American fashion style in the US during the 1950’s was influenced by many social, cultural and economic factors. Unlike the period during the Second World War when there was rationing and limited access to fabric, different types of fabric in large quantities were available during the fifties allowing new fashion to bloom during this decade. The 1950’s was the beginning of one of the biggest economic booms in the United States. A lot of men were able to secure employment meaning consumerism was driven by housewives and the baby boom. Fashion marketing was hence directed towards women.
Women’s fashion during this era was to either make the lady find a husband or please her husband. Thin waist, large, defined bust and hips was a largely popular female shape. Many women and girls conformed to this standard. Bustier tops, corsets, controllers were considered standard women fashion. Nylon slimmers, latex and fare were also common. To achieve a cone like bust shape, bras and bust paddings would be used. Fashion during this period defined a woman’s societal standing. Five female outfits, each with a certain purpose emerged during the fifties. There was clothing for carrying out housework or staying at home, conducting errands or business, social gatherings, maternity and for women in low socio-economic classes, work uniforms. Most clothing was similar in both silhouette and shape but different in fabric, color and pattern. There was a certain desire that existed to impress and match with friends and neighbors. As a result, matching family outfits were common.
Men’s fashion made very few changes during this period. Choices included slacks, sweaters, suits, sports coats and casual wear. Casual wear had bolder colors and patterns emerging but business wear remained static during this period. Work clothing was sort of military like since most men had served in the military. In the middle of the decade, teenage culture and fashion began to emerge. Teenagers began to get disposable income from part-time jobs and their parents. Various formal fashions were marketed to this segment as proms and school dances became an important part of teenage life. Judging by the design of the dresses sold to female teens, they were meant to be worn during proms or school dances. Less conservative styles such as sexy silhouettes, tight shirts and skirts for women and rebellious looks such as studded boots and leather jackets for men emerged at the end of this period.
Written By: Robert0h