Off-beat teens!

Cover of the Teenagers' Weekly, 25 January 1961
The Teenagers' Weekly was a regular supplement to the Women's Weekly in the early 1960s. (NAA: A1336, 61606)

Thinking ahead to what’s fashionable and cool for the summer?

The Teenagers’ Weekly, a lift-out supplement to the Australian Women’s Weekly, featured ‘off-beat fashions’ for teenagers in its 25 January 1961 issue.

Designed by Libby Hall of Sydney, the clothes were bold with colourful, geometric patterns. The Teenagers’ Weekly centre spread states:

The silhouettes are stark and interesting – no bows, no trimmings… If you’re the adventurous far-out type who likes to stand out in a crowd, these are for you.

Designer Libby Hall broke into the London fashion scene with her crazy designs. They featured a ‘riot of colors, brilliant pinks, oranges and purples and became an overnight success’. These were distinctly teenage fashions.

Teenagers as a social group arose with the emergence of rock-and-roll culture in the 1950s and the increase of material wealth and independence of young people after World War II. By the 1960s, teenagers were a powerful market force in a world of social and ideological upheaval. Fashion, in particular, was a way to make a personal statement as well as express the influence of youth culture.

During the 1950s, the Australian Women’s Weekly responded to these social changes by creating a teenage supplement. It became a lift-out magazine, the Teenagers’ Weekly, which ran from 1959 to 1964.

Between the covers of this edition, the Teenagers’ Weekly has readers’ letters, a romance story, tips for young bachelors cutting 'the family apron strings’, instructions for a quick facial, an article about singing star Patsy Ann Noble and a pin-up of teen idol Bobby Rydell.

An agony aunt column, ‘Here’s Your Answer’ by Louise Hunter, offers advice on parties for 14-year-olds, ‘going steady’ and body image problems. Some things never change – but fashions come and go!

Centre spread from the Teenagers' Weekly, 25 January 1961
Fashion designer Libby Hall used bold designs and bright colours to appeal to the 'adventurous far-out type'. (NAA: A1336, 61606)
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017