'50s Costume Ideas

Written by erin carson
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'50s Costume Ideas
Create costumes based on classic 1950s themes, such as car hop. (job series - waitress image by helenos from Fotolia.com)

The 1950s, a decade remembered nostalgically for the explosion of rock 'n' roll and the advent of sock hops and drive-in restaurants, remains a popular costume theme. Whether you plan on attending a '50s-themed party or want to create a homemade Halloween costume, the subgroups and cultural icons of the 1950s provide a number of different options.

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'The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit' Costume

Take inspiration from Sloan Wilson's classic book, which was made into an award-winning 1956 movie starring Gregory Peck, and dress as a symbol of 1950s conformity. Gray flannel suits were commonly worn by office workers in post-war America. Find your grey flannel suit in a thrift store or garage sale and pair it with a fedora hat. Carry a briefcase stocked with a copy of the book to help clue in people who might miss the significance of your costume.

1950s Greaser

The musical "Grease" immortalised the 1950s youth subculture known as the "Greasers," a working-class subculture focused on fast cars and motorcycles. Roll up the cuffs on a pair of straight-legged jeans and pair them with a plain white T-shirt. Don canvas tennis shoes or loafers. Add a generous amount of hair pomade to your hair and slick it back. Place a comb in your front pocket to make touch-ups easy. For the finishing touch, put on a black leather jacket with the collar turned up.

Sock Hop Girl

Rock 'n' roll began to thrive in the 1950s and teens often met at the sock hop to dance the night away. Poodle skirts, circle skirts with an appliqué of a poodle, were a popular clothing choice for evening dances. You can buy one at costume stores, such as HalloweenExpress.com or CostumeStore.com, or make one by ironing an appliqué onto a full skirt. Pair your skirt with a sweater set and pearls. Wear bobby socks or white socks rolled down and saddle oxford or canvas tennis shoes.

Girls might also wear rolled up jeans, a ponytail wrapped with a scarf, rolled down socks and an untucked oxford shirt for a more casual sock hop look.

Car Hop Waitress

Drive-in restaurants became popular in the 1950s and waitresses often delivered the orders while wearing roller skates. By adding a few accessories, you can transform a circle skirt into a no-sew car hop costume. Put on a circle skirt, any colour works fine. Add a plain white T-shirt and white ankle socks. Place a restaurant apron over your attire with a pencil and pad, as well as a supply of straws and napkins tucked into its pocket. Glue a variety of plastic food onto a plain serving tray. Wear roller skates and carry the tray over your shoulder.

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