I can’t bring myself to add those who opted to revive the authentic 1950s teddy boy looks from 1983 onwards to the series ‘And they went off the rails …’. I don’t consider they did, except in one particular aspect – which I also reserve as criticism for the authentic 50s Hepcats – and that is that if any fashion movement tries too hard to be authentic, its failures or success to reach that goal takes away any actual orginality from that movement and it ends up with them being yet another bunch of historical re-enactors (albeit with good musical tastes). As a (late) 1970s ted I always stand by the looks we adopted then – so vilified by many latter-day ‘Tedwardians’ – which were a make-do approach not straining ourselves too hard to recreate either the authentic 1950s British ted look or authentic American rock’n’roll look of the 1950s. The way I figure it (and keep in mind the period in which I grew up as a teenager to understand where I’m coming from), there are people who will try and recreate the 1950s ted look and people who will try and recreate the 1970s ted look, but I can’t in all sincerity see people consciously trying to recreate the revivalist looks of the Tedwardians and the Hepcats of the 1980s and after, since their look is fundamentally derivative, and always worn with one uneasy look back to the past to check how ‘authentic’ their style really is. This sort of forensic nostalgia is not for me; I was both an Americanised rock’n’roller (‘rockabilly’) and a ted in the 1970s and looked good with it – the bees knees, the dogs b******s, whatever you want to call it – and would have it no other way; we were who we were, ourselves and comfortable with it (for the most part, we wouldn’t have been paying much attention to the discrepancies between our look and our 50s rock’n’roll predecessors in Britain, the USA and elsewhere, which all said was a good thing …).
Now before you read on, keep in mind that I call this subset of teds ‘Tedwardians’ here, just to avoid mixing them up with the New-Edwardians of the late 1940s and early 1950s and – God forbid – the original Edwardians of the early years of the nineteenth century and apologise for any offense its use here may cause (and can reassure those who would accept my apologies that this is not my everyday term for you if you happen to prefer 1950s ted styles). The term ‘Tedwardian’ could also be given in precise terms to the 1950s teddy boys (especially those of the early and middle parts of that decade), and in loose terms to just about all the teds who followed thereafter, but in this particular article I want to concentrate on those who have revived the earlier 1950s look of the teddy boys.