An article written in the Daily Mirror Friday November 13, 1953
A TEENAGE 'EDWARDIAN' HITS BACK
Why I wear these Togs
by Leonard Sims who describes his view as an eighteen year old on wearing an Edwardian outfit in 1953.
Leonard Sims - I just like to look good ..... Nothing "flash"
I am eighteen. I wear Edwardian Suits. I love bop music and jive dancing. I am particular about my hair.
But if anybody thinks that makes me a spiv, here is where he learns different. I am not a spiv, a layabout or troublemaker. Neither are my friends. So I don't know what all the fuss is about.
I've got the best Mum and Dad in the world and a comfortable decent home in Paddington, London. I work from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm as a wages clerk in a building firm.
It's a responsible job and means a lot of ledger work. I like it. I get £5 10s, a week and give mum £3 of it. In my spare time I do what I like, and what I like best is to get into the old Edwardian gear and go out in town with my mates.
Why do I dress like that? That's easy - its bang up to date, its smart and it suits me.
Mind you some of the lads go a bit far with jackets down to their knees and pipe stem trousers and velvet collars. I just like to look good. Edwardian clothes, yes-but they've got to be right. Nothing "flash".
That is why I designed my own. I sat down and drew the jacket I dreamed of. It was single breasted with four buttons and high narrow lapels. The sleeves had turned back cuffs and there were four outside pockets, all with flaps and buttons.
My tailor made it just the way I drew it. That cost twenty quid. For £6 he made me a high waisted, 12" wide pair of whipcord pants. To complete the rig, I got a pair of black ankle boots without toecaps for £5, two silk poplin shirts made to measure for 65s each, and two or three slim jim ties. These ties are long and narrow the latest trick. It's smart to wear a tiepin. I've got three and a fancy assortment of links.
How can I afford it? I can't. Mum bought all my stuff. I'm the only child and she would'nt see me go short of a thing. Dad didn't pay much attention to the new style. He said it was alright if I didn't go too far.
When I was a kid he taught me to be useful with my fists. Now he says I'm old enough to look after myself. But trouble is something, I never go looking for. Nor do my mates. Just because we like to dress fancy some people think we go round like thugs. Well they're dead wrong.
Our idea of a good night out is to dance at the jazz clubs. Sometimes we take girls. Sometimes we meet them there. We go to a Palais only when we want a quiet night. But I don't like The Creep.
If we don't go dancing we might drop in at the youth club, go to the pictures or just stand yarning on a street corner.
I don't smoke much and although I have a glass of beer now and again, I don't need a drink to put me in the mood for a good time.
The music does that. That real gone noisy bop is what we love better than anything. We like our music loud and hot, and I find the old boxing routine gives me good footwork for jive dancing.
When I take up anything, I go the whole way. That why I got a West End barber to design a hairstyle for me to go with the Edwardian outfit. He swept the hair up round my ears, built a up a nice wavy quiff in front, and trained the back to grow in a straight line just above my collar. I go to him once a month for a trim, shampoo and set for 4s 6d.
To those people ready to call us names, I just want to say: Take it easy; we're only having a bit of fun. You were young once yourself, you know.