The Quintessential Teddy Boy Look: Exploring the Iconic Outfit of the 1950s Youth Subculture

The Teddy Boys were a British youth subculture that emerged in the 1950s. Characterized by their flamboyant and dandyish outfits, Teddy Boys were a rebellious counter-culture that embraced rock and roll music and rejected the conservative values of post-war Britain. The Teddy Boy look has endured as an iconic style that has influenced subsequent youth subcultures and inspired contemporary fashion designers. In this article, we will explore the elements of the Teddy Boy outfit and its significance.

The Teddy Boy Outfit

The quintessential Teddy Boy outfit is composed of several distinct elements. These include:

  • Teddy Boy suits: Teddy Boys favored long jackets with wide, padded shoulders and narrow waistlines. The jackets were usually made of tweed or velvet and often featured intricate patterns or embroidery.
  • Shirts: Teddy Boys wore collarless shirts with a straight cut, often made of cotton or satin. The shirts were usually white or pastel-colored.
  • Trousers: Teddy Boys wore narrow, tapered trousers that were usually high-waisted. They were often made of wool or corduroy and featured a single crease down the front.
  • Footwear: Teddy Boys favored two-tone shoes with a thick sole and pointed toe. The shoes often featured a contrasting color on the toe and heel.
  • Accessories: Teddy Boys often accessorized their outfits with a slim tie, a pocket square, a watch chain, and a trilby hat. Some also wore a long, thin scarf around their necks.

The Significance of the Teddy Boy Outfit


The Teddy Boy outfit was a signifier of rebellion against the mainstream culture of post-war Britain. The flamboyant style was a way for young men to express their dissatisfaction with the constraints of society and to identify with a subculture that embraced individuality and free expression.


The Teddy Boy outfit was also a way for young men to express their identity as part of a group. By adopting a distinct style that set them apart from mainstream society, Teddy Boys were able to form a sense of camaraderie and belonging with others who shared their values and interests.

Influence on Fashion

The Teddy Boy outfit has had a lasting influence on fashion. The dandyish style has been reinterpreted by fashion designers over the years, from Vivienne Westwood to Hedi Slimane. The Teddy Boy look has also influenced subsequent youth subcultures, such as the Mods and the Rockers, who adopted elements of the Teddy Boy outfit into their own styles.

The Teddy Boys may have been a short-lived youth subculture, but their impact on fashion and popular culture has endured. The quintessential Teddy Boy outfit remains an iconic symbol of rebellion, identity, and individuality, and continues to inspire contemporary fashion designers and youth subcultures alike.

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