I have long been obsessed with Teddy Girl style. Teddy Girls emerged in the 1950’s as girl “gangs” in England. For the first time, teenagers were developing their own sense of style instead of dressing like miniature adults. Teddy boys and girls were a mix of punk, prep, and victorian with a twist. The best part about their style was how effortless it was – the women took menswear pieces and added them to feminine items in their wardrobe to produce a completely unique aesthetic.
Teddy Girl style is a great way to adopt a retro look without having to shop for a whole new wardrobe!
How to get the Teddy Girl look
- Blouses. You can get this style with any kind of blouse really – button down or plain. BUT you don’t want too much pattern going on. You’ll notice that most of their tops are very simple and sans pattern.
- Men’s or boy’s crewneck sweater. You don’t want it to be too baggy, so a boy’s size sweater is usually a good fit.
- Blazers. Teddy girl style is ALL ABOUT the blazers and jackets. A blazer in any cut or style will work, but look for men’s, boy’s, or menswear inspired if you want to stay authentic. You want the blazer to be a little longer.
- Jeans, cuffed up several times. “Boyfriend” cut jeans are perfect for this.
- Plain flats or loafers. Again, menswear inspired is great for this.
- Teddy Girl style is ALL about the accessories. A ribbon tied under your collar with a broach at your throat is a great touch. Even better, knot a scarf at your throat!
- Add other menswear accessories such as suspenders or a newsboy cap.
So, I put together my own version of a Teddy Girl look to show you how easy it can be. The best and easiest day-to-day wear version is just a pair of high waisted jeans, a vintage blouse, suspenders, a scarf, and a blazer over it.
As you can see, I kept it pretty simple: loafers, blazer, cuffed pants, vintage blouse. I don’t think this is a look that would be hard to wear for people new to wearing vintage.
An alternative to cuffed jeans would be 1930’s newsboy style pants, shown below. You definitely want to wear suspenders with this style of pants. Not everyone feels comfortable wearing suspenders and that’s okay. Just stick to jeans if that’s that case.
You really can have a lot of fun with this look. Try ties, bowties, cardigans, different types of trousers, loafers, slippers. It really is a versatile look to copy and so much more forgiving than a pinup style.
Teddy Girl Style Hair and Makeup
- Keep it simple with your makeup. A little eyeliner and mascara and red lipstick. I will say that red lipstick was the look du jour in the 1950’s. I opted for a color called “True Red” by Loreal. You can wear a darker red or one with purple undertones. Pick a color that works with your skin tone but stick with a red in one shade or another. I wouldn’t wear red lipstick for YEARS because I didn’t think it looked good on me. It’s all about finding the right shade.
- Teddy Girl hair was messy and fucking gorgeous. I love the curls and messy buns worn by the women in that era. I did a sort of reverse pompadour with my hair. I’ve mentioned before that I’m lazy lazy lazy about my hair, so for me to do a style it has to be easy and quick. AND NO teasing. I just won’t tease my hair. I skip that part of any hair instructions. I started by checking out a few hair tutorials and this was the easiest and best one that I found: a great tutorial on how to get teddy girl hair. I didn’t follow instructions completely because, well I never do. I simply flipped my hair upside down, gathered it, and twisted it up so that the ends were on the top of my head. I stuck some bobby pins in randomly. When it was sorta secure (I wanted it messy so I left it pretty loose), I curled just the ends of the hair that was at the top of my head and my bangs. Most tutorials don’t even touch on what to do with bangs, so I’m assuming they weren’t common for that style. I just threw a few hot curlers in my bangs while I was doing my makeup and then brushed them to the side. A little bit of hairspray and I was done. Seriously, super easy. Anyone can achieve this look.
As you can see, loose and messy are what I went for. It was pretty lopsided and falling out everywhere. Perfect. See, you too can do Teddy girl hair!
Ready to try Teddy girl style? Check out the shop for great vintage items for emulating this look!