So you want to go to a ska show. Or maybe you want to start a ska band. Good for you! Now the question is: What should you wear? Because, nothing will identify you as an impostor faster than a wack outfit.

The first thing to know: Since ska is derivative of many other musical genres, ska fashion is also a mishmash of styles. Ska arose in early '60s Jamaica, combining elements of jazz, rock, swing, and other snippets from U.S. radio. But it soon moved around the globe, and after a heyday in white America in the '90s it's now quite popular in Latino L.A.

Ska fashion, meanwhile, ranges from the classic two tone styles of the British skinhead scene to the dapper wears of L.A's backyard punk scene. Let's take a closer look.

Credit: The Specials

Credit: The Specials


What to wear: Fly Blazer

When it comes to shirts, styles include the basic white tank top, flannels, band shirts, or even that nice checkered v-neck sweater your grandmother gave you. To tell the truth, most any hipster clothes will do.


How to wear them: Roll up the cuffs

Cuffed pants reflect the influence of old rock 'n roll, and tight trousers — even ripped jeans — will fit in great. You can even class it up with some slacks a la the two-tone style of The Specials.

Flickr: Otto Yamamoto


What to wear: Kick ass boots

Actually, acceptable footwear can range from classic Vans and Chucks (preferably checkered and black and white) to boots, loafers, Doc Martens eight-hole boots or Gibsons — plain black, oxblood or cherry red.

Credit: Fishbone

Credit: Fishbone

Hair Styles:

How to stylize your hair: Buzz cut

Long hair can be found in ska, along with punk-influenced spiked hair, or a short buzz cut. Hell, even dreads. Bands like Viernes 13, Sublime, and Fishbone changed the style and gave ska some punk flavor.

Credit: Flickr: Matamoska

Credit: Flickr: Matamoska


What to wear: Suspenders

Nothing is more ska than suspenders. Other acceptable headgear at ska shows include trilby hats, pork pie hats, scally caps, bowlers, and knit caps. Elsewhere, you'll want your wallet chains, glasses, stud belts, and maybe even a bandanna.

Got it? Good — you're now ready to skank!

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