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 THE WAY WE WERE

Ready Teddy?

Over half a century ago now a new word first started to appear. It is today one of the most common descriptions of a group of people in the world - teenagers.
In the days before rock 'n' roll, TV and pop magazines, young people were simply known as boys and girls throughout their years between 12 and 20. They were not, of course, recognised as being legally adult until they were 21.
The post-war years brought major lifestyle changes which saw young people enjoy more freedom and have more money than any of their predecessors. They had their own music, they frequented youth clubs and coffee bars and it was not long before they drove their own vehicles, usually motor scooters
And with this came a revolution in the way they dressed.
Many of our readers will no doubt recall sporting the latest in Fifties fashions when they went out on the town on a Friday or Saturday night.
For the girls Fifties fashion included those full dirndl or circular skirts which could prove an embarrassment when they sat down as the front always seemed to resist staying down. And any girl about town would never even think of leaving home without a bouffant underskirt often made of paper nylon or net. Then there were those rather smart tight pleated skirts usually made from a new material known as Terylene which helped keep the creases in.
Rock 'n' roll fans loved tight pants which were cut off below the knee and usually sported cardigans worn back to front . Other dance hall favourites in fashion included shirts, often worn with a scarf knotted in a style favoured by cowboys at the side of their neck.
Teddy Boys in their Edwardian style gear were trendsetters in their own right - remember those drape jackets with velvet collars and cuffs and shirts worn with bootlace ties? - but most lads still plumped for more traditional gear, usually sports jackets, white shirts and ties.
The "Teds" also had their own favourite footwear. The age of the "brothel creeper" had arrived.
Any self-respecting Fifties teenage lad also looked after his hair and barbers were inundated with requests for a "Tony Curtis" the style being copied from that sported by one of the biggest film stars of the day.
Quiffs were popular, too, usually being Brylcreemed into place.
Miss Trendy probably had her hair in a pony tail.
But there were rebels.
Remember the scruffy black leather look adopted by many young lads and based on the style sported by Marlon Brando in the hit movie On the Waterfront?
And in the later years of the decade came the scruffy look favoured by those who delighted in calling themselves beatniks. They sported oversized chunky long sweaters, with their girls adding huge cowl collars worn over slim fitting pencil skirts or slacks with stirrups.
All very trendy. And looking back all now very old fashioned.

Written by The Editor - 12/05/2007 08:46:05

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