the skinhead is the political extremist side of the movement. If you think "racist" when you hear the term skinhead, that's unfortunate as the movement began as a youth culture and it was influenced heavily by ska, reggae and soul and West Indian culture, specifically Jamaican Rude Boys. This website explains further.

I wanted to do this post to highlight the fashion and styling that is, in my opinion, really incredible. British youth culture is fascinating to me - Mods, Skinheads, Punks, Teddy Boys, etc. So much fashion, music and attitude that has left their imprints on popular culture today. 

The characters of This Is England are fascinating and lovable and they've got some dated, but undeniably kickass style. In the film, This Is England, we're introduced to the gang and they're all kitted out in Doc Martens, rolled cuffs, suspenders and Polo shirts. On the men, the hair is shaved close to the head. The girls are dressed like the boys, for the most part, and the hair, is cropped very short at the crown and the bangs and sides are long. It's known as a Chelsea or a Chelsea Girl. 

Photos from This Is England:

The This Is England gang (minus Milky)
The one stand out of the group is Smell, who has more of a punk look. She's behind Shaun in the center of the photo above. Lol (2nd from the right) is in Doc Martens, jeans with tightly rolled cuffs, a polo shirt and a Harrington jacket. Trev (the blonde) is also in Doc Martens and denim but a checked button-up shirt. Kelly, Lol's younger sister (far right) is more feminine in a denim miniskirt, fishnets, white socks and what looks to me like Doc Marten shoes. 

The boys

In the above photo, the boys of This Is England are in Doc Martens, denim in a variety of colours but always with rolled cuffs, t-shirts, button-up shirts or polo shirts and Harrington jackets (on Woody, Pukey and Gadget) or denim jackets. Milky (far left) looks more dressy than the rest of the lads because he's in black and white but it's still the Doc Marten, denim, braces and button-up shirt uniform.

Fred Perry Harrington Jackets

The girls - Smell, Lol, Trev and Kelly
All of the gals, apart from Smell, wore variations on the Chelsea Girl haircut. Lol's and Kelly's has the long fringe and length at the back but shorn very short everywhere else. Trev's was similar, but without the contrast between short and long. Hers is more of a bleached blonde shag. 

Smell's look is in contrast to the masculine stylings of her female friends. She's clearly playful with her fashion, playing with trends. In these photos she looks like she's been inspired by Strawberry Switchblade, a Scottish new wave band of the time. Polka dots, layered skirts, accessories (gloves, scarves, jewellery) big hair and dramatic makeup are Smell's signatures. 

Kelly (Chanel Kresswell) and Trev (Danielle Watson)
Lol (Vicky McClure)
Make-up on the other gals varied. Lol stuck with some smudgy eyeliner and little else as does Trev, while Kelly, the more feminine of the three, played up her pretty features with eye makeup, lipstick and blush.

Shaun (Thomas Turgoose)

This Is England '86:

In the first miniseries set two years after the feature film, the gang are still together, apart from one or two notable and not-so-notable absences, and they have new looks. 

Woody (Joe Gilgun)

The first episode opens with the gang heading to Lol and Woody's wedding. In the two years since the film, Woody has evolved into more of a mod than a skinhead, with a very Paul Weller in The Jam hair cut and a scooter. He wears patterned button-ups still but done all the way up and under a close-fitting cardigan. He wears his jeans rolled still and the ever-present Doc Martens but also a very Mod parka.

Paul Weller
In the first episode of the miniseries, we see the gang gathered together for Woody and Lol's wedding. Note Lol's masculine style.

Lol's hair is bleached blonde and styled in a bit of a pompadour. 
Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Lol (Vicky McClure

Lol (Vicky McClure)
Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Lol (Vicky McClure)
In the last episode of the miniseries, Woody wore a close-cropped powder-blue tuxedo. Milky, his best man, wore a long jacket, similar to the style of a Teddy Boy.
Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Milky (Andrew Shim)
Smell's style in TIE '86 is a touch more goth with deep purple-black lipstick and eyeliner. Her hair is a bowl cut with shaved sides and back. 

Smell (Rosamund Hanson)
Smell (Rosamund Hanson)

The gang
Trev still wears her skinhead uniform - polo shirts, Harrington jacket, Doc Martens and jeans. Her hair is dyed red and in an asymmetric cut. 

Trev (Danielle Watson)
Kelly's hair is very punk shaved into almost a mohawk and dyed pink. She dresses in a feminine 80s style, more like Smell than Trev or Lol. She favours heavy smoky eye makeup and pale pink lips. 

Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Kelly (Chanel Kressman)

Kelly (Chanel Kressman)
In TIE '86 we see Shaun as a teenager. After the first film, he had parted ways with the gang but they find each other again in TIE '86. Shaun had also parted ways with his skinhead uniform, dressed as an average teenager.

Shaun (Thomas Turgoose)

Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and Smell (Rosamund Hanson)

This Is England '88:

This Is England '88 brings us two years into the future for the gang. Much has changed but I promise I'll keep the spoilers as subtle as possible!

The gang (most of them)

In This Is England '88, most of the gang is still together, but some have parted ways for various reasons, mainly due to becoming young adults.

Kelly still has her feminine, punk look with a spiked black-blue hairdo, ripped t-shirts, Doc Martens (in white, above) and skirts. 

Kelly (Chanel Kressman)
Smell and Shaun are featured heavily in This Is England '88. Shaun is busy with school but still friends with the gang and he and Smell are a couple. His look is student but still with some of the skinhead fashion sense (Harrington jacket, Fred Perry shirts). Smell on the other hand has changed her style again, with her hair cut and shaved into a bowl cut and dyed bright orange. 

Smell (Rosamund Hanson)
Her makeup is still dramatic and goth with dark purple lipstick and eyeliner. Smell is still fond of veils and her accessories are jaw-dropping! Check out the collar she's wearing in the photo, below. 

Smell (Rosamund Hanson)

Smell and Kelly doing karaoke

Shaun and Smell
Woody has become even more the grown-up and we see him in button-up shirts, ties, cardigans, blazers  and suits, albeit they're quite a bit more stylish than your average working man. His hair is cut short on the sides and more conservative than we've seen in the previous series. Woody is also a little bit lost in This Is England '88 so his mental state is caught between his past and his present and is reflected in his appearance. 

Woody still has his scooter and his Mod parka though he's on the outside looking in.

At a holiday dinner with his boss, Woody wears a rather flashy mod boating blazer.
Woody and Jennifer (Stacey Sampson)
The gang
Milky too has grown-up and his look has evolved. He's still pretty styling in button-up shirts, blazers, suits, and Harrington jackets (below in a light blue with a plaid lining).

Lol is, like Woody, lost. Her clothing is not so different from two years ago, but they're distinctively darker, as is her hair. While in the first This Is England, Lol wore her natural hair colour, and in This Is England '86 dyed it platinum blonde, in This Is England '88 it's dyed jet black. When she styles it, it's either in a bit of a pompadour or left to dry naturally. 


Woody and Lol

This Is Englad '90 is in the works, so it'll be interesting to see how the style of the characters changes as they enter the 1990s. 

Hope you've enjoyed this look at this great series.

And to finish, here are Joe Gilgun and Vicky McClure who play Woody and Lol as they appear in real life.

Also, check out these videos and photos of the gorgeous Vicky McClure here

If you're interested in checking out This Is England, This Is England '86, This Is England '88 they are available for purchase on

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