When someone mentions 1950's fashion, most people conjure up images of the poodle skirt, bobby socks, and letter sweaters. If you're still having trouble picturing 1950's fashion, think Grease or Happy Days. The 1950's was a post-war era and though women had already entered the work force and pants were acceptable garments for both men and women, prosperity was steadily rising and women had a longing for elegant things.
The 1950's fashion designers began designing clothing that would accentuate the bust line and the waist and still bare an elegant image. Sweaters were form fitting and eveningwear was often strapless. Though the bouffant hair-do was two decades away, many women endured the torture of those primitive salon permanents to give themselves elegant hairstyles that could be swept up to expose the neck. Younger girls were tying their hair up in ponytails or back from their face with ribbons.
Men for the most part were wearing simplistic clothes. The basic business suit was plain and lacking in flair or detail. Younger men mostly wore plain white shirts under a cardigan sweater or button up shirt with rolled up cuffs. White socks with black shoes was a fashion statement and the bowling shirt made its fashion debut, as the sport was becoming a growing pass time.
In a sense, 1950's fashion ushered in the beginning of four decades of drastic changes never before seen in the fashion industry. The prim and modest clothing of the 30's and 40's was old-fashioned and would become lost forever. Society began to experience not only post-war prosperity, but also a social freedom from a growing equality between men and women. Rock and roll was born and many things, including fashion, were on the cusp of breaking into a whole new, unexplored part of everyday life.