Fashion in the 1950s generated a lot of innovative and distinct styles. This was the year when America was starting to start anew after the Second World War. It was also the era that spelled optimism to a lot of people whose life was left devastated because of the remnants of the war. America’s transmutation was highly signified by fashion.
Deviating from the accustomed way of dressing and fixing themselves, women in this epoch started to be more carefree and moved away from the familiar norms they got used to. The standard dresses were put aside and a more laid-back and unfussy clothes were worn. The most common attire worn by women then was a dress. The dresses were not formal, rein-strapped, with circular skirts and tiny collars emphasized them. Available in restrained colors and with spectacular velvet bows, daring ruffles and tulle trim were the evening dresses. Evening dresses were fitted and highlighted with pure silk without sleeves and straps.
The full skirts of the 50s were widely accepted but a little prop up was done. To augment their look, nylon petticoats were made primarily for these skirts to make them fuller. Its being good in quality as well as easy to manage fabric has made nylon to be the favored choice of material for this purpose. With the addition of the petticoat, the skirts became fuller. Developed by Jacques Fath in the 1940s, the swing coat is another fashion milestone in this era. The swing coat’s outline was created to envelop the skirts and was ideal for the high incidence of pregnancy after the war. Another development in the 50s was the “trapeze dress”. Triangular in form and worn with low-heeled shoes and a chignon hair style is the characteristic of this dress. The next era modified the trapeze dress to a shorter baby doll tent style dress. Christian Dior’s H-line of 1954 was considered to be the best traditional item of clothing from the 50s. This included a slender tunic-style suit that goes with a tight skirt. Other creations of Dior which gained acceptance were the A and Y lines. Even as he ruled the fashion industry, the 1950s belongs to Christian Dior. Women became too eager with his creations as his huge clothing showed their femininity. Hubert Givenchy is another designer who established the Parisian style of dress in 1957, popularly known as the Sack. This style of dress started the straighter-waist outfit. It was first created into the fitted darted sheath dress and became a loose straight short shift dress later on.
And who wouldn’t know Coco Chanel? One of the major designers in the 1950s, Chanel brought into the scene the bauble and full skirts. The squared old-fashioned Chanel suit jackets and bedecked skirts and elaborate fleece were creations of Chanel. Since Chanel uses only richly elaborate materials, his creations are normally expensive. The outline of Chanel’s suits were direct and exquisitely lined with silk making it more cultured, classic and beautified the details. A series of pearls and jackets without collars were added to Chanel’s designs and has become very much in fashion in that age. Introduced in the late 1950’s, the empire line is one of the most considered old-fashioned trends. The empire line of clothing was focused on shirts and dresses and became a hit to the teens because of their virtuousness; thus, the term “baby doll style” was thought of. In the 50s, teens were to dress like adults. Because of its outstanding distinction from what mothers used to wear during that time, the empire line got the attention of America’s teen population.
Not considered a target market group, teenagers were a new thing and it was only in the 1950s that they got to be recognized. This was brought to the minds of the adults via magazine, television, films and rock music. The 1950s also signified a lot of growth particularly in the field of science, thus it was also referred to as the “Space Age”. These many life changes were all credited to the just concluded World War II, which made America to surface from the destruction of war to richness and a new character. The consumer-based society started to bloom which was greatly pressed on by the credit card system. The fashion world was not left out in this manner. In fact, it was seriously egged on by these new situations as most Americans tried to keep the regularity of ideals and trends. Fresh from the wounds of World War II, Americans only wanted to live a normal life. Television sets came into full view in the 1950s where it found its place in a lot of homes. I Love Lucy, a famous program on the television was able to build the relationship among Americans to a strong sense of unity. The issue of being black or white was no longer entertained as students from both races were accepted in the same school. But that does not mean that racial prejudice was totally forgotten; there are still some strain on this issue. Civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. likewise surfaced in the 1950s. This age also made Americans to fear communism as the latter had conquered other countries. Additional transformations such as the introduction of the first space satellite, DNA breakthrough, more women being employed and yes, rock and roll music all happened in the 1950s. American citizens were deeply affected by the changes in social, economic and political issues in the globe and consequently, the business of fashion.
However, fashion was, to a great extent, swayed by the favored celebrities of consumers despite of issues concerning the world. James Dean, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe were just some of these celebrities whose manner of dressing was adored by consumers. The sexy but uncomplicated style of Marilyn Monroe was emulated by American women who were unmindful of their shape and size. Considered a big influence, Elvis Presley had a huge following especially from the female crowd in the 1950s. He, nonetheless, also became an inspiration to the male crowd. Presley deviated from the conventional outfit worn by men at that epoch which consist of navy suits and ties. Following the African American way of outfit, Elvis Presley wore undomesticated pegged chinos and soot suits that made the conservative groups in America to react. The makeup, vivid and loose-fitting clothes and the earthy dance moves of Elvis Presley was held responsible for the devastation of the morals of the youth. Not the entire male crowd imitated Elvis anyway. A lot of them, though, preferred to the conservative way of dressing.
Dark brown, charcoal and dark blue were the colors of men’s clothes in the 1950s. There were those who opt to wear pallid pink who wanted to be different just to get noticed. It did, nevertheless, gained momentum in that age. Popular among athletes and adult men at that age was the cardigan sweater. Similarly, checkered thermals, jackets with collars and fitting vests were a hit for men. Men’s litheness in their way of dressing was very much evident and shirt tails is an ordinary thing to be seen among men. It was also in the 1950s that fedora hats arrived in the fashion scene for men.
If fedora hats for men became available in the 50s, women’s fashion was also invaded with these chic accessories in the same epoch. Hats were regarded as the ultimate element to make any kind of woman’s attire glamorous. Fashion designer, Balenciaga, pioneered the pillbox hat in the 50s. Jackie Kennedy became the famous wearer of the pillbox hat and with that this Balenciaga hat was considered as one of the up-to-the-minute and cool fashion accessories of that period. Since then, numerous other hats entered the world of fashion for women. Swathed in flower petals with some embellished in georgette twirls were the other presentation of women’s hats. Women with high stature in society wore gloves on their hands to finally complete their attire. Gloves were ordinarily made of cotton because nylon and leather are very expensive. Also at that time, cream and white hues of gloves were the most popular choices even though different colors and styles of gloves are available. In the same way, trimmings of fur and decorated collars were enormously chic in the 50s. Another sensational and attractive accessory at that time was the brooches.
Tracing back, the 1950s saw a lot of fashion changes which were greatly influenced by economic concerns, political discussions, celebrities and the mass media. Women from this era emerged from the simple woman to being the liberated woman of America and it was in the fashion world that these changes were deeply depicted. In summary, the 1950s really played an important part in the way Americans live.