The fifties were times of change. The war was over and people were optimistically rebuilding society. All this optimism was mirrored in fashion. The increasing welfare of the people enabled them to buy more, which had an impact on a new inspiring style.
The businessman look
Fashion for women was radically rediscovered with the introduction of the New Look by Dior. Men, however, still mainly wore suits in the fabulous fifties. Good quality, off-the-rack suits were introduced, which offered new options to look sharp, aside from the more expensive tailor-made suits. Men would combine a white shirt with a colorful tie and would wear suits without waistcoats more often.
The American business suit got more popular – the businessman look. Business suits for men in the 50s were a simplified and more comfortable version of the suits men wore in the 1940s. Shoulder pads were less prominent in the design, jackets were shorter and ties were slimmer. Now that there was more fabric available after the war, the pants were widened a little bit for extra comfort.
Men would never leave the house without a hat to complete their outfit. They would take off their hats at special occasions or to greet ladies they knew in the streets.
Rock n Roll
Aside from adults, teenagers were now also considered to be a specific target group with money to spend. Teens felt the need to distinguish themselves from their parents and developed – partly fueled by the rise of Rock ‘n’ Roll – a style of their own. This is where Greasers first appeared.
For years, youngsters had dressed similar to their parents. This started to change in the 1950s. Still, a lot of teens in high school dressed pretty decent. Boys wore jackets or cardigans with smart trousers and athletes mostly wore letterman jackets.
The rebellious youth was inspired by popular Hollywood movies. Actor Marlon Brando turned into a style icon for this group of youngsters because of his part in the movie ‘The Wild One’. His style became very characteristic for Greasers in the 50s. Greasers would wear white T-shirts (often with the sleeves rolled up), leather jackets and blue jeans with rolled up cuffs. Jeans had always been seen as workman’s clothing and up until then T-shirts had only been worn as underwear.
Another actor who had a huge influence on the clothing style of the rebellious youth was James Dean, because of his part in the film ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. Dean played an outsider in the movie, who was trying to find his place in society. Wearing his bright red colored jacket, he turned into a symbol for individualism for the Greaser culture.
The Greaser look was completed with perfectly combed back quiffs, which were sculpted using wax or pomades. The Greasers’ favorite accessories were chains, bandanas and motor or moped accessories such as leather gloves and motor boots. Even though the Greasers were merely a subculture in the 50s, their distinctive style has become one of the characterizing icons of the fifties.
Fifties style and fashion on Pinterest
Check out more fifties style and fashion pics on Pinterest!