Post-War Youth Trying to Find Itself: The Most Popular 5 British Subcultures

After the World War II, there was a big cultural exchange in the world. Socio-cultural interactions and the need to express themselves in an unusual way, people created what is described as ‘’the social evils’’ or ‘’the outcasts’’ of the society. Subcultures such as teddy boys, skinheads, punks, and many others are the outcomes of the post-war period. These youngsters were turning their head away from their predecessors.

When the war was over, and there was no need of the young to serve for their country, they came into small groups and established their own way of fighting. They fought the rules, the government, social norms, the conventions that belonged to the pre-war era. Here are some of the most popular subcultures of the period:


  • The Teddy Boys and Girls Subculture (1950s):

Teddy boys are mostly known as the first British youth subculture. Their fashion and style were inspired by rock-and-roll and Edwardian romanticism, the name is also the short version of ‘’Edward’’. Their clothes were characterized as long frock coats, tailored trousers, high-waisted pants, chunky suede crepe-soled shoes, button-up shirts with high collars and thin ties. They combed their greasy hair backwards to look like a jelly roll. Their shoes were suitable to rock-and-roll and dance to the fullest. Teds were the members of working class, so this type of clothing was easily found in working class areas.

By the time, the female counterpart of the subculture ‘’teddy girls’’ emerged on the stage, and they were also called Judies. Teds girls also were inspired by music, jazz, rock-and-roll, and Edwardian romanticism. Their hairstyles were like short bob cuts and curls, can be called poodle hair, or high ponytails. Their styling was close to masculine, and they looked powerful. They were working-class-girls that left school at very young ages, so they couldn’t afford high-end fashion.


Youths in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, 1959.Terry Fincher/Mirrorpix/Getty Images


Teddy girls in London, 1955 Photograph: Michael Peto for the Observer/Courtesy of the University of Dundee, The Peto Collection


  • The Mods and Rockers Subculture (1960s):

These were two conflicting youth subcultures that emerged at the same time period. The rockers were riding motorbikes and wearing black leather jackets combined with jeans, looking threatening and ready to fight. Mods were riding scooters, it was easy to distinct them from rockers by their rancy way of clothing, they wore suits and looked clean. The two subs centred their ideas around the music genres they listen to. Mods were into soul, jazz and rockers were listening rock, rock-and-roll, R&B. The two were constantly in physical clash. In the public eye they were social evils and truly troublemakers.

England. July 1964. Terence Spencer/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Hastings, England. August 3, 1964.Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images


  • Punks Subculture (1970s)

Punks are one of the most striking subs among the others. Their ideals revolved around being an individual and individual freedom. They adopted so many features from art, politics, fashion, history. Anarchy was in their blood. Rebellion against the period’s social circumstances was their main purpose. As we can understand the sub’s name comes from the punk music they listen to. They had a nihilistic approach to life. They were against the establishments, authority, government and sided with individual liberty. It was easy to identify them from their spiky, edgy hair, ripped jeans and shirts, piercings, chokers.

Public Submission by Catherine Laz


  •  Skinheads Subculture (1960s-1970s)

This sub emerged from the working class again and their fashion derived from uniforms being worn by factory workers and brands like Fred Perry, Dr Martens, Levi’s etc. They were highly influenced by the Jamaican families migrating to British capitals to find jobs and have a new life. Their jams were blues, jazz. Drugs and alcohol usage was really common among them. By the time, their actions became more violent, and they were involved in conflicts with other subs and races.




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