A Guide to Britpop Style: 90s Men's Fashion

Coined as the era of 'Cool Britannia', the 90s was an iconic time for British fashion. In fact, some might say there was no better time for British music and fashion for men than the 1990s. The ingredients of the era - boy band rivalry, casual clothing, football and Manchester - helped to define a new style of Britishness that has lasted three decades!

What is Britpop?

The 90s Britpop movement was driven by bands like Oasis, Blur and Pulp. In Britpop style and music, there was a renewed sense of British Nationalism as bands reacted against the grunge scene happening across the pond in North America. Music recalled the guitar-based music of British music legends like The Beatles and British fashion brands like Fred Perry, Dr Martens and Clarks rose to prominence.

What is Britpop style? 

Collage image made up of 2 separate images. Left image is a portrait image of a group of 6 white men standing in an urban alleyway.  Right image depicts a misty club scene with a large group of young people in baggy clothing.

Left: Happy Mondays, 1987, unknown Right: unknown, c. 1989

The late 1980s set the way for 90s Britpop style. Club culture bands like Happy Mondays influenced the casual clothing movement. The band's style was characterised by baggy clothing - to quote one of their songs: “Has to be Loose fit”. This was a practical style choice to allow for free and liquid movement to dance to their new music genre that merged UK indie and its Rave scene. Baggy style clothing also helped convey their Northern identity, with its roots in working class street style.

90s men's fashion in the Britpop subculture continued the 80s casual style worn by Happy Mondays. Damon Albarn, front man of Blur, described his style as ‘mod-ual’ - a combination of Mod and Casual style. Football shirts also became a style staple, as made popular by Oasis frontmen the Gallagher brothers, and a way to establish regional patriotism. 

Key elements of 90s Britpop style for men would include tracksuit tops, Fred Perry polos, suit jackets, Harrington jackets, parka’s, DMs, denim jeans and, of course, Adidas.

Britpop Jackets: Track Jacket & the iconic Harrington jacket

Collage of Images

Left: 'Seudeheads' or Skinheads, 1971, unknown, Centre Left: Harrington Jacket from ROKIT's Collection Centre Right: Damon Albarn in Harrington Jacket, c.1990s unknown photographer, Right: 1991, Credit: Rob Clayton 

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Track jackets and Harrington jackets were popular clothing items in the 90s during the era of Britpop. They symbolised youthful, rebellious and carefree nature of British youth culture at the time.

The Harrington Jacket became a statement of 90s style in Britain. The jacket was a piece of vintage clothing history of the 1960s & 70s by British Mods. The utility style jacket has now become synonymous with Britpop musicians in the 90s.

Classic Football shirts

Collage image of 2 images. Left image of two men in football shirts, one has jumped on the other's back. Right image of a group of young football fans (boys) lining up against a brick wall.

Left: Liam and Noel Gallagher, 1994 Right: 1991, Credit: Richard Davis from British Culture Archive

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Football Shirts played a significant role in the Britpop 90s style. They were seen as a symbol of work-class pride and cultural identity. This was true for the Gallagher brothers, of Oasis fame. The two were known for their love of football and often wearing vintage football shirts on stage and as everyday wear. This helped to establish football casuals as part of 90s streetwear. 


Collage image of 2 images. Left image shows a white man wearing a tie and a parka jacket sat on a motorbike. Right image shows a man smoking a cigarette on a football pitch wearing a parka jacket.

Left: Unknown Right: Liam Gallagher, unknown.

The Parka was another element of 60s mod style that Britpop borrowed from. Popularised most notably by Liam Gallagher parka’s would take the shape of a hooded waterproof anorak often in shade of khaki or olive coloured. 

Britpop designer clothing

Collage of 3 images. Left image shows a two men standing on a street, one wearing a large raincoat and tracksuit, the other is cut out of frame. Central image shows a portrait of a man staring to the camera, he's relaxed and wearing a checkered shirt. Right image shows a portrait of a man with a bright blue background. He's holding a cup of tea, wearing a short sleeve polo and stares directly into the camera.

Left: Oasis, c.1990s Centre: Liam Gallagher, 1995, credit: Jill Furmanovsky Right: Graham Cox (Blur), c. 1990s, photographer unknown

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Burberry, on the other hand, was known for its traditional, preppy look. The brand's signature check pattern and trench coats became synonymous with Britpop.  

Britpop would be nothing without the British brand, Fred Perry. The brand's iconic jersey polo shirts with the laurel wreath embroidered logo were a staple of the Britpop look. Fred Perry's association with subcultures such as mods and skinheads also made it a popular choice among fans of the movement.

The problem with Britpop

90s Britpop was not all pretty boys and casual attitude. The renewed sense of nationalism of the time was a double-edged sword. Whilst some were filled with pride and unity, others took the opportunity to divide and exclude. This led to promoting white, male and working-class dominance and excluding minority groups, like Black British people and women. 

Fred Perry, one of the Britpop brands, has often been associated with nationalism. The embroidered laurel logo was a symbol of white, working-class identity since the 60s as it was often worn by Skinheads, a violent nationalist group. In the 90s, Fred Perry was still associated with the violence against non-white people. 

Another less favourable aspect of Britpop was football hooliganism. The relationship between Britpop and football is evident in music and fashion, from musicians to fans. The 90s saw a darker side to the game, as there was increasing violence and vandalism happening at matches. Britpop icons were accused of glamorising and promoting hooliganism - Liam Gallagher being the leader of this. 

Britpop lives on!

Collage of 2 images. Left image shows a portrait of a woman wearing bright sportswear with the backdrop of an industrial estate. Right image is of a man with a moustache wearing a beige jacket.

Images from ROKIT's New Lad / Ladette campaign, 2022

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Britpop style has continued to be a part of the British style language. Also known as the Terrace wear trend, it has gained a significant resurgence for both men and women. This has come at a time where vintage clothing (defined as more than 20 years old) has become more and more popular. 

Vintage Football shirts from the 90s have become sought after in the last few years. This has become more and more part of women’s vintage style. Vintage Adidas clothing, with its association to football and Britpop, have been a highly sought after brand in recent years. For e.g. vintage Adidas sweatshirts, an iconic Britpop look, is a current terrace wear staple.

Alongside football shirts and Vintage Adidas clothing, vintage Harrington style jackets and parka’s have become vintage clothing statements recalling this iconic era of British style.

With less violence, discrimination and exclusion, we're very happy to see the commitment to the iconic British style era. 



What Britpop Did For Mens Style, Mr Porter

Madchester, Museum of Youth Culture

British Culture Archive Blog, British Culture Archive

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