Men as fashion trend setters in the 50s


by Tashina Cariappa

When you think of the 'Man in the fifties' you probably might think 'Elvis' or maybe even Fonz. Hey! Wait a sec, think again. They also included the officer and gentleman style. 

Men in suits! The formal look was haute couture. One thing that comes to my mind is the movie 'Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. 

To complement the suit was the hat. It was not just when the weather demanded, but was worn at all times.

There was not much scope to play with the color schemes. The hues were generally darker shades of blue and brown. It was long before anybody decided to be adventurous and play around with what the rainbow has to offer.

A more popular style was the cardigan sweater, that which was more comfortable rather than stylish was the sweater popularized by athletes called the 'letter sweater.' 

Jeans which has always been the epitome of casual wear was often worn with shirts that were tucked out. This gave a more relaxed look. A certain amount of flexibility was maintained in the casual look. I guess it has been the same for generations. 

What created a fashion stir was the launch of checked shirts. Boy! That was one graceful look. I am glad it was brought in to stay. A fashion phenomena inspired by those with more creative juices was 'the rage in pink'. Pink shirts were often accessorized by ties.

Then there was the Rodeo look. The cowboy hat and almost knee length boots had to be owned by those who were fashion conscious. This western look is often aped at theme parties in the 21st century. The studded jacket often made of leather was a prized possession.

Hollywood actors were often a source of inspiration in the fifties. Most of them sported the obedient husband look... Very stereotype in a business suit. The suits had an ample amount of fabric and were made of silk, cotton or wool. 

Coats, jackets and suits of tweeds were trendy. The preferred casual look was what the Hollywood greats, like Gregory Peck and Rock Hudson wore. 

They were loose pants and shirts which were tucked in but without a tie. White shirts with cuff links were also in vogue. 

The white shirts with open necks depicted a casual yet sophisticated look. Towards the late 50s one tends to notice a slip in the astute formality. 

A little casualness was brought in. Fine examples would be flannel pants and a nice sweater or jeans and a fitted sports jacket. 

Men went wild with patterns. Patterned shirts made a distinguished mark in the fashion industry of the 50s. The patterns that started off with checks, transformed into stripes, pastel shades and plaits. 

There was a certain element of eastern influence by way of embroidered shirts. 

Another amazing fashion extravaganza was the introduction of brightly colored shirts. Probably this was under the influence of the Caribbean nations or Hawaii. After the rage in pink, men started experimenting with more vibrant colors.

This gave a head start to more adventurous fashion statements in the sixties. The trend setters in Mens fashion were in the fifties. Three Cheers to them!

More articles by Tashina Cariappa

50's men fashion trend are very unique in nature. men's dress up in the 50s wear leather jacket and look like Hollywood stars or famous people -

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