The white anklets known as bobby socks started as a rebellious fad in Britain, but soon became the quintessential teen fashion of the 1950s.
Girls who couldn’t get the original anklet made their own bobby socks by folding down a white calf sock into a thick cuff. The short socks were made visible by cuffing up the leg of your denims to mid-calf height.
The girls who wore these anklets were dubbed “bobby soxers“, and the trend spread to high school girls in the USA.
The socks received even more attention when they starred in ‘sock hops’, dance gatherings where the kids would take off their shoes and dance in their socks. While dancing in socks might have seemed rebellious, it was actually to prevent the polished gymnasium floor from being scuffed by the black soles of the popular saddle shoes.
As simple as they were, these little white socks were the seeds of teen rebellion, at least in the minds of many parents. Teenage individuality had arrived, and the sock became a part of the teenage uniform.
Whether worn with penny loafers or saddle shoes, cuffed jeans or poodle skirts, the white bobby sock was to a girl’s rebellion what the white t-shirt was to boys: While neither was responsible for teenage angst and rebellion, both were strong expressions of it.