Teen fashion changed dramatically between the 1950s and the 1960s. The 1950s were a more conservative time and teenage fashion reflected that. The styles, silhouettes and colours were classic and traditional. Teen fashion didn't change much from the 1950s until the mid-1960s when the growing hippie movement created a more relaxed cultural attitude that strongly influenced fashion, especially with young people. Teen fashion became more relaxed and colourful, and clothing that was considered inappropriate to wear in public before was suddenly acceptable.
Teenage girls wore mostly dresses in the '50s. It wasn't considered acceptable for women to wear jeans in public then. Dresses for teenagers in the '50s reached the knee and had full skirts. Shirtwaist dresses with buttons up the front and long sleeves were very popular. Teenage girls also wore sailor-inspired dresses with white trim and piping. In the 1960s, the silhouette started to change and dresses with full skirts started to go out of fashion. Slender sheath dresses became popular and the hemlines of dresses started to rise a few inches. Elbow-length or three-quarter-length sleeves on dresses replaced the traditional long sleeves.
Trousers and Skirts
Teenage boys often wore straight leg trousers with no pleats and no cuff at the hem in the '50s. Wearing jeans in public was not acceptable until the mid - to late '60s when the hippie movement triggered a more relaxed fashion trend. In the late 1960s bell-bottomed jeans became very popular with teenage boys and girls. In the '50s teenage girls often wore skirts that were usually calf-length and very full with petticoats underneath for added volume. By the '60s, styles had changed dramatically and miniskirts came into fashion. The silhouette of most skirts became slimmer and less full.
In the '50s, teenage boys and girls wore shirts and sweaters that were conservative and modest. Girls blouses were often button-down and had long sleeves. Girls sweaters and cardigans usually had high necklines and were often made of cashmere or wool. Teenage boys also wore cardigans and button-down shirts and often wore them with ties. Boys wore cowboy-inspired button-down shirts with gingham print. By the 1960s the style for women's blouses started to relax and the peasant blouse became popular. Teenage boys started wearing more loose and relaxed shirts too, such as T-shirts with psychedelic prints and tie-dyed colours.
Shoes that were popular with teenage girls in the 1950s were often dressy shoes such as saddle shoes, mary janes or small kitten heels. These shoes were often worn with white ankle socks. Teenage boys usually wore dressy shoes as well, such as oxford shoes or suede shoes. By the 1960s, young women starting wearing higher heels such as stilettos. Go-go boots also became hugely popular with young women. Teenagers often wore accessories such as wide belts with hip-huggers and bell-bottomed jeans. Ties were popular with young men in the 1950s but started to go out of style in the 1960s.