"Even though they were less documented overall, Teddy Girls were arguably the real statement makers out of the two cultural groups. They shunned the conventional perception of women by adopting boyish hairstyles and imitating the Teddy Boys dress sense and characteristics"
Regarded as the first British female youth tribe – ‘Judies’ as they were also known were young working class girls who left school early and spent their days working in boring offices and factories. At odds with their parents who wouldn’t have understood the pursuit and importance of leisure time; the girls wanted to break free from post war austerity and did so through fashion and music.
Teddy girls (also known as Judies) wore drape jackets, pencil skirts, hobble skirts, long plaits, rolled-up jeans, flat shoes, tailored jackets with velvet collars, straw boater hats, cameo brooches, espadrilles, coolie hats and long, elegant clutch bags. Later they adopted the American fashions of toreador pants, voluminous circle skirts, and hair in ponytails. Their choice of clothes wasn’t only for aesthetic effect: these girls were collectively rejecting post-war austerity. They were young working-class women, often from Irish immigrant families who had settled in the poorer districts of London — Walthamstow, Poplar and North Kensington. They would typically leave school at the age of 14 or 15, and work in factories or offices.
Smaller in number, less well-known and less frequently photographed, Teddy Girls pushed the boundaries of conventional 1950s style for women, with some perfectly emulating the Teddy Boys in both hair style and dress.
Suddenly everyone was talking about Teddy Boys and Teddy Girls. The craze for bobby socks and long slit skirts had started. I wanted to be a part of it all. It wasn’t long after the humiliation of the office dance. The combination of feeling inferior, and thinking office work was stuffy, led me to leave the Prudential and take a job at the Gorgeous Bra factory.
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