‘Fashion is for those without style’. Quentin Crisp. Famous Nancy, and cod-awful dresser.
Nothing is more certain than people constantly asking us 'How do you become Hep?' Well that hippy Neil Young once said 'as soon as you mention the word "Mystique" you have none'. Nothing could be closer to the truth, as much the same goes for 'Hep. 'Hep' is effortless, 'Hep' is reductionist, 'Hep' is something you are, not something you wear. Having said-that if you are Hep on the outside, the inside is sure to follow. OK Ready? Off we go...

The King of Rock'n'roll displays a fine pair of triggers during his peak. Only an idiot could think of out-Heping the King.

Step 1. Grow some burns.

If you have decided to become Hep, the first thing you ought to consider is getting yourself some side burns.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, says, "Christ on a bike that cat is Hep" like a decent set of hammers on your chops. Side burns do come at a cost though; they require regular grooming, your in-laws and work-mates fail to understand you; and you probably ought to be male. If you are one of those poor people who cannot grow sideburns, never mind, and keep reading on, as there are other ways to be Hep...


The King of Sideburns
was of course, Ambrose
Burnside, (1824-1881)
whose sideburns not only
heralded the birth of Hep,
but, gave his own name
to the cause.

The King of 'Do's'in the fifties was was of course, Johnny Cash (1932-2003)
Johnny Didn't actually know what not being hep actually was. Didn't need to.

Step 2. Buy a God-dammned comb and a razor.

Now we're entering the stratosphere of Hep.
Now I don't want you to think that 'Hep' is in anyway 'Dandy' in which seemingly heterosexual men seem obsessed with their grooming, but let's face it, there have been some pretty wacky hair styles over the last fifty years, from Mohawks and ‘Prince Valliants’ to mango-pips, but nothing has yet surpassed the simplicity and style of the 'quiff'.

A 'quiff' can take a bit of time to get the hang of, but well worth the effort. All you need is some Bryl creem, a comb and a half-decent mirror.
Skinny Tim had a quiff-to-die-for' ever since he was in kindergarten. A quiff also has its drawbacks though; they can take up to ten minutes to get ready; they hate rain, and you must have hair. After you have had your quiff for about a year though, your hair becomes naturally trained and you even wake up with one in the morning, which is a neat trick.

And buy a Razor:

Stubble went out with George Michael, Don Johnston in the eighties, and out again with Russel Crowe quite recently.
In the 50s and 60s everyone was clean-shaven, even winos and the homeless found time to don a suit and scrape their face. (Most still do by the way!) And for Christ's sake; No Beards; no goatees and no moustaches, side burns are the only acceptable facial hair in the world of hep.

The best product to use in your hair is by far brylcreem and if you don't believe us, just check out this fantastic ad from the 50s. if you just click on the "Dear Sir" button to your left and you should be fine, and get ready for that promotion sir!

A zillion/10

Need we say more.

A Bettie Page tattoo is probably not a bad place to start.

Step 3. Get a Tattoo

Now we're REALLY into the realm of true Hep.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, says "OK, you are a hell of a lot Hepper than me in my cargo pants and Hyundai, have my girlfriend" than a good tattoo.

But if you are going to get tattooed, get it done properly, i.e. don't get a piece of Chinese script, one inch square, tattooed to your arm, go the whole hog and get the following done: Bettie Page, Elvis, A pin-up girl, a flaming heart and your car. Just don't tell your mum.

A gazillion/10

Yeah, this is what we're talkin' about, if you're going to get a tatt, get a good one.

Step 4. Smoke

This is a tricky one. There are a lot of people who are against this kind of behaviour, but hear us out.

The main thing to realise is that no one died of smoking before about 1970, so if you want to be a part of fifties Hep, go for it.

Smoking in the fifties was the norm, James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor all smoked in the movie Giant, and they all came to sticky ends from NON-smoking related activities, i.e. Car crash, AIDS and becoming friends with Michael Jackson respectively.

Anyway, some people reckon smoking is not Hep at all, but what would they know, ask someone with a tatt, quiff, and sideburns for their advice, they'll set you straight. Besides there is nothing Hepper than non caring if you live or die, except maybe The Dukes of Hazzard on DVD.


Take a lesson from this fella, he didn't even know the risks of smoking.

In the fifties smoking made you taller, more handsome/beautiful and cigarettes were chockers with Vitamin C, D and E.


There has only ever been two hep people to ever wear athletic gear, Evlis in Change of Habit, and John Travolta in Grease, and you are neither of them, so don't even try wearing sporting wear.

[Note Chuck Taylor shoes, and Levis Jeans and side burns]

Step 6. Stop being lazy, and get a bit of dignity...

If you have decided to become hep, you will have to get rid of the following things from your wardrobe, take it down to Vinnies, so some poor bastard can don it, while you are out getting some new glad-wrags for yourself.

1. Any kind of Sporting apparel

Including shoes. Sporting wear, has never ever, been hep, and rest-assured, never will. This includes Surf-wear too, like Mambo, Rip Curl and all the other shit you pay a fortune for.

Let's face it Nike's total market consists of

9 athletes
120 million obese people
200 million heroin addicts
600 million people who are just too fricken lazy to do up a belt.

There is only one exception to this and that is Converse All-star, Chuck-Taylor basketball shoes, which were designed in 1917, so purely by longevity, are pretty hep.

You can wear sporting apparel if you comply with the following two criteria:

1. You are an athlete.
2. You are, at this very minute, training or competing.

2. Polar Fleece.

Whilst noble in intent (as they are made of recycled milk bottles, the most stupid of inventions anyway, as there was not much wrong with glass ones), polar fleece has turned a nation of finely dressed individuals in to slobs. I was in Ulladulla the other day, hoping to stumble across a few cool threads and all there was polar fleece vests and Jackets in every shop in town. Sad.

You can wear polar fleece if you comply with the following two criteria:

1. You are, at this very minute, in a SUB-ZERO environment, freezing your arse-off, and you look like you might die if you don't pop something warmer on.

3. Polo shirts

Why anyone would elect to wear a polo shirt is beyond us, but still people do (why anyone would play POLO is the obvious question I suppose). Only golfers and 'yachtsmen' wear polo shirts (the latter always turn the collars up to look even more stupid than actually required.

Once again there is an entire generation of men out there who look like complete trough lollies simply by being too lazy to do up a few buttons here and there.

minus a zillion/10

Step 6: Men, For during the week, buy a suit. And (maybe) a hat.

There really is only one thing to wear during the working week, and that is a good-old fashioned single-breasted suit.

Why make life difficult for God’s sake, as if it hasn’t been made hard enough with the likes of Blackberries (they’re some sort of phone); frequent flyers points; shop-a-dockets; tele-marketing and Microsoft products.

There is an old Aboriginal saying ‘The more you know, the less you need”. And buying three well-made suits, some shirts and a couple of simple ties will take the stress out of your life entirely. And for fuck’s sake, don’t buy those fucking stupid ties with Bart Simpson of Bugs Bunny on them. Also as an accoutrement a neat tie-pin and a set of nudie-girl cufflinks can also work a treat. Bur remember Hep: Yes, Dandy:No.

If you look at a photograph of the cricket during the 40s, the entire hill was packed with well-dressed working class people, who at least, although in rough financial times had the dignity and energy to don a decent pair of trousers and tie. In summer.
My Father back-packed around Europe in a jacket and tie in the 1960s! Now you’d be flat-out trying to find a backpacker with a pair of shoes on.


Buying a straw or felt akubra hat (the urban ones, not the wide-brimmed country ones (the last person who looked good in one of them was Barrie Mackenzie, and that was a while back now)) -- is not a bad idea either, but you have to be able to carry off this pretty convincingly. For example you might want to lose the tie for start, and go for the open-collar look) There are a lot of fuckwits walking around in fedoras waistcoats and ponytails, so you don’t want to get lumped in with those clowns. Think Tom Waits without the grunge-thing.

Women: For during the week.

You might want to wear something like this (especially if you want guys to fall all over you.) The things you might want to look-out for would be: Gingham, twin-sets, pill-box hats, Hawiian-print dresses (cotton dresses in general), all capped off with a set of white gloves.

A bit bonus with all this gear is the availability, there are some rockin’ shops in your inner-city areas, Like Route 66 and the like, who stock this stuff, but even better, you can get your white gloves on the original gear dead-easy. The thing in your favour is that (a) These dresses were pretty well-made in the first place, and that (b) Most girls take their fashion advice off Australian Idol, and therefore wouldn’t know ‘Style’ if it knocked their booty-licious arses off. Simply check out any St. Vincent De Paul shop or Op-Shop and you’re bound to walk out in something pretty Hep, no worries.

Don’t forget, think-1957 now, and it is far more sexy to ‘conceal than to reveal,’ besides there is always the weekends where you can vamp-it up a bit…Areeebaaaa.

About a mega- gazillion/10


This is as 'Hep' as anyone illegally downloaded from Google could ever aspire to be.

Step 7. Talk it up.

What this all boils down to is this, talk it up, no-one cares how Hep you are, if you aint hep to terms and phrases.

Start of by using hep expressions like "saddle-up", "low-down" call everyone "cowboy", or "cowgirl", call tall people "stretch" and call fat people "slim"; "Mate" is a dumb Australian word used by John Howard and Ray Martin, use "buddy" (actually Nick Cave once called me "Mate" so I might have to re-think that). You get the point.

To Act "hep" try out the following:

1. Whenever you go to a pub, order a "fifty-fifty" this is half Tooheys old, and half Tooheys new. Only Hep people drink these. And old ladies (see our whatever happened to...? page).

2. Never, ever, finish a discussion unless you have mentioned one of the following topics "Faron Young" "Hank Williams (one, or three, according to Skinny Tim, two was a tosser)" "Johnny Horton" "Wanda Jackson", "Live at San Quentin", or "They're a weird Mob". Google all of these.

3. Get a home brew kit, and drink beer whilst washing your "new" car or dog.

It's about time you realised that 'hep' does not have its limits. Like stupidity.


Step 8. Travel in style.

Only the un-Hep travel without applying the simple ethos of The Legend Feel Co. Style is everything.

If you have to travel, for God's sake do it in style. If your car is made after 1974, sell it, and buy a Hep one. We have an entire page dedicated to this topic, so click here to choose a 'new' car.
Never, ever, catch a bus. This is so un-Hep is barely needs mentioning.

Never, ever, go anywhere by cruise ship, this once was the realm of the Hep, but times have changed, and only complete fuckwits and gang-rapists travel on cruise ships these days (UNLESS they're over seventy, in which case they can be pretty funny), just watch the Love Boat if you need any confirmation.

Only catch a plane if you absolutely have to. "The Jet-Age" was one of the Heppest periods of time ever, but then like anything else, the seventies came along a de-Hepped it. There is very-little Hep about plane travel at all, except you can drink alcohol on board. The same can of course be said for cruise ships, so let's factor that out.

Catch a train. God this is Hep. Train travel is the only Hep method of transport left on the planet, and it is sooooo Hep. Trains are fantastic, they are slow, relaxed, you can chill out and watch the world goes by, listen to some smooth tunes, and talk to all the oldies about Sir Robert Menzies. Also all the people on board are a damn site Hepper than those on planes and Ships, as we've established.

You can also behave like Cary Grant and Eva Marie-Saint in North by Northwest, and get up to all kinds of "tunnel and train" shenanigans of your own.

Hep?! You'll be ridin' the train to 'hep' all the way daddy-o!

Coming soon: What you CAN keep in your wardrobe.