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14. March 2021

Style Icons – The Style Council

by

Maximilian Mogg

Why is it that white socks get such a bad rap, especially from those who lived through their heyday, the 1980s?I, personally, don’t fully understand it. There are so many examples of people who can make it work for them. Today, we will focus on two of the brightest examples, Misters Paul Weller and Mick Talbot. Known together as The Style Council, they are true style icons of the 1980s.


While the pandemic has us all locked down, there is no better time to put on Shout to the top or My ever-changing moods and dance away our blues. I have a vision of leaning on a wall looking particularly cool humming along to You’re the best thing. The Style Council’s music is undoubtedly a product of its time but it still rings so true today; at least it does to me. It doesn’t suffer from the excesses of its contemporaries. Like, for example, the sentimentality of the work of one of Tears for Fears. I would describe their music as having a natural elegance that I associate with a certain lifestyle. If you don’t quite know what I mean, I would recommend listening to The Paris Match. I don’t think there is anyone who can summon up the images and feelings of a late-evening stroll on the banks of the Seine in good company and perhaps a bit of a wine-fuelled haze. At this point, I should point out that I am aware that, if I’m allowed to go on for too long, I will start to resemble Bret Easton Ellis’ Patrick Bateman, so I will stop there and go over into discussing The Style Council’s signature style.

Indeed, it is a challenge. How do you dress when making music so unique? Mr Paul Weller and Mr Mick Talbot’s clothing choices are a mix of American preppy style, British cool, and classic menswear. They wore such combinations as British three-button rowing blazers with white denim, white suede loafers, and blue Oxford cotton shirts or beige oversized trenchcoats and black rollnecks, black mohair trousers, spectator shoes, black sunglasses, and those iconic white socks. Only one word truly captures the spirit of the thing: ‘Cool’. They say you either have or you don’t. Well, The Style Council just had it. At first glance, their outfits may look a bit contrived but there is something in the way they wear it that just screams authenticity. If you’re trying to give your monochrome ‘artist look®️’ a bit of panache, there is nothing better than a trenchcoat and dark sunglasses. However, for me, the pinnacle of The Style Council’s style is a particular outfit that I will never forget. Navy club jacket (either single or double-breasted), white high-rise pressed jeans, light-blue shirt, gold and blue regimental stripe tie, black tassel loafers, and those signature white over-the-calf socks. There is nothing more classic than white socks with white trousers, and yet there is also nothing more 80s. To finish this article, I’d like to propose a toast. Please, raise your glass (or cup of coffee, as the situation allows) to white socks. The 80s are dead, long live the 80s.

MM/DC/PS