Teddy Boy Highlights
The Look: Long ‘drape’ jackets (sometimes with velvet trim), tight, ‘drainpipe’ trousers, high-necked white shirt, bow or string-tie, brogues or crape-soled ‘brothel creeper’ shoes, long hair greased into quiff at front and (sometimes) flipped-up, ‘duck’s ass’ at back.
The Time: Early ‘50s+
The Place: Working-class London (especially but not only south of the river).
Influenced: Stylistically something of a dead end but in spirit important influence for all subsequent working-class British subcultures.
Unlike their fathers and grandfathers before them, a new generation of British working-class young men born during the war responded to the provocation of the Aristos by saving up their pay in order to go to their own neighbourhood tailor shops to have made their own, often further exaggerated version, of this ‘Edwardian’ style. This happened primarily south of the Thames in poor, often bleak, working-class parts of London like (exotic in name only) Elephant & Castle. Emerging in droves, proudly showing off their fancy clothes, these young working-class males caught the attention of the press who dubbed them ‘New Edwardians’ or ‘Teddy Boys’ (Ted or Teddy being the informal version of Edward in Britain).