Casual Styles for Men in the 1950s

Written by laurel handfield
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Casual Styles for Men in the 1950s
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Men's casual styles in the 1950s frequently featured several pieces, including khakis, vests and casual shorts with slip-on shoes. The casual look in this decade also was inspired by television programs. The mid-50s show "Gunsmoke" was one of the first Westerns to inspire fashion. The fashion industry took note, and during the series' run on television, stores sold cowboy shirts for men as casual weekend wear.

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Men's casual shirts in the 1950s took a plaid turn. Pink was a popular colour for men in this era, and plaid often included pink and blue; multicoloured shirts featured yellow and black. Men often wore shirts untucked with the tail out.

Influenced by television westerns, men also wore cowboy shirts in plaids and solid colours as casual wear. Skinny ribbon ties and patterns around the shoulders and wrists added to this look.

While some men wore jackets as casual wear, the preferred look was the cardigan sweater. Cardigans came either short-sleeved or long-sleeved and in various colours. A short-sleeved cardigan without a tie was considered casual. Longer-sleeved cardigans with ties were considered a dressier, but still casual, look for men.


Khakis were a fashion staple in 1950s casual men's wear. Men wore them around the house after work hours and on the weekends. The 1950s khaki pant had a plain front, heavy zipper fly and was cut with a slightly tapered leg.

Early weekend mornings, men lounged in their drawstring-style pajama trousers. Pajama trousers were either striped or a solid colour and made from soft cotton.

Men's casual wear also included weekend shorts that were often made from a cotton/polyester blend. Another popular short pant fashion included the button-fly white cotton/twill style, with two pockets at the front waist. These shorts were worn for outdoor activities like walking and tennis.


The slip-on shoe was the style of choice in casual footwear for men. Slip-ons were dressy enough to wear to work, but comfortable enough to wear around the house.

The Clarks shoe also was proper casual footwear for a man in the 1950s. It is an ankle-high boot with military inspiration. Men wore this soft, suede shoe in the early 50s, and the style gained momentum in the latter part of the decade.

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