Last Updated on October 11, 2022 by Hamna Nouman
Beatnik fashion is a clothing style that first emerged as an offshoot of the post-war Beat generation. Although its popularity has since declined, it can still be seen today on “hipsters” and other small subcultures of modern society. This article will explore the unique characteristics of beatnik fashion and some tips for beginners looking to start their beatnik wardrobe.
What is “Beatnik Fashion”?
Before we begin, it is essential to understand what precisely a “beatnik” is. The term was initially coined as a pejorative by none other than jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. He used the time to refer to the new and somewhat eccentric folk culture that had begun popping up around York City. The folkies in question wore tattered clothes, listened to jazz music, smoked cigarettes, and told their friends that they were “beat.” It is unknown why Gillespie gave this name to the folkies, but it has been speculated that he thought they looked like “bums” (a slang term for the homeless).
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Beat generation philosophy
As beatnik fashion emerged as a subculture of American society, it also became associated with many other aspects of the beat generation philosophy. Although the beats themselves were very diverse in opinion and lifestyle, there were some commonalities between them, such as an anti-capitalist mentality and a general feeling of discontentment towards modern society. Beatniks took these ideas and turned them into art which was then expressed through their unique style. This means that most beatniks, even those who were not writers or painters, had some artistic ability.
Reason of widespread of “Beatniks” in 60s
The fashion of beatniks was unlike any other subculture because it did not have a rebellious element. When most people think about mohawk hairdos and leather jackets, they think of anarchy, but this was simply not the case with Beatniks. They embraced their fashion as an act of self-expression more than anything else. This is one of the main reasons why beatnik fashion became so widespread across high school and college campuses in the 60s; no one wanted to confirm, so everyone tried to look different than everyone else.
The Beat generation was an American youth movement of the early 20th century, around the 1950s. They were also called the Beatniks. They rose to prominence as part of the counterculture of the 1960s (1960–66). The name “beatnik” came from African-American slang and meant roughly “new, a young person interested in arts and literature” (see origin).
The name beatnik became famous in 1957 when Herb Caen used it for some San Francisco newspaper column items about a troupe of army wives who entertained at bachelor parties…the term caught on because it defined a new type of bohemian lifestyle…at first, these people were called “beatniks,” then this was shortened to “beats.” Finally, it was further shortened to “beat,” which became the name of the new bohemian style.
The Beat Generation is known for advocating radical lifestyles. The people in this group did not use it; instead, they tended to call themselves freethinkers, seekers, or wanderers.
They did not seek distraction in drugs as some hippies did later on, but we’re more concerned with expanding their minds and finding new ways of looking at things. They had particular interests in Eastern religions and Amerindian cultures…they believed that artists must be close to these things because Amerindians have unique insight into the mind’s eye through hallucinogenic drugs…
Getting the beatnik look
Now, we are going to take insight of the beatnik look. This fashion style is often dressed up as a time of music, poetry, and art, but it was also associated with rebellion against authority and the establishment. Even today, you can see this in modern Hipsters who like to rebel against mainstream society.
The Beatniks were mainly poets, writers, and artists who favored casual clothing over suits and ties, turtleneck sweaters; roll neck tops; levies jeans (slim fit preferable), Skinny jeans, and leather boots now-iconic items in anyone’s wardrobe even now. To capture this look for yourself follow our simple guide below:
1) The Turtleneck sweater or Roll neck top:
These woolen knits became the beatnik style’s staple and were often worn pulled over another shirt. The key to getting this right is to make sure it’s nice and tight against your neck, so it keeps in the warmth when you want to stay warm and allows you to unzip it or remove it when you want to stay cool.
2) A pair of Skinny Jeans:
These are a must-have for any beatnik look; they can be dressed up or down depending on how smart you want them to look. Make sure whatever jeans you pick are slim fit with small pockets at the front; otherwise, they will not suit this style correctly.
3) Leather boots:
Boots are always seen as a more everyday item but paired with skinny jeans or even a suit, they can give a new look to another classic piece. You want boots with a small heel and are more intelligent but not too formal as you will ruin the tone of this article.
4) A leather or wool overcoat:
In colder months, nothing beats a simple coat for keeping warm throughout the day; make sure it’s long enough to cover your whole body from rain/snow and light adequately, so it doesn’t become too cumbersome in warmer temperatures.
Simple accessories such as scarves, hats, and watches can pull an outfit together without going overboard with color or patterns. Remember, less is more when trying to create a beatnik look. You don’t need anything big or showy to make the look work.
- What is the philosophy behind beatnik fashion style?
This fashion style is often dressed up as a time of music, poetry, and art, but it was also associated with rebellion against authority and the establishment. Even today, you can see this in modern Hipsters who like to rebel against mainstream society.
- Who the beatniks mainly are?
The Beats themselves mainly were poets, writers, and artists who favored casual clothing over suits and ties. Like turtleneck sweaters; roll neck tops; levies jeans (slim fit preferable); – Skinny jeans, and leather boots iconic items in anyone’s wardrobe even now.