The skin head
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - May 8, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — “The look is clean, the feel is cool.” That’s the simplest and the clearest way to describe the skin head. It’s simple because the head is simply cleared; and clear because there’s hardly hair left.

The skinhead is a kind of haircut – well, the hair is often cut clean to reveal the skin – that is quite versatile. It looks good on adults as it does on small kids. Kids look cute and cuddly with it; and grownups look either tough or tender with their heads cleaned up.

Yes, among grownups the skinhead is some statement, whether intentional or not. It may communicate that the person is care-free, not particular about look, yet without necessarily suggesting total inattention to self. In fact, the person just looks neat with the skinhead.

Its versatility does not end with who wears the haircut. The skinhead goes smoothly well with various kinds of outfits – formal, casual etc. And a person with a skinhead looks confident and stable.

Actually, in some cultures the skinhead is no uncertain statement. It is said to have originated among working-class youths in London, England in the 1960s and spread worldwide in the 1980s. Motivated by social alienation and working-class solidarity, skinheads are identified by their close-cropped or shaven heads and working-class clothing.

The rise to prominence of skinheads came in two waves, with the first wave taking place in the late 1960s and the second wave originating in the mid1970s to early 1980s. The term “skinheads” was soon used to refer to the whole subculture that project the characteristic look, attitude and lifestyle. The original skinheads were working-class youths that expressed alternative values and pride of self.

True, the skinhead was also becoming popular in the protest movement that it soon departed from the ranks of the working class and into the political arena. Then, skinheads were incorporating elements of mod fashion and black music and black fashion. In a way, it had also been associated with rude and vulgar behavior.

But as more and more free-spirited popular artists adopted the skinhead, the haircut has since become a definition of personal style. For example, the skinhead has no doubt added to the popular appeal of singer Sinead O’Connor, whose songs remained at the top of the music charts for so long. Ironically, Ms. O’Connor’s shaven head has added – instead of diminished – her sensual appeal.

In general, female skinheads – no, Sinead O’Connor is not alone, of course – wear the same clothing items as men, with the addition of skirts, stockings, or dress suits composed of a ¾-length jacket and matching short skirt. Some so-called “skingirls” wear fishnet stockings and mini-skirts, a style introduced during the punk-influenced skinhead revival. And skingirls are quite a sight to behold.

Most true-blue skinheads wear boots; army surplus or generic workboots. They have also been known to wear brogues, loafers or low shoes. With other skinheads, football-style athletic shoes are popular. Female or child skinheads generally wear the same footwear as men, with the addition of monkey boots.

The rest of those who adapt the skinhead are simply motivated by aesthetics. A clean head serves their fashion purposes.

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