Outlaw / Style & Fashion

Teddy Girls

I’ve always been interested in subcultures as an observer, but this is the first one I’ve encountered that I figure I totally fit.  The women of my family a few generations ago both in Britain and in Hamilton could have fit into one of these pictures.  I would wear these clothes any which way … in the original accurate style, the 70s revival or a modern updated version. The mix of masculine (but with the effeminate Edwardian dandy influence) and feminine (but in a very Tomboyish style) turns the idea of dressing for gender on its head which I just love.

The teddy girls left school at 14 or 15, worked in factories or offices, and spent their free time buying or making their trademark clothes – pencil skirts, rolled-up jeans, flat shoes, tailored jackets with velvet collars, coolie hats and long, elegant clutch bags. It was head-turning, fastidious dressing, taken from the fashion houses of the time, which had launched haute-couture clothing lines recalling the Edwardian era. Soon the fashion had leapt across the class barrier, and young working-class men and women in London picked up the trend. — Susannah Price When the girls came out to play: Teddy girls were the first British female youth tribe
Some girls wore trousers, some had skirts and others would wear quite ordinary clothes, but with Teddy accessories. Teddy fashions were inspired by the Edwardian period during the early years of the 20th century, so loosefitting, velvet-collared jackets and narrow trousers, with 1950s variations, were hip. Blouses were often high-necked and elaborately embroidered, with turn-down collars garnished with cameo brooches. Mannish waistcoats were favoured, as were lace-up sandals and coolie hats. There were striped boater hats and a general preference for b&w as the basic colours and every Teddy Girl needed a thin, long-handled umbrella and a long, flat handbag. — Bob Aylott The Director’s Cut: Ken Russell


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