The 1950s brought a new style to American society. With the war ending, many men went back to work in their offices and with the new efficiencies of the decade, they had more leisure time. Times were still conservative, but increasingly less conservative than the previous decades and this was demonstrated in their clothing.
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Suits were definitely the staple for most men in the '50s because they didn't have many options for what they could wear to work. You can't think of style in the '50s without the grey flannel suit coming to mind. The suit was single-breasted, shorter and without shoulder pads. Colours had to be dark, such as dark blue, dark brown or charcoal. Tie colour had to match the dark suit colour, however, they were thinner than in previous decades. The material used was typically wool, silk or cotton. The patterns were tweeds and stripes.
Leisure time did not call for a suit. The leisure style was cardigan sweaters, polos, flannel trousers with a comfortable sweater, patterned sports jackets and patterned button up shirts with the top button undone. Shirt patterns included stripes, checks, plaids, pastels, embroidered and Hawaiian inspired. They could be short sleeved or long sleeved. Levis and Wrangler jeans were worn for certain sporting events. Alternatively, men relaxed at home after work in their white shirt and suit trousers.
The 1950s saw a few trends arise such as the preppy look, the cowboy look and the rebel look. The preppy style included the polo shirt, cardigan sweater and khaki trousers. Perhaps influenced by TV westerns, the cowboy look included jeans with boots and checkered button up shirts. The rebel look includes jeans, a T-shirt or button up shirt, untucked, and a leather jacket. Wearing T-shirts was considered rebellious as they were thought of as underwear during that time. Men would also roll up their sleeves to show off their biceps.
Most men wore hats such as fedoras, homburgs or porkpies. Colours included dark blue, grey, charcoal and brown to match their suits. Loafers became increasingly popular. In the 1950s, men might wedge a penny in the cutout at the top of the shoe as the style. Cuff links always accompanied the suit. Tuxedos were used for formal wear. The style was a black jacket, black bow tie, satin lapels and vest, much like it is today.
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