Teddy Girls

As I've stated numerous times, I don't consider myself a "girly-girl," due to my general dislike of pink and bows and not minding if my skirts get dirt on them. Still, I also know that I am not a tomboy--I rarely wear jeans, dislike camping, etc. With my very short hair I don't feel super feminine and avoid boyish styles more than I did when I had long hair. All of that said, I wish to experiment more with style and Teddy Girls are one of my major inspirations this fall. Teddy Girls are a subset of the Teddy Boy movement that emerged in London in the 1950s. It began with young men dressing like the dandies of the Edwardian period--a deliberate fashion statement against post-wear austereism. Most were young working-class men and women; individuals that left school as teens to work in factories or offices and spending their free time buying or making clothes. Teddy Girls adapted the look in their own style and often borrowed from the boys in long tailored blazers, rolled jeans, and boater hats. Sadly there's little documentation and history on the Teddy Girls; even in the photo essay by Ken Russell published in June 1955 Russell stated, "The girls photographed embody three of the great issues of the time; class, gender and youth. They are rejecting the drab costumes of class conformity and post-war austerity. They are pioneers for women looking beyond home for a place to be valued. They are young girls blazing a trail that will be followed by youth cultures for decades to come. But somehow Teddy Girls as a group remain historically almost invisible."

*photographs by Ken Russell and Roger Mayne, 1955-1957


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