Thursday, 19 May 2016

OOTD: Raised On The Radio

It's not altogether often you'll come across a style related post on the Salty Sea Blog. But this place is my scrapbook after all & a place for fun, experimentation and an abundance of goofing about. I guess I never take myself 'seriously' enough to make a fashion post, nor do I consider myself an authority on fashion. I've always thought fashion posts to be serious business, and me far too silly.'but that's not true at all (the part about fashion posts being serious I mean, I'm plenty silly). 
Living in that limbo of empty time between having finished my classes, just waiting for my grades and moving back home, I've got more free time than I know what to do with. I'll be honest, I don't necessarily know what to do with it either. I'm not one for being stuck indoors and with the beautiful weather, I've wandered the canals, botanical gardens and rivers in the last two weeks more than I have done all year. Muggy grey weather has found us again (Because this is Britain after all) and with it comes the rain. So today, I decided I wanted to experiment, have some fun and put together a black and white/retro style shoot inspired by the 50's era in Britain. 

I wanted to create photo's that could look like they were taken in fifties Britain. Bath is normally awash with vintage motors, but it's typical that the day you want them - they're nowhere to be seen. 

This look is inspired by the Teddy Girl British Subculture of the early 1950's. Just after the war, the working class were enjoying having enough money to spend on clothes. What I love about the Teddy fashion, is that it's absolute proof that we are ever recycling and reviving past fashions, even back then! The Teddy style is based on the Edwardian revival [40 years earlier] which enjoyed fine & fancy long coats, waist jackets and foppish garb of the British dandies. So the Teddy's [derived from the word Edwardian] reportedly emerged in North & East London [Naturally] just as rationing ended and favouring brogues, flat shoes, drain pipes, smart jackets and hair greased into a quiff, this British subculture took the island by storm. 
Often associated with Rock and Roll music & gang culture, the original Teddy boys apparently listened to Jazz and something called 'the Skiffle'. The upper classes soon abandoned their fancies for Edwardian revival dress, put off by the re-fashioning of the style by the 'working classes' which sort of reminds me of what happened with Burberry and the whole 'townie/chav' style which swept through Britain in the mid noughties :P. 
With the Teddy boys, emerged the 'Teddy Girl'. Often adorning neck ties, boaters, beautifully rolled and quiffed hair, shirts and tailored coats, the Teddy girls worked hard for their clothes and often  handmade them. There's a really fascinating history around the Teddy movement, and not all of it is entirely pleasant. As with any movement, there are those who have to go and spoil it for everyone, and large groups of Teddy's became involved in gangs and riots which was highly publicised in the media, notably the 1958 Notting Hill race riots which earned the movement a bad rep and notoriety. 

The style was again revived in the 1970's with a glam rock edge (my goodness, imagine that) and again in the early 90's in North London, where a group known as the TEDS attempted to reclaim the original 50's style. 

Gangs, riots and unsavoury reputations aside, you've got to hand it to the Teddy movement, those kids had style and its quirky, romantic aesthetic and has endured. Or should I give the credit to the Edwardians? They are hip kids of the fifties, and I'm sure it won't be long before the movement winds around again, finds a new lease of life and the likes of urban outfitters and Topshop begin stocking foppish dandy coats, edwardian blouses and boater hats. Oh wait, the boater hats are already back :P

I attempted my own restyling of the Teddy look although I failed at the hair and changed a few things up. Converse sneakers weren't quite here and the Ted's would have preferred Oxfords, brogues or espadrilles. You wouldn't have caught them in a stripy shirt and the hairdo would have been a lot more quifftastic. However, I took inspiration and gave it a 2016-hipster edge retaining the fitted jacket, dark shades, rolled up jeans and neck-tie elements. It was pretty lazy of me, since I actually have an edwardian style shirt, oxfords AND a Nan who grew up in the 50's with the magical ability to tame my hair into rolls & pleats [the woman is gifted.] I may give this look another, more authentic attempt when I'm back home and I can get help with my hair and have a whole load more hairspray on hand. 
I'd love to see the Teddy style come around again, along with the 'New Romantics' [don't laugh at me.] My dearest fashion genie wish however, is that cloaks will become cool and everyone can wear them casually and buy them in hughstreet shops and not have to travel all the way to places like Glastonbury to find them. I've been watching Poldark again [desperate for the second season] and thoroughly enjoying the period, 18th century dress. I would definitely enjoy seeing the hipsters in breeches, white pirate-style shirts and boots and the ladies in long, corset-clad dresses. I feel that these days we are a lot less creative with our hair styles and clothing choices than our fashion predecessors. I think it's safe to say that the late 90's/early noughties was a bit of a set back in fashion - does anyone else remember those baggy jeans with all the tassles and chains? the scraped back pony-tail with two strands hanging down on the face and puddle-collecting flair jeans? I'll be tickled as a peach if those styles make a come back in the future and my grandchildren are walking around wearing S-Club 7 band-tees and bandanas. 

Above on the left is the image that inspired me to try the look [sourced from Pinterest]. I adore black and white photography although it's so much better when done on a film camera with black and white film rather than my digital [with a little cheeky post processing in Lightroom.] Having said that, I LOVE turning photographs black and white, it strips away factors such as colour and you have to use other means to make a photograph striking. It conditions you to work more deliberately and focus on things such as composition and lighting. It's a great discipline and perhaps when I have another go at the Teddy look, I'll stick true to the fifties and use my vintage film SLR. Not sure I'll ever manage to look as suave and hip as the girl in the picture though - on the left is one from the cutting room floor. An outtake where I'm not looking particularly ladylike or elegant. Leap frogging was hard work dammit.  

Later in the day, George came to meet me and we ended up in one of his favourite coffee shops [as usual]. Society cafe undoubtedly serve some of the best coffee in Bath and George also picked up some beans since he has taken to making fresh artisan coffee at home which you can read about in his blog post. George likes to combine as much denim as socially acceptable and is also a fan of the Teddy boy look [I've caught him many a time blow drying and desperately trying in vain to grease his hair into a quiff]. Neither of us a particularly fashion conscious however, we are neither consistent or attentive. We pick and choose styles as we fancy, never consciously following a current trend or assigning ourself a set genre of clothing style. I love the freedom of dressing and experimenting with different styles. Most days, you'll catch me in comfy dungarees or a gardeners smock but I had a lot of fun playing with some of the cute styles of yesteryear and trying to make a fifties shoot.
Would you like to see more style on the Salty Sea Blog? I'm aware this post has been less poetic and outdoorsy than normal, and the photographs edited in a much different style to my usual! It's been a fun experiment though and I hope you've enjoyed the deviation into unknown territory. I'm looking to shake up the content a bit and really experiment with this scrapbook. 
Anyway, I must dash to the train station now to pick up a dear friend who is paying a visit! 



  1. Wow Sarah this post is seriously amazing! I've never seen anything like it on a blog, such a unique idea and the photos are gorgeous. You should definitely do more of these x

  2. The pictures are delightful as always! :) I'm pretty sure it was fun having those pictures taken!

    Also, thanks for that quick fashion history--never knew about the Teddies and they're just so cool! Edwardian fashion has always been my favourite fashion era even before Downton Abbey--and I was so hooked on that show! Sadly, people in the Philippines have no access to Poldark, and I seriously doubt we'll ever be able to.

    I always look forward to your posts, and I will look forward to the next one. x

  3. I loved this post! It's nice to see something different. I love seeing other people's style and learning where their inspiration comes from and the back story behind it all. Keep going with this blog,it's truly amazing :)

  4. Love how personal and fun this post is! I find that a lot of fashion blogs are sort of identical, with no personality, which is a bit of a shame. I'd love to see more of your style posts! The Teddy movement really is interesting, and I absolutely love the style! I agree with you though - it'd be fantastic if 18th century fashion came back in style.

    Mimmi xx
    Muted Mornings

  5. Beautiful post. There is something so special about black and white images and I love that you told a story about how you created the outfit. I wish more fashion bloggers did it like this, I would love to see more! xx

  6. You know I always like whatever type of post you do!Your beauty of spirit pervades every adjective, phrase, sentence, paragraph! It was FASCINATING to read about the Teddy boy and girl look and you captured it beautifully! I have never followed fashion but I know what I like, not just one style but lots of things!!xx

  7. Love the photography on this post! Goals, goals, goals! x
    Morgan |

  8. Such a lovely post! So inspiring! :) They look like they came from the '50s!


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