Distressed from the effects of World War II, America started to recover from what was left of her. People were left with pains and sad memories but never lost faith that the 1950s will help them to pull through. It was in this age where fashion produced different ideas and unique styles in dressing. America’s transformation was seen in the fashion trends.
Most noticeable was the way women have changed their way of dressing. From the customary way of dressing, women decided to take a drastic change to a more informal way of dress codes. The 1950s fashion for women saw the emergence of button-up sweaters with uncomplicated necklines, blouses fitted to the body and knee-length skirts. The most common attire, however, are dresses which were worn informally. These dresses were given accentuation with halter straps, small collars or circle skirts. Dresses for evening wear were bolder, with pastel colors, ruffles, stunning velvet bows and tulle trim. Evening dresses that fit the body well are without sleeves or straps and are usually of silk fabric.
The full skirts was also made popular in the 1950s but needed a little augmentation to make them look better. This gave rise to nylon petticoats which were specifically made to be worn with full skirts in order for the latter to create extensiveness. Because of its good standards and the easy-to-care wash attribute, nylon was chosen for the petticoats. The addition of the petticoat gave the full skirts to have an elegant whoosh as against that of its mild whoosh without the petticoat. Jacques Fath in the last 1940s created the swing coat which was one more fashion milestone of this age. Created to completely cover full skirts, the swing coat also was the best for the high pregnancy rate after the war. A swinging dress which has an almost triangular form came into the fashion world in the 1950s and was known as the “trapeze dress”. This dress is usually partnered with a coiffure and low shoes. It was altered to a shorter baby doll tent dress and became in style in the subsequent decade. The 1950s brought into fame the old-fashioned designs of Christian Dior, known as the H-line of 1954. This is a combination of a slim skirt with a slender tunic-style suit. He also popularized the A and Y lines in this age. It was, therefore, right to say that Christian Dior conquered the fashion world in the 1950s. Women were given a more feminine look with his creations. In 1957, the Parisian style dress known as the Sack was created by Hubert Givenchy. This started the trend for linear-waist dresses. It later ended to free straight short shift dress from its original creation of a fitting darted cover dress.
And who wouldn’t know Coco Chanel? One of the major designers in the 1950s, Chanel brought into the scene the bauble and full skirts. The squared old-fashioned Chanel suit jackets and bedecked skirts and elaborate fleece were creations of Chanel. Since Chanel uses only richly elaborate materials, his creations are normally expensive. The outline of Chanel’s suits were direct and exquisitely lined with silk making it more cultured, classic and beautified the details. A series of pearls and jackets without collars were added to Chanel’s designs and has become very much in fashion in that age. Introduced in the late 1950’s, the empire line is one of the most considered old-fashioned trends. The empire line of clothing was focused on shirts and dresses and became a hit to the teens because of their virtuousness; thus, the term “baby doll style” was thought of. In the 50s, teens were to dress like adults. Because of its outstanding distinction from what mothers used to wear during that time, the empire line got the attention of America’s teen population.
Teenagers were not regarded as a market group. If not for the influences from magazine, television, films and rock and roll music, teenagers would still be striving to be recognized. Called the “Space Age”, the decade of the 1950s played a significant role in the advancement of the world as well as in history and science. The end of World War II was claimed to institute the changes in the life aspects of Americans in that epoch. At that time, America had come forward with a fresh character and wealth. The dawning of the credit card system brought to life the consumer-based society which contributed and influenced the world of fashion extensively. As a lot of things were changing in the life of Americans, they opted to turn away from the radical way of fashion but instead adopted the normality of usual trends. It was a time when it felt good to be normal. It was also in the 1950s when television sets became a part of American homes. The sense of unity among Americans was strengthened by programs such as I Love Lucy as it reached both ends of the Atlantic. The black and white separation was put to an end in 1954 allowing students to be together in one school regardless of their color. It was in this epoch that Martin Luther King, Jr. became known. Americans also feared the spread of communism that has reached other countries. The launching of the first satellite in space, the DNA discovery, more women getting employed and rock and roll were the other things that added light in the 50s. The world of fashion was affected by economic, political and social changes in the world.
However, fashion was, to a great extent, swayed by the favored celebrities of consumers despite of issues concerning the world. James Dean, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe were just some of these celebrities whose manner of dressing was adored by consumers. The sexy but uncomplicated style of Marilyn Monroe was emulated by American women who were unmindful of their shape and size. Considered a big influence, Elvis Presley had a huge following especially from the female crowd in the 1950s. He, nonetheless, also became an inspiration to the male crowd. Presley deviated from the conventional outfit worn by men at that epoch which consist of navy suits and ties. Following the African American way of outfit, Elvis Presley wore undomesticated pegged chinos and soot suits that made the conservative groups in America to react. The makeup, vivid and loose-fitting clothes and the earthy dance moves of Elvis Presley was held responsible for the devastation of the morals of the youth. Not the entire male crowd imitated Elvis anyway. A lot of them, though, preferred to the conservative way of dressing.
Men’s clothes in the 50s were normally in unpretentious hues like charcoal, dark blue and dark brown. Daring young men occasionally would don pastel pink just to stick out. It has earned a downbeat in that epoch nevertheless. Popular among older men and athletes are the cardigan sweaters, collared jackets, vests that snugly fit the body and tartan woolens. Men’s fashion had a touch of flexibility at that time and it is an ordinary scene to see shirt tails coming out. It was also in the 50s that the fedora hats for men became an essential element in their wardrobe.
If fedora hats for men became available in the 50s, women’s fashion was also invaded with these chic accessories in the same epoch. Hats were regarded as the ultimate element to make any kind of woman’s attire glamorous. Fashion designer, Balenciaga, pioneered the pillbox hat in the 50s. Jackie Kennedy became the famous wearer of the pillbox hat and with that this Balenciaga hat was considered as one of the up-to-the-minute and cool fashion accessories of that period. Since then, numerous other hats entered the world of fashion for women. Swathed in flower petals with some embellished in georgette twirls were the other presentation of women’s hats. Women with high stature in society wore gloves on their hands to finally complete their attire. Gloves were ordinarily made of cotton because nylon and leather are very expensive. Also at that time, cream and white hues of gloves were the most popular choices even though different colors and styles of gloves are available. In the same way, trimmings of fur and decorated collars were enormously chic in the 50s. Another sensational and attractive accessory at that time was the brooches.
The decade where fashion took a complete turn from its predecessors was the 1950s. The diverse modes and fad in the ’50s were profoundly swayed by issues concerning the economy, politics as well as the mass media and celebrities. It was a time when Americans were making progress after the total destruction created by World War II which was entirely mirrored by the 1950s fashion trends. The women of America yearned for exciting yet alluring straightforwardness in their life. With that, women started to make their own choices with regards the clothes they wanted to wear that will make them more comfortable and at ease. The 1950s really was an epoch that made a mark in world history not only with the various discoveries made but similarly with the transformation it made in America’s fashion world.