Fashion from the Inside

Written by Shawn T. Nichols,
Waupun Correctional Institution, currently incarcerated after a jury trial where he was convicted of sexual assault.

With over 714 prisoners per 100,000 people, the U.S. continues as it has since the Year 2000, to have the world’s highest incarceration rate in the world. Of the over one million prisoners worldwide, the U.S. has over two million, or 22%, of the total. Chances are you know a prisoner or maybe you’ll become a prisoner. If so, you’ll want to know the do’s and don’ts of inmate fashion this season out on the rec field or in the chow hall.

There have been many changes in trendy inmate fashion this year. The first and most obvious being the “layered gangster” look. To do this you need to wear lots of clothes. First, wear your pants so the waist band is below your ass. Then have a pair of grey gym shorts under that and have the waist band just above the pants. Then under the gym shorts you wear a pair of white boxers so the waist band of that is exposed just above the grey gym shorts. Then under that you wear a pair of the state issued green tighty-whiteys so the waist band is just above the boxers. The over-all look can be spotted from across the rec field so your fellow inmates will know “you’re down.”

It seems that a fashion don’t this year is the homemade wife beater. This was actually all the rage last year. You take a regular t-shirt and and cut it to resemble a wife beater. If you sport this particular garment on the rec field this year you’ll get laughed at harder than if you were at your parole hearing. But what should I do with last year’s homemade wife beater you ask? Well that’s simple. You cut it up even more and wear it as a du-rag, ah yes, the ever popular do-rag. The fashion staple of the the trendy inmate that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Another popular accessory this this season is the hair net. It’s not just for your grandmother or fast food worker anymore. This year inmates in every cell hall are wearing the hair net. Always tie it in the back to create the ponytail effect. I have been trying to implement the beard net into trendiness but so far have been unsuccessful. It seems my fashion icon status is largely ignored by the other inmates.

Another curious comeback is that of the state issued work boot. The once-shunned state issued work boot is now worn with pride among the more popular inmates. But don’t tie the laces, they must be worn untied. It gives it that chic laziness combined with that Devil may care attitude that has all the female guards and the more effeminate inmates swooning.

So, all in all, this year’s inmate fashion season promises to be exciting. See you on the rec field, or possibly the hole.

Inmate Nichols has been a fashion icon since 1987. He enjoys hard drugs, crochet and would like your feedback.

Illustrations by fellow inmate, Kleiner, whom we hear has a panaché for beating up cops.


Name: Shaun T. Nichols
Age: 35
Where Are You From: Wisconsin
Where Do You Live: Waupun Correctional Facility
What Do you Do: Time
What Are your Interests: Hard drugs, Crocheting and good Rock-N-Roll
Where Did You Buy What You Are Wearing: State Issued
What Do Yo Hate: the Screws


Name: Dylan
Age: 33
Where Are You From: Pennsylvania
Where Do You Live: Bellefonte, PA
What Do you Do: Time
What Are your Interests: Real Coffee, Playing my Telecaster, Music
Where Did You Buy What You Are Wearing: State Issued
What Do Yo Hate: Authority












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