May 142010

OK – I’ve been loosely researching this for about month. You know what I’m talking about . . . those darn fake mustaches. I’ve worn one. You’ve worn one. But how did this underground phenomenon bust into OUR underground phenomenon? Where and when the heck did this craze start?

I’ve asked around and have come up pretty empty handed as far as concrete facts, so I’ve decided to report on my own personal experience with the stache.

About two years ago my league had a transfer from Sac City – Hell Louis. Weezy, as we quickly dubbed her, had this great Myspace / Facebook profile picture of her with a fake mustache on post game. After some crafty clicking I saw pics of her whole team wearing the mustaches in acknowledgment of a ref or a coach with a big mustache or something. What a brilliant look, I thought.

Soon after I was at an after party for a SCDG game and in walked our team captain Lulu Lockjaw sporting a stache. Hmmmm I thought to myself that looks cool, but Lulu is one of those girls that makes every thing look cool.

Over the last year or so I’ve seen the stache become a staple of derby culture and have even more recently seen it make the crossover into real life. You can buy just about anything with a stache on it. From mugs and socks to necklaces’ the stache has overtaken the mullet in greatest retro comeback of something that was horrible the first time around.

So it’s cool, we all get that. Maybe it’s the 1970s porn-esce vibe it gives off – But why derby? I can think of a few gender-specific reasons why the fake mustache has become a staple of derby culture – please keep in mind I totally made these up:

  1. We play derby, which is already sorta bending and blending the gender lines. We are sexy bitches knocking the snot out of each other. We are muther-trucking tough girls in mascara. So maybe the stache is a statement of our obvious toughness. Like, yeah we’re chicks, but we’re so tough and here is my stache to prove it.
  2. Ummm .  . . this one is awkward to say, but maybe it’s a celebration of our . . . um . . .neither-region stache. *Insert giggle here* not an impossible comparison.

A few weeks ago I saw a Central Coast Roller Derby jammer sport a pink mustache during a game against Silicon Valley – Hello! Staches on the track!! Yes a pink fake mustache – these are called Mustaches for Girls and come in a variety of mustache styles from the Grandma to the Frida.

During my research I happened to be watching Blood on the Flat Track and I saw a brief clip of girls sporting staches – so at least we have some empirical evidence it has been a growing trend for at least five years.

Related to the fake mustache is the finger stache tattoo – this too could be considered part of the phenomenon. Although tattoo enthusiasts have been getting them along with the tear drop on the inside of their fingers for years. I have noticed MORE derby girls getting them with the growing popularity of the fake stache – but as we all know there are quite a few of us derby girls who are tattoo enthusiasts, so it’s not really a stretch that some of us would make it a permanent punch line. I’ve taken to carrying a sharpie in my purse and drawing on a fake one when the mood suits me.

So that is my official – unofficial report on the fake mustache. I have no idea when or why it started, but it did . . . and I enjoy it.

How’s that for hard-hitting journalism? ;)

If you have a great picture of  you getting your derby-stache on please email me at:

If you have any information behind this great mustache mystery please email me STAT!

Photos: Raven Von Kaos (me), Chrome Molly, Leigh Stovall (derby girl in training), Susan Elizabeth Marshall, Creme Bruisee

Apr 152010

I can’t remember the first time I saw them in action, but there is something SO RIGHT about leg warmers and derby. One of the coolest things about this sport is the room for individuality amongst organization – you see a lot of players who have their signature flair, be it face paint or accessories, the leg warmer is FOR SURE on that list.Photo By Adrian Valenzuela

According to Wikipedia, leg warmers were first worn by dancers to keep their muscles from cramping after stretching. It wasn’t until the early ‘80s that the leg warmer became a full-fledged trend . . . that quickly faded out with the likes of stone washed denim and wedged haircuts.

Enter roller derby in the 2000s and the rebirth of many throwback fashion trends, including leg warmers. I’m not sure if there is a legitimate connection, but from my seat it seems like I see certain fashion trends start on the track and move into real non-derby life. Leg warmers, once hard to find outside of dance shops, are more accessible and available in way more options. Shops like American Apparel (aka derby central) have helped to re-birth the leg warmer back into accessible existence.

What Girls Are Wearing

Derby leg warmers take many forms. From the traditional cable knit solid color leg warmer, to the fuzzy and colorful Sasquatch-style warmer – and everything in between.

Photo by PitchitI chatted with B Train from Wicked Skatewear about the leg warmer phenomenon to see if there were any solid trends that she could share. She said that she probably gets more orders for black warmers because more often then not black matches everything, including uniforms.

Wicked Skatewear is also the maker of the famed Sasquatch warmer that occasionally makes an appearance on the track. B Train does not just make and sell them, she sports them too. I have yet to try out these fuzzy delights, but I foresee it in my future. You can check them out here.

For the last couple of years I have stuck with the classic dancer-style leg warmer but have recently upgraded to a longer warmer with snaps at the foot, which are great for pulling it over the top of my skate boot. What I like about these is I can wear really basic / ugly running socks underneath, which feel great on the feet but are ugly on the eyes. What I dislike about these is that you are making your commitment to the warmer and not the sock . . . I heart cute socks, so I usually go back and forth in the decision making process. Silly yes . . . but I swear I skate better when I’m content with my ensemble. I know I’m not alone in this theory ;)

So for now it looks like the leg warmer is here to stay as track fashion – I’m not sure if I would ever sport warmers to a non-derby event or in a non-derby manner, but I do love to see them rolling!

Photo by Raven Von Kaos
Photo Credits: Adrian Valenzula, PitchIt, Raven Von Kaos