How to dress like a jerk
Kids can be found jerkin' in streets, classrooms, grocery stores and even on top of ice cream trucks, so it's no surprise that jerkin' fashion stands out. Jerkin' style is about invention: cutting off skinny jeans to create "half-calves," wearing colorful shoelaces as belts or screen printing your crew's name on T- shirts. You can put together pieces — skinny jeans, Vans, a colorful T — to replicate the look, or check out the offerings at Hot Topic or Zazzle.com. But it also doesn't hurt to rep where you came from. Several local entrepreneurs are designing and selling jerk-wear, and you can see the goods on their websites.
This shoe company based in downtown Los Angeles was one of the first to sponsor YouTube celebrity jerkin' crews like the Ranger$. Owner Jill Kim, inspired by her own jerk-obsessed teenagers, designed a shoe specifically for the dance movement. The vibrant colored "Spectro" series (priced at $40 to $60) features leather lining, insole support for the complicated legwork and a thick outsole for the signature jerkin' move the "tippy toe" — in which the dancer rises on his toes in a ballet-like movement. "It goes well with their skinny jeans," Kim says.
Founded by Tony Young and his son T.J., Jerkaholics clothing company was created on a balmy night in Inglewood after Young discovered his son editing YouTube videos of his bouncy moves. The junior Young said he was looking for clothing companies to sponsor him, and Dad suggested they make their own tees. Jerkaholics was born. For $10 to $25, the company features T-shirts and camisoles as colorful as Skittles with logos such as the classic "Jerkaholics"; "I Jerk LA," featuring an image of Michael Jackson's feet clad in shiny shoes rising on point; and "I Party on Neptune."
The folks at Phlesh Klothing will tell you the next hot trend, whether you're a jerk or not, is the "phoxtail." The fluffy raccoon-like tail — in red or hot pink — is attached to a belt loop or purse, appearing as if you've suddenly grown a furry appendage. Unlike other homegrown jerkin' brands, Phlesh Klothing's line (priced at $20 to $35) features a darker palette with plenty of purple, red and black.
The urban company says the word "jerk" in Prep Jerks stands for "Street Intelligence" and the word "Prep" represents "school-taught knowledge" — both essential to success. Prep Jerks was founded in 2005, and although it does not affiliate itself with the jerkin' movement per se, it shares a positive vibe and fly street style. The clothing line (priced $15 to $40) includes T-shirts and sweat shirts inspired by the 1980s and 1990s — making the wearer look as if he or she just stepped out of an N.W.A. concert. There are also stylized accessories like Prep Jerk's limited-edition Pop Art-inspired lapel pins.