After years of struggle and wartime restrictions the 1950s were met with hope. It became a time to blossom and live life.
1950s Men’s Fashion
Suits for older men were designed in a conservative style; the “Grey Flannel Suit” was a commonly used phrase in men’s fashion. Popular blazer styles were single breasted and unwaisted.
When at home men would usually replace their blazers with cardigan sweaters, this was considered outfits to relax in. During the fifties tee shirts were seen as under garments and older men rarely wore jeans.
Hats were worn less than in previous years and the penny loafer shoe became the popular footwear of choice. Penny loafers were slip on shoes with a cut out apron that could fit a penny.
Many teenagers broke away from their parents group and rebelled to dress in a style all their own during the fifties. Groups defined themselves through the clothes they wore and it was easily spotted what social group teenagers belonged to via their appearance.
As rock and roll began gaining popularity so did the musicians that performed, Elvis Presley and James Dean were two icons copied for their fashions over and over again. Slicked back hair styled to perfection, leather jackets, tight jeans, and white tees became a uniform for many teenage boys.
Another trend for teenagers was the preppy look, often referred to as the “Ivy League” style. This was when cardigan sweaters were worn over collared shirts with crease free pants.
1950s Men’s Hair Styles
The wet look was also in with many men parting their hair to one side.
Hair for men in the fifties reflected the fashion, conservative; it was kept short and neat.
1950s Women’s Fashion
Fifties fashion for women saw more feminine silhouettes than the previous decades. Shoulders were soft, waists defined, and stiletto heels came back into style.
A sexy option for women during the fifties was the pencil skirt or the “wiggle skirt” as many named it. The shape was very form fitting and was often worn by women working in office environments.
Christian Dior was a popular designer during the fifties, releasing styles called Princess Line, the Profile Line and the A Line.
Other designers popular at the time were Bonnie Cashin and Helen Bond Carruthers who designed elaborate cardigans embellished with beading, buttons, and appliqué work. Cardigans became a staple in women’s wardrobes as they could be worn throughout the day with almost any outfit.
The fifties saw the older generation become more spendthrift due to the years of struggle they had witnessed whereas the younger generation wanted to celebrate life and take risks. There was a definite line drawn amongst the generations when it came to fashion, and depending on where you stood often defined your status in society.