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A 'Teddy boy' - an ideal husband?


1956. A young woman describes her ideal man.

Teddy Boys were the original teen rebels, influenced by rock 'n' roll music from America. The Teddy Boy subculture started in 1950s London and spread across the UK.

Teddy Boys had their own distinctive style, influenced by the fashions of the Edwardian period, which tailors in Savile Row had tried to re-introduce to post-war Britain - hence the name 'Teddy' Boy.

It was the first young generation to create its own style and make it acceptable to dress up. With increased affluence as post-war rationing eased, young people had the money to spend on fashion and entertainment.

The Teddy Boy look was not cheap to attain. Typically it consisted of a long, dark 'drape' jacket with velvet trim (so-called as it hung from the shoulders and wasn't fitted at the waist); tight, drainpipe trousers, worn short to expose brightly-coloured socks; crepe-soled shoes and bootlace tie. Hair was usually heavily greased with a quiff at the front and the side hair slicked back to form a 'Duck's Arse' (or 'DA') shape at the back.

The Teddy Boy culture tended to be gang-led, with an overtly macho overtone. They had a reputation for violence - and they, along with rock 'n' roll music, were blamed for many of society's ills in the 1950s.



Well, the boy of my dreams... he's kind of a Teddy Boy. He wears thick crepe shoes, spivvy socks, skin-tight drainpipes and stiff shirt collars. Well, he wears a waistcoat, but he don't wear a double-breasted coat, he wears a one-button coat, finger-tip drapes and he has a white handkerchief in the top of his coat. And he has a duffel coat...he talks kind of a bit flash, but still that doesn't matter. And he's got a Tony Curtis haircut, black hair, and a little bit that hangs down in the front and a DA at the back. And overnight he wears a [unknown word] and he looks marvellous.

Well, he's the boy of my dreams, and if only I could marry him, I'd be the happiest girl in the world.

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