Men women teenagers & children's clothing of the 1950s

Written by alyssa ideboen
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Men women teenagers & children's clothing of the 1950s
Dresses of the 1950s typically had form fitting bodices. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

The sensible, guileless clothing worn in the 1950s was both functional and beautiful for children, men and women. As opposed to the more brightly coloured decades of the 1970s and '80s, fabrics in the 1950s focused on small patterns and mild colours. Emulate some of the style of the 1950s by learning about how individuals commonly dressed for both formal and casual occasions.

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Men's Clothing

Men wore more formal clothing even in their casual wear than they do in today's fashion. At the office, you could commonly see a man dressed in a flannel or wool suit in a solid colour. A collared shirt and thin narrow tie usually accompanied the ensemble. A more casual look would find the 1950s man wearing a patterned sports coat with a polo shirt without the tie. A cardigan sweater was worn instead of a jacket on occasion as well. Trousers had a higher waist; the waist could be as high as the rib cage for some trousers.

Women's Fashion

During the day women wore calf-length dresses, either with a full skirt or a fitted sheath. The full-skirted dresses were commonly made out of a cotton blend and were usually created out of floral prints. Sheath dresses directly contrasted the full-skirts both in pattern and in colour. These fitted dresses were made out of wool crepe or satin cotton and designed in a solid colour. A woman completed her outfit with a silk scarf, silk stockings a pair of pumps and costume jewellery. A brooch or nice pair of earrings could be just the finishing touch a '50s woman needed to complete her outfit.

Teenager's Styles

The full poodle skirt with a matching sweater or blouse that is traditionally worn as a Halloween or other costume party was not far off from the way teen girls dressed in the 1950s. A dress with a fitted bodice, three-quarter length sleeves and a full skirt that fell to the mid-calf was a usual outfit. Almost all girls were expected to wear over-the-knee socks or stockings.

Teen boys dressed slightly more casually than their older counterparts. Slacks, a polo shirt with a matching cardigan or sweater were worn in conjunction with shined shoes. Suit jackets boasted padded shoulders and were worn with a patterned tie.

Children's Wear

Young girls wore dresses that fell to the knee with calf-length socks. A patterned jumper with a coordinating blouse was another style young girls wore in the 1950s. A common motif was the sailor outfit; a full, knee-length skirt and fitted bodice in a navy blue, decorated with a wide white collar. A red bow and trim enhanced the collar and a matching blue and red cap completed the outfit.

Boys wore what their older brothers wore; trim trousers with a polo along with a sweater. Shined shoes with bobby socks also went along with the style. Boys rarely wore shorts until later in the decade.

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