FASHION OBSESSION: 1950s Teddy Girls (and Boys)







I am not-so-subtly obsessed with the Edwardian-influenced, tough chic of the Teddy girls. They all look like would kick your ass and then reapply their lipstick. Cute, edgy, badass.

The youth culture of 1950’s London was where the ‘Teddy Boy’ was born. Known for their signature drainpipe trousers and Edwardian jackets, this subculture was considered the first “juvenile delinquents” and while they were a very small movement in terms, their influence carried over into other youth cultures and rebellions well beyond their own time frame and geographic location.

Of course the Teddy Boy movement wasn’t confined to just the fellas. Girls itching to break out of the “humble housewife” confines of the pre-sexual revolution feminine ideal embraced the freedom and rebelliousness of the look and lifestyle in their own, slightly more girlish, way- with a lotta attitude, yet at the same time so much joy.

Teddy girls embodied three of the great issues of the time; class, gender and youth. They rejected the drab costumes of class conformity and post-war austerity. They were pioneers for women looking beyond home for a place to be valued. They were young girls blazing a trail that was to be followed by youth cultures for decades to come.

Trademarks? Pegged pants, oversized jackets, creepers or winklepickers, rocker attitudes and bouffant hairstyles, Teddy Girls (and the Teddy movement in general) were the British equivalent of the American Greaser subculture of the same era.  Androgynous, cheeky, preppy, rocker, casual but put together: love it.

Teenage rebelliousness was just starting to come to a head. The sexual revolution wouldn’t break until the 60’s, but you could feel an undercurrent of the youth movement making it’s way towards the surface. Kids were adamantly pushing against the status quo, embracing a look and attitude that was highly influenced by the new sounds of rock music and American counterculture – from their icons (Marlon Brando, James Dean) to their hairstyles (pompadours, duck’s tails) to their music and fashion (Bill Haley, Johnny Ray, creepers).

Long live the Teddy Girls!



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