Shelby Chic


Since Peaky Blinders first hit our screens in 2013, the Shelby boys have been captivating the British public – and how we love them. Cillian Murphy's portrayal of a slickly-dressed gang lord continues to influence both the high street and designer fashion and of course the ‘Peaky Blinders effect’ can be seen in male grooming. This month Jonathan takes a look at why everyone is asking for a Peaky at the hair salon.

Feeling a little peaky?

Every single period in history has been fabulous in its own right. Glamour has always been there, it’s just more obvious at certain times than others. Part of being human is wanting to look the best we can, given the tools at our disposal. Whether it’s during a war, whether you’re working class or a gangster, trends will always be made and style will always be found.
Peaky Blinders takes us from the end of the First World War, elegantly swerving past the influenza pandemic which killed more people than the war did. The show captures the dawn of a new age and among the fist-fighting, crime-committing, and general outrageous laddish behaviour, one thing's for certain - the Shelby boys sure know how to get suited and booted.
One of the most distinctive looks of Peaky Blinders is the hair. It’s being worn by hipsters and celebrities alike - and on both boys and girls. Hair stylists around the world have given the Peaky do a contemporary twist, making it one of the most popular hairstyles to hit our streets in years.

Making history

Based on First World War haircuts, which had very shaved sides and backs since the hair covered by the helmet didn’t matter. It was an extreme look and was largely associated with working-class men. This style was ideal for men who couldn't afford a barber skilled enough to blend their haircuts skilfully.
During the early 19th century there wasn’t the vast array of products which we have access to nowadays, so to get the slick look, a product called Brilliantine was used. It was oil based, giving off a slimy residue to anything it touched. The men who were really short of a bob or two would use cheaper petroleum jelly instead of the luxurious brilliantine. It did the job, although it was a mess to clean up.

During this period women would knit lace doilies to cover the backs of high backed chairs and couches and protect the furniture from men’s greasy heads. I remember my Nan used to crochet her antimacassars to protect her precious three-piece suite from the Co-Op.

Pulling off a Tommy

If you are going to attempt to pull off one of the Shelby dos please bear in mind that, if not styled properly, you are going to look like you are two paces away from a workhouse or auditioning for a part in Fagin’s gang. Let’s just say this look isn’t going to work with a tracky and Rebook classics.

Thomas Shelby - The texturised crop

The texturised crop is short on the back and sides of the head with a slightly longer length on top. Obviously, we aren’t all born with Tommy’s cheekbones, but to carry off this style a defined face is needed - or even an oval face will do at a pinch.

Styling: start with your hair washed and free from product, pump around five to six times using a Redken Fashion Waves sea salt spray into your hair, then start to dry your hair using your fingers in random circular motions to help create that messy look. Once the hair is dry, give it a once over with the cold setting on your hairdryer. Dust some Redken Powder Grip into the roots of your hair. Have a play around with your hair until you’re happy, then spray Redken Triple Take 32 hairspray in to create that final texture.

Suited ‘n’ booted

From tweed baker boy caps, tailored three-piece suits and smart buttoned-up shirts everyone from David Beckham to Idris Elba seems to be dipping into the Shelby style.
One of my long-standing friends recognised the influence that Peaky was going to have after watching the first series and began to stock up on these key items.

H&L Fashions is an independent fashion shop in Haworth, West Yorkshire in the UK. Selling a wide range of men’s tweed suits and ladies’ fashions they have seen the influence that Peaky Blinders has had on fashion first hand. The shop has been selling tweed style suits for several years, its Bronte Country location lending itself ideally to this look. But Peaky Blinders has meant a real uptake of interest in men’s suits and overcoats, from providing suits for PB themed weddings to supplying bar staff uniforms with the full Peaky look, the girls at H&L have seen it all. It seems that at last men's fashion has a definite look that is proving universal and not age specific! Customers are coming in thinking of a simple jacket/waistcoat combination and ending up wanting the full look, complete with accessories, so H&L Fashions now offers a Peaky Package - suit, hat, tie/dickie bow, braces, armbands and pocket watch.

By order of the Peaky Blinders!

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