Life In The 1950s In America

1689 words - 7 pages

om the Motown 50s to the Retro 90s, popular fashion statements have reflected the mood of each of these notorious decades. From silhouettes, to mullets, to wide-leg pants, this span of forty years has eternally impacted the American fashion world.

The 1950s was a transition from conservatism and restraint and formality of the 1940s, to a freer, looser, more informal style. Throughout the decade it became much more acceptable for males to dress “for show” and both sexes became much more fashion conscious. Teenagers in this decade ruled the fashion industry. Before, the young people would follow the older people’s trends. The reason why the teen fashion industry sprouted was ...view middle of the document...

Bright colors, defined waists, and poodle skirts were major trends in the women’s fashion. Many young women wore tight-fitting blouses tucked into “pedal-pushers” or capris. Short ankle socks, short scarves tied around the neck, and cropped cardigans were also extremely trendy and popular. “Screen goddesses like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly inspired tiny waistlines and full skirts and busts. Slim pencil-line skirts and stiletto-heeled shoes emerged in the early 1950s and shoes could be bought in a variety of colors to match any outfit.”(Skwirk 1)
By the 1960s, fashion was dealt with a large amount of experimentation. Since there was a massive baby bloom in the previous decade, society was filled with irksome teenagers, taking great risks and adapting new trends. “The rebel rocker look took hold during this era, and prints like plaid and paisley became wardrobe standards.”(Ruche) By the 1960s, clothing seemed to break social traditions in which that told what could be worn by whom or when. “In the past, attire had been divided in to 'formal' and 'casual' wear, and distinct separations were made between the styles of clothing worn by men and women.”(Skwirk 2) The 1960s, however, saw the development of unisex clothing such as denim jeans. The 1960s saw the appearance of the mini-skirt. “Up until that time, skirts and dresses were sensibly down at the knee. New soaring hemlines created huge controversy when they first appeared, exposing centimeters of thigh never before seen in public.”(Skwirk 2) The mini-skirts represented more than just a fashion landmark of the decade, but had become the icon of the general culture of rebellion that characterized the 1960s. Many young people had become dissatisfied with the prevalent social values, since they seemed to be shallow and materialistic, while others strongly opposed the American involvement in the Vietnam War. This caused the beginning of the “hippie” movement throughout America. Many young people started to embrace the values of peace, love and freedom and sought an alternative way of life. “Clothing styles and fabrics were inspired by non-Western cultures, such as Indian and African. Natural fabrics and tie-dyed and paisley prints were also popular.” (Skwirk 2) The hippie style involved handcrafted clothing, tie-dye, bell-bottom jeans, beading, fringe, and bare feet. The symbols of the movement at the time included flowers and the peace sign. “New blended fabrics were also developed, mixing man-made fibers with natural materials like cotton and wool. Prompted by the animal rights movement, new fabric technology also produced the first artificial fur and leather fabrics.” (skwirk)
Fashion in the 1970s was daring, carefree, and diverse. For women, skirts ranged from extremely long to drastically short and fabrics were bright and boldly patterned. Men wore their shirts tight, their trouser-legs wide and their moustaches long. 'Hippie' styles of dress entered the mainstream and new...

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