Quaintrelles, Dandies, and Flâneurs #1

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Vintage Punk1 Street Fashion at SPWS

Because I am primarily a photographer (and only secondarily a coolhunting blogger), a major aspect of my posts here at SPWS is visuals. Thus, once a month or so, I will be posting photographs of the sort of timeless, casual style I laud. My goal is to display real people in their real, everyday clothing, proving that this genre isn't just for cons and parties. I also intend to post a plethora of photos of masculine fashion, as it seems like most of the fashion pics available online are female-centric.

Now, I expect some of you to get all uppity about sticking to established genre conventions or act disappointed that I'll be showing a wide array of mashed-up vintage punk styles (not just Victoriana), but now is your opportunity to get over it. My way is much more fun, anyhow.

So, let me introduce someone you may recognize–this is Nathaniel Johnstone from Abney Park


  • Older-than-god Bauhaus tee – stolen from the photographer, $15
  • Leather grommet cuff – Synapse 206, $20
  • Leather sporran – Dumpstered, free
  • Traditional hand-made wool kilt – Patrick Roper for North Channel Kilts, about $500
  • Mismatched green socks – Sock Dreams, $6 per pair
  • Army issue combat boots with paracord laces – Ebay, $20
  • Grey coffin motif umbrella – stolen from the photographer, $20

Nathan wears this kilt onstage with Abney Park at shows, but he can easily dress it down with an old band shirt and bashed-up military boots. He had the kilt made by a local artisan from $60-a-yard hand-loomed wool fabric acquired from a renaissance faire in California. Nathan's outfit is an excellent example of how you can take an item on which you spent a lot of money and make it worth every cent, and for more than just dress-up. While dressing in expensive clothing every day might be considered bourgeois or pretentious (remember, we're not hipsters), making certain you get every possible use out of a clothing item is actually wise and thrifty. It's also considerably more respectful to a hand-made garment to actually wear the thing out rather than stash it away in your wardrobe for special occasions only.

Also, notice Nathan's mismatched green socks with the plaid kilt–proof you can mash-up your stripes and plaids and still look incredibly put-together.

I additionally want to note the aspects of goth and punk fashion in Nathan's outfit–they're respectfully executed, but subtle. It is perfectly ok to borrow clothing motifs you like from other subcultures, and this specific subculture has a lot in common with goth/punk. See my article called "Paint it Brass" in Issue #4 of Steampunk Magazine if you disagree. And, as Bruce Sterling says here:

"We are a technological society. When we trifle, in our sly, Gothic, grave-robbing fashion, with archaic and eclipsed technologies, we are secretly preparing ourselves for the death of our own tech. Steampunk2 is popular now because people are unconsciously realizing that the way that we live has already died."

Thank you, and thanks to Nathan for posing. For more photos from this set, visit my Flickr.

1 As per Finn von Claret's suggestion, some of us are avoiding using the s-word this week. Here's a different, more all-encompassing term for the style. I also use anachrotechnofetishism on a regular basis.
2 I guess Bruce owes the jar a quarter.