The Specials – Two Tone Style

With temperatures beginning to rise into the nineties, and the city generally taking on what can only be described as a syrupy haze, I’m easing nicely into the summer slump.  For the foreseeable future it seems all I want to do is wear the same shirt everyday, take five times as long to do simple tasks, and choose air conditioning over everything else.  Normally this has always been my response to the sweltering summer heat, but this year there’s a new addition to my routine, listening to the same bands over and over again.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m too lazy to scour the internet for something new, or if I’m content with my current collection, or if I simply just never liked that much music to begin with, but as of late I’ve been perfectly happy listening to the same ten or so albums on repeat.  Naturally, as these bands are pretty much all I’ve been listening these past few weeks, they’re starting to really influence my whole summer outlook.  So as a nod to that, this week is dedicated to three bands that have shaped my early summer, not only through their music, but through their entire image.

The Specials are one of those bands that I’ve been listening to for as long as I’ve really cared about music.  By balancing the rocksteady beat of reggae with the raw energy of early seventies punk, The Specials became one of the most prolific of all seventies ska bands.  Yet, it was the band’s politically charged sentiments that helped to make them so much more memorable than most other bands from their era.  The Specials took a strong stance against racism, hoping to help diffuse the tension between races that ran throughout England during the late seventies.  Their attitude took on larger meaning as The Specials lead the way in the Two Tone ska movement.  It wasn’t just about music, it was about their personalities.  Inspired by 1960’s Rude Boys and Mods, the Specials wore dark suits, well worn hats, white sneakers, plaid pants, patterned jackets, black loafers, and dark sunglasses.  While their clothes made them stand out for what they believed in during the late seventies, it also helped solidify them as style icons for decades to come.  Their clothes were strong and at times severe but they wore them with this relaxed sense of comfort that made them look entirely natural.  The Specials knew they stood out, hell they wanted to, so they went with it.  And along the way provided us all with some pretty damn good inspiration on how to pull off outfits we normally would never even consider.

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