Skull Society

The Chingaso Gear skull.
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

After a spin through the local boutiques last weekend, Cat found a constant theme: skulls adorning everything. Skull boots, skull belt buckles, skull hoodies, skull camis, skull skirts, skulls, skulls, skulls. Welcome to the Day of the Dead, Denver – if only a few years late.

Last July the New York Times Style section featured an article about luxe designers using skulls on everything from a watch with a pave diamond face to cashmere sweaters. The consensus? Blame Hot Topic and Johnny Depp vis a vis Captain Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (coming to a theater near you on May 25. Woohoo! Cat can’t wait) for the proliferation and de-rocking of the icon.

Of course, the Style section isn’t exactly known for having the pulse of the underground, and tons of non-luxe and non-mass market (read: K-Mart, Target, Macy’s, Hot Topic) designers were using the centuries-old power of that icon to sell clothes -- for years. Especially for a girl, nothing used to say “I’m bad ass, don’t fuck with me, cuz really, I’m Rose McGowan in Grindhouse muthafucka” like a pair of motorcycle boots and a skull jean jacket. Or for the more, uh, restrained, “I’m bad ass, don’t fuck with me, cuz really, I’m Pam Grier in Jackie Brown muthafucka” like a sweet dress with a tiny skull and crossbones print or tiny skull peeking out from somewhere unexpected.

Equillibrium's cat skull.

Cat’s two favorite skulls of all time come from two of our Denver designers, who have been rocking these looks for the past five years. The first is the cat skull from


. Need I say more? If I do, the best part is that owner Deb Henriksen has innovated in the past few years and is now screen printing her looks on organic bamboo. Cat. Will. Never. Go. Back. These T-shirts have a heft and drape that just cannot be matched. Plus, they’re good for the environment.

The other is the Chingaso Gear cholo skull. Cat has worn her long-sleeved tee so often that she has a gaping hole in the left elbow (okay, really, every shirt she owns has one; can anyone explain? It’s not like that’s her mouse elbow…Hmm). And living in Cole, Cat gets instant street cred for wearing any of her Chingaso Gear. (Defined for polite society, “chingaso” means punches, insults, etc. ) Plus, the owners of Chingaso, Craig Pena and Jay Salas, are two of Cat's favorite boys in town. Super smart, super sexy, super fun -- and that's just their wives!

You really know skulls have hit the mainstream when they're all over Cry Baby Ranch. Here are a few of Cat's favorites:

The belt buckle is by Boulder-based artist Nancy Anderson, whose line is called Sweetbird Studio. The website isn't completed yet, but here's a link to some of her work. This particular buckle, which Cat can't stop thinking about, is $510.
These are handmade from the Liberty Boot Co. in, oddly, Toronto. But who cares where they're based when they look this good? These come in at $795 a pair, but Cry Baby Ranch has others in the line that are upwards of $1,500.
This is a matching hoodie and skirt. Cat likes the ruching on the sleeves of the jacket and the sweet lining on the hood. Sorry, Cat didn't get the price on the pair.
Here's a close-up on the hood.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.