Journalist and one time Clash manager Caroline Coon makes a great point in an interview in Zillah Minx’s excellent “She’s a Punk Rocker UK” film. Talking about the early but ever evolving Punk fashions, she says,
“That tough look that women began to wear in the Punk style, for me was incredibly liberating”.
Tough, was definitely something that previous generations of girls had been steered away from. To look tough was unattractive, unladylike, and definitely not something to aspire to. Tough meant rough, and rough meant trouble. Punk changed that, and for the first time it was OK to wear clothes that didn’t play up to the image of girls as either feeble or subservient or malleable. It was OK to be TOUGH.
Monkey boots, salvaged military wear, spikes, studs, and ripped clothes were all part of the teen punk wardrobe. For the first time in teen girl history, the tougher the better.
Jackie Magazine’s writers must have worn out their fingers out typing the words “Floaty” and “Feminine” as often as they did to describe the “latest” fashion trends – which somehow all seemed to fall into either or both of the above categories. I don’t remember them ever recommending “Tough”.
“Always wear shoes that are good for running or fighting” – Joe Strummer