My Life Long Love Affair with Fred Perry

I, and many people my age who grew up in the mod era, have a life-long love affair with the infamous laurel leaf...
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I, and many people my age who grew up in the mod era, have a life-long love affair with the infamous laurel leaf...

When I was a youth back in the eighties my brother and I came up with an advertising slogan. At that time we had nothing better to think about really other than music and clothes and stuff. Anything in fact that involved avoiding homework and would wind our parents up to be honest. The slogan was this: ‘A Fred Perry Is for Life Not Just for Christmas’. I say we actually came up with the slogan but really we just substituted words ‘Fred Perry’ in place of ‘Dog’ but hey. Anyway back then I thought that those few words were the business, up there with the great thinkers of our time and just about the wittiest statement that anyone had ever come up with. Obviously it wasn’t but you know what you are like when you’re a kid.

What made me think of this tag line almost thirty years later was a scan through my wardrobe to find something to make myself at least half presentable. A tricky job that and no mistake. The only shirts with a collar I own are Fred Perry. As a confirmed t shirt man I can honestly say that the only polo or collared shirt I will either buy or wear is a Fred Perry. I’m not 100% certain why really; surely polo is polo?  It’s got to be a nostalgia issue I suppose. I remember on the telly an old Ariel or Bold advert in which this young skinhead was miffed his mum hadn’t washed his fave shirt. To be fair you didn’t actually see that it was a Fred Perry but you just knew that it was. At that time it was a fact that mods, scooter boys and skins wore the Fred Perry with pride.

Hey it’s common on lads of a certain age to have had the laurel leaf indelibly tattooed around the left nipple you know. Granted it’s not on display as much as the Celtic bands, but under that shirt it’s a badge of honour for the old boys! Not just for the mods anymore though, the Fred Perry is a genre busting fashion staple! Punks love em; emos wear em and your discerning indie kid lives in them. I’m afraid style icon Liam can try all he likes in the fashion design stakes but he will never come close to the classic Perry . Any self-respecting scooter boy would much sooner put the laurels on the side of his pride and joy of a Lambo or a Vespa than that ‘Pretty Green’ logo. I’ll stand corrected mind you but I doubt it.


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A few weeks ago a few friends and I went to watch the old mod band Secret Affair. Remember them? ‘Time For Action’ and ‘My World’? Anyway when I was at school they were the band of choice, after The Jam of course. I mention this as the aging crowd who showed up for this nostalgia trip must have been made up of 80 percent Fred Perry wearers backing up my ‘A Fred Perry is for life not just for Christmas ‘ statement! One thing I will say though is they did make the odd dodgy colour; I spotted a hideous orange example which a mate of mine used to sport. It was particularly ill advised on said mate as he had the less than envious affliction of being ginger and often went a stunning shade of pink in the sun creating a massive colour clash! (Sorry Mick!).

The other staple on show was the Harrington Jacket. Now the Harrington eh? Anyone still got one of those? I’m proud to say I have and still love it. A totally unpractical item, absolutely no good in the rain and the warmth is on the negligible side but again another classic from back in the glory days. I opt for the black classic but I remember you can get a few different colours and I particularly remember the Red one as worn by an ex Forest footballer when he was at school. I personally couldn’t stand the bloke but it never put me of from wanting a Harrington which was quite surprising as I’m usually touchy about stuff like that! Mind you I never supported Forest; I’m one of the few Notts County fans around so subconsciously that red Harrington must have had some effect on my psyche.

You can follow Colin on twitter @crimsonavenger