Teddy Boys by Ben Watts

A friend pointed me at this recently and I thought you might like them too: photos of some original British Teddy Boys by Ben Watts.

I’ve always been fascinated by sub-cultures: whilst I love fashion and always wonder why people dress they way that they do, it’s the fringe groups, the outsiders that interest me the most. The way that a group will form and create their own language of dress that both bonds and isolates.

Over the past thirty years I’ve dabbled with sub-cultural groups a lot, especially Mod, Rockabilly and Goth – underneath it for me, has always been the common thread of vintage as almost all sub-cultures have room for clothes from the past, and it’s who I am. I’ve appreciated the flexibility that vintage has given me, having decades of styles to choose from and finding the best to suit my current frame of mind, whether it’s mid ’50s polka dots or mid ’60s houndstooth.

As much as I like the way vintage can represent my chameleon sub-cultural swings, I really admire those who know themselves, have found a look and style that works for them and stick with it. Their look of authenticity improves as they get older, they wear it as a badge of outsider-dom and honour.

1950s England created one of the first sub-cultures, the “Teddy Boys” named for their fancy Edwardian styling. Much like peacocks, the men wore tailored frock coats with velvet lapels and drainpipe trousers. The women wore hobble skirts and espadrilles but the focus was always on the dandies.

I’m pleased to report that they still look pretty good.

Apparently limited edition prints are available for sale too. All images courtesy Ben Watts.

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8 comments

  1. Nicole,

    Thank you for the trip down Memory Lane! I sure do remember the Teddy Boys (showing my age here). You always have such a great insight into things and I love reading your blog. Barbara

  2. Lovely post, and very well expressed homage to the Teddy Boys, Nicole. (Yes, I would have to say that sartorial yet masculine men are pretty darned attractive)
    Beautiful blog – love your work.

  3. They’re great photos Nicole–I’ve just promptly spent half an hour searching and reading about Teddy Boys on the net, as I didn’t know that much about them. I didn’t even think that Teddy comes from the word Edwardian–very funny and clever!

    About Dandy style–I love it. It had a bit of a comeback last winter but I think it will make it more next winter. What better way to dress uniquely dandy than to use vintage. It had its times in every decade, and I love how each decade has put its own spin on it.

    I also adore how the young now are so much more adept and game at creating their own style and lifestyle niche–obviously having their pathway started by the bold and brave Teddy Boys.

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