Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What I Wore Twenty Five Years Ago: What Paul Weller Wore

Twenty five years ago, I was fully beneath the sway of the Style Council, a pseudo-collective of self proclaimed modernists led by one Paul Weller.  Like him, you can bet that I was frequently shod in the versatile black beefroll loafer.  I wore them with shorts.  I wore them with jeans.  I wore them with pegged chinos. Mostly without socks.  Utterly without irony I once wore them with my first purchased tuxedo, a shawl collar from Jos. Banks.  I refused to shell out for the useless patent tux slippers to go with them, and couldn't afford them anyway.

Weller started with the Jam during the first wave of punk in the late 70s.  Here he is at the close of the Jam era, dressed much like I was in a button down oxford, chinos with surcingle belt, white sox, and the aforementioned black loafers.  At least I'm about 95% certain that's what he's got on his feet, as anything below his Rickenbacker is obscured by the crowd.

I was too disconnected to be a Jam fan contemporaneously, but when Weller disbanded them for a new, more mature, jazzier and more soulful project, I was on board from the get go.  My trajectory as college punk morphing into urbane intellectual followed his.  Known as The Cappucino Kid, Weller and the rest of his councilors cultivated an air of cafe culturalism steeped in Godardist politics and style, and seasoned their records with britpop versions of soul, vocal jazz, piano jazz (Weller's collaborator at the time, Mick Talbot, was a huge piece of the puzzle), and eighties era rap.  Without a doubt the Style Council writ a blueprint followed later by groups such as Oasis and Vampire Weekend.  Now, Weller knew that I knew that he knew he was posing, but nevermind that now.  Here they are, dressed well and bringing it all together in style.

As you can see, towards the end of the video, what is Mr. Weller shuffling around in rather stylishly but a pair of beefroll loafers, probably in black to match the checks.

Anyway, in short order Weller closed up shop on the Style Council and moved on to his third act, the solo career.  He has turned out a truly monumental catalog of solo work of depth and quality, more focused than his Jam or Style Council years.  His voice too has matured and the anger of the 70s, and the flash living of the 80s, have caught up to him and thus imparting, what - more gravitas?  We should all mature as well.  Perhaps it's the black beefroll loafers he no doubt - here - pairs with his take on the 70s slim look.


M.Lane said...

Great post! It educated me on a lot of music I didn't know about. Super writing too.


Ben said...

Thanks Mr. Lane! As always your visits are much appreciated, rare as my posts have become. I will try to rectify that. It is, after all, procrastination.