My parents grew up in the fifties. To me, everything about that era seemed kind of bizarre. I mean, who would really wear bobby socks and saddle shoes?
I have to say compared to other generations the fifties were a really distinctive time. So much of fashion repeats itself…and repeats itself…and repeats itself. But the unique styles done in the fifties were only done in the fifties. So far anyway.
For women, short, curly hair was popular – the shorter the better. Longer hair was often pulled back into ponytails tied in a scarf. Women wanted curls and often slept with pin curls or rollers to achieve them. Teasing hair was done frequently in the fifties.
For men, grease was the word. Many men combed their hair back and greased it into the ducktail, like Danny from Grease or Fonzi from Happy Days. Those that chose to wear short hair often had a crew cut.
Good grooming was very important in the fifties. Women wanted to look “like a lady” and often wore gloves or heels. A common style of skirt was known as a swing skirt. A well-known variation of the swing skirt was the poodle skirt. For a more slenderizing look, many women wore a style known as the pencil style. This type of dress was meant to accentuate an hourglass figure. Wide collars softened the neckline.
Don’t forget rolled up jeans, rolled up t-shirt sleeves, cashmere sweaters, athletic sweaters, and pedal pushers. Glasses often had exaggerated wings at the outer corners flared in the style of butterfly wings. Men wouldn’t be seen without their sunglasses or black leather jackets with turned-up collars.
The singularity of the 50s generation makes it a great theme for costumes. Many styles of both clothing and hair clearly represent the fifties. For a refresher of fifties fashion watch the movie “Grease.”
Be sure to check out the great selection of fifties costumes for all ages at 50s costumes.