Signifying Practices

Signifying Practices are items that mark out a difference and symbolise what somebody stands for. These can include hair styles, clothing, dance styles, particular words and so on.

Teddy Boys have a number of signifying practices that I will look into:


  • Tapered trousers, ‘drain pipe’
  • drape jackets
  • waistcoats
  • creeper shoes


The D.A : The duck’s ass is a haircut style that was popular during the 1950s. It is also called the duck’s tail, the ducktail, the duck’s arse (UK), or simply D.A., and is also described as slicked back hair. ( ref:’s_ass)

Not all of the teddy boys supported this hairstyle but it is well recognised from their era. Lots of teds wouldn’t leave home without a comb for their hair.

Music + Dance

Introduction to Rock n Roll ‘Rock Around The Clock’ – Bill Haley

Teddy Boys are often linked to Rock n Roll music, however it must be noted that their style came before the music.

Teddy Boys and Girls alike also loved to dance with their new found music. ‘The Jive’ was a very popular dance move of the time, along with strolling and bopping

The Flick Knife

Along side their combs, a lot of teddy boys used to carry flick knives around with them. In a video documentary ‘Here Come the Teds’ part 2 (11:55) a man who used to be apart of the subculture said they were more a fashion statement than a weapon.


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