Believe it or not, during the 1950s, men tended to dress very much like each other. Of course, they did not have a varied choice in clothes and colors like those that we have today. They, therefore, preferred to wear suits, which were uniformly dark and looked very similar. Men wore hats almost all the time, mostly fedora, and though there were some variations in style, a man was not considered properly dressed unless he wore a hat. Nightmares and difficulties faced during the Second World War made men more conservative and careful. The ripple effect of this was that many men preferred the safety of conformism. Looking, acting and being like everyone else was considered being safe. However, the boom in prosperity after the war spurred and made conspicuous consumption much more acceptable. The influence of the youth began in the late 1940s and went on through the 1950s. Until then, children were not allowed much individuality until they attained 18 years of age. The 1950s ushered in the concept of the “teenager who developed their own fashion style. Some of these still prevail. Take a look at the clothing that men wore in the 1950s and get inspired.
Men’s 1950s Clothing
Business suits for men were conservative, and grey suits became so prevalent that books and movies started to be named after them. The suit was of clean cut fashion and conventional. The “gray flannel suit”, referred to a style, became immensely popular in Ivy League colleges. It was usually charcoal gray in color, single-breasted with two or three widely spaced buttons, and with no vents at the back. These suits were invariably worn with slip-on shoes or loafers. Hats started to fade out of fashion and businessmen almost stopped wearing them.
In both the UK and the USA, the youths started a non-conformist culture in the 1950s. Young people invented new styles in dressing that was anything unlike the conventional older generation. The youngsters were scorned for introducing a new style in fashion and music, and came to be labeled as ruffians for violating the unwritten code of behavior. The rock and roll era was on, and teenage subcultures did not espouse particular philosophies or emotions, in the way punks or hippies would do later on. People went by individual beliefs and convictions and this varied from person-to-person. A generation of crazy hipsters, who did things differently, came to be known as the beats. They bucked convention, dressed in black jeans, ankle boots and checked shirts, and represented a group who lived by hitch hiking, freewheeling and by drugs.
The Use Of Wool
One major highlight of the 1950s dressing was the use of woolen clothing. Whether it was cardigans, sweaters, pullovers, waistcoats, jackets, ties or trousers, they were invariably made from wool, though other materials were also used. It was common for both young and old men to wear a cardigan over the shirt with their hair neatly combed back. Interestingly, the look still prevails, though the use of wool in colder countries have given way to a blend of materials used in today’s clothing. Tweed suits were very much in fashion. However, with heavy clothing becoming increasingly unpopular, fabrics that were easier to wear and had a good protective quality came to be developed and used. In this sense, the discovery and use of polyester fiber revolutionized fabric and the clothes we wear today.
The USA and the UK were the two countries that set fashion trends and mutually influenced each other, probably because of their English speaking culture and the advent of the popularity that cinema enjoyed. Though Hawaiian shirt or Aloha shirt had been there for some time, it was in the 1950s that a colorful alternate to plain shirts became vastly popular. Enjoying extensive popularity with American men in particular, the shirt became an all time favorite, and is favored as leisurewear even today.
The 1950s was a time of change after the war. People began to enjoy their newfound liberty and this was reflected in their hairstyles, music and of course, clothing. The youths were more experimental and were the ones to initiate a new change so far as fashion was concerned. The decade was the first to bring in changes in clothing trends. It acted as a catalyst that ushered in more styles and fashion changes in the years to follow. Today, 1950s clothing are still available in stores and you could dress up in the style of fifties, to look sophisticated, elegant, gentlemanlike, teenage rebel or just different from a singular fashion sense that surely would ring a bell alike with the young and the old, and help you reset the 1950s trend in your own inimitable way.