The Zoot Suit and The Ted’s

This week in Constellation I have been learning about the subculture of The Zoot Suit and The Ted’s. I have been looking at the case studies,

Alford, H (2009) The Zoot Suit: Its History and Influence

In McNeil, P; Karaminas, V (eds) (2009) The Men’s Fashion Reader. Oxford: Berg Karaminas, V (2009) Introduction – Subculture: Style and Resistance in McNeil, P;

Karaminas, V (eds) (2009) The Men’s Fashion Reader. Oxford: Berg

Tulloch, C (2006) “My Man, let me pull your coat to something” Malcolm X in Bruzzi, S; Church Gibson, P (eds) (2006) Fashion Cultures. Theories, Explorations and Analysis London: Routledge

Summarising the Style  Characteristics of The Zoot Suit

I am using the case studies to find the style characteristics of the Zoot Suit.

  • Mainly young African Americans and Hispanic Americans, worn to show racial identity
  • Everything was exaggerated. E.g.- V knot tie, zoot chain, tight collar, wide flat hat, Dutch type shoes, suit in various colours (lime green or canary yellow)
  • Straighten their jet black hair
  • Worn by boys aged 16 to 20
  • They took the traditional suit and changed it. 1940’s white America did not allow these types of men to wear suits but they wore them anyway
  • Very baggy trousers at type but narrowed towards bottomScreen Shot 2016-11-24 at 15.43.40.png

The Ted’s

Summarising the Ted’s with the case study from

Jefferson, T (1976), In McNeil, P; Karaminas, V (eds) (2009) The Men’s Fashion Reader. Oxford: Berg Karaminas, V (2009) Introduction – Subculture: Style and Resistance in McNeil, P;

Karaminas, V (eds) (2009) The Men’s Fashion Reader. Oxford: Berg

 Teddy Boy Style Characteristics

  • Edwardian suit introduced in 1950 by a group of Saville Row tailors, attempting  to make a new style
  • Adressed to the young aristocratic men about town
  • Consisted of a long narrow lapel waisted jacket, narrow trousers (but not like drain pipes), ordinary toe capped shoes, fancy waistcoats
  • Shirts were white with cutaway collars, ties were tied with a Windsor knot
  • They wore trilby hats. Hair longer than the conventional short back and sides. Their hairstyle was called ‘ducktails’ and did not fit into traditional look
  • Modified the suit using the upperclass suits that once belonged to upperclass people
  • Re-appropriated the suit and wore it out on the street
  • Looks  like the Edwardian suit, however, when they spoke they had a strong cockney accent, not an upperclass, well spoken accent.They also got into fights on the streets, this is not upperclass either
  • Revived sub cultural styles of the 1970’s Teddy Boy look- same ties, shirts, waistcoat and jacket but worn with jeans and crepe suede shoes

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What Can We Learn from the Zoot Suiter’s and Ted’s that Can Inform Our Practices?

  • The Zoot suiters and The Ted’s borrow from the past (the suit-Edwardian)
  • They both re-appropriated and modified the suit
  • The use of appropriating could be used in my practice
  • The use of exaggerating could be used in my practice
  • Creating meanings
  • Breaks Rules (the Zoot suiters broke the rules by using massive amounts of material during the Second World War, during the time of rationing)
  • Both subcultures wore the suit, not traditionally worn by them

 

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Author: emiliasfineartblog

BA (Hons) Fine Art Student studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University

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