Stray Cats Style

So this past weekend we were lucky enough to snag tickets to Brian Setzer’s 50th b’day party which was held here in Minneapolis. The other two members of the Stray Cats flew in and together they played an almost two hour set–which was a real treat. It was a bit of a rock-a-billy fashion show, with pompadours greased perfectly, but surprisingly not as many well dressed, vintage adorned women as I would have expected. Really a great and enthusiastic crowd, as people flew in from London, Japan, California, and drove in from throughout the Midwest to catch the Cats only 2009 appearance and this special night. They had a strict no cameras policy (except disposable cameras? weird) so I tried to get a few cell phone shots but they are terrible. 

From Flickr I found “Hopiraven/Sharon H” had a nice shot:

They sounded fabulous, and I thought I’d point you toward a few sites and references of teddy boy/greaser style. By the way–Slim Jim totally stole the show. He looked great in his black outfit with red sparkling flower appliques, hair to the ceiling, and belts and chains. Teddy & Punk perfect with fab facial expressions and fun dance moves. 

A couple of older shots for reference:

Below is a tiny handful of the research that has been done into the Teddy Boy/Biker/Rocker (little bit of punk) style. As per usual, there simply isn’t enough in the dress-specific literature. There are popular press pieces, some blogs and websites, and various books in sociology, social & music history. There is really such a void when it comes to subcultural lit in dress studies. I’m trying to fill it as fast as I can, along with some dedicated peers, but there simply isn’t enough out there in the way of research projects. I know there is more than this list–I just thoguht I’d point you to a handful I’m checking out. 

1.) I should plug my team research on Black Leather Jackets. Last week we presented at Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association and next month we’ll be presenting at the Costume Society of America. Last year we did a round of conferences as well, continuing to work through different angles of the large project. We’ve got two manuscripts in the works so soon it’ll all be available publicly. One manuscript is about the prototype of the black leather jacket and how that form is used in conjunction with meaning and shifting uses. The other manuscript is on aesthetic value and fashion connotations of the jacket. Hopefully those will go to journals in the next few months and be published in 2010 at the latest. That’s to goal at least. 

2.) There’s an aging CTRJ article by Lynne Richards entitled The Appearance of Youthful Subculture: A Theoretical Perspective on Deviance. It was never one of my favorite articles, but admittedly it is one of the few that has been published in a specifically dress related journal on the subject so I come back to it periodically.

3.) Ted Polhemus’s book StreetStyle has a great chapter on Teddy Boys but unfortunately the book is out of print. You can find it online through used sources, and I know Ted is looking for a new publisher for his updated edition. I love that book–it really sent me on my way of finding my research calling–if you don’t have it it’s a must-find. 

4.) I’ve gotten some use out of the article Statements of fear through cultural symbols: punk rock as a reflective subculture by H.G. Levine & S.H. Stumpf from Youth & Society, 1983. Mostly I’ve used it to discuss ideas about deviance and subculture when referencing pieces that go in that direction.

5.) The Teds looks like it might be a really nice photo collection. 

It is by Richard Smith and Chris Steele-Perkins. I haven’t seen it myself but it looks fab. 

6.) Suzanne McDonald-Walker has the book Bikers for Berg Publishers. 

This one delves into biker culture and gives some insight into the mythology.

I’ve got a much longer reference list than this and of course there’s a ton of stuff on mods vs. rockers, but if anyone has any tips of more dress-specific pieces that you think I might not be aware of please pass them along.

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at :, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.