1950s Mens Fashion
The upheaval of 1950s mens fashion has had a lasting effort. The fashion trendsetter, of course, was Elvis Presley, as Rock and Roll entered mainstream. Not surprisingly, the 1950s welcomed the youth movement in fashion that echoed a more rebellious look. We saw a stark contrast between adult style and young male style. Both these 1950s styles still remain relevant today.
The mature and conservative style is best reflected in the show Mad Men, and the youthful counterpart style is best reflected in the “Elvis” crowd.
1950s Mens Fashion – Conservative Style
Don Draper’s sense of style accurately reflects the 1950s conservative style. Although it should be pointed out that the show takes place in the 1960s (but who’s keeping count). The key to this style is the “power business suit” look. This is based off the continental style. For those unfamiliar with the term, continental style means suits have structured and defined shoulders. The opposite is drape cut, which allows shoulder to be more natural looking. The point of the defined and structured shoulder is to show Masculinity and Power Status.
For most of the 1950s’s, suits were broad-shouldered and often double-breasted. Trousers became fuller and worn with cuffs. Lapels, unlike 1920s for example, were broader rather than narrow. By the late 1950s, a new continental style of suit appeared. This style had sharper shoulders, lighter fabrics, shorter, fitted jackets and narrower lapels. No matter which style is deployed, the key remains to wear a suit to indicate power status.
The modern 1950s style we’re seeing today focuses more on darker color and richer fabric. In the 1950’s, color wasn’t as rich. In fact, the gray flannel suit was as common as they come. Penny loafer was also popular. Hats, though declining in usage, was a key accessory.
1950s Mens Fashion – Youthful Style
The youth culture gained movement in 1950s, in which teenagers began to adopt their own sense of style and separate themselves from their conservative counterpart. One of the most important contrast is hair style. While adult male had conservative cut (e.g. crew cut), teenagers opted for the “wet hair” popularized by Elvis.
We would be amiss if we didn’t give some credit to the Teddy Boy (aka Ted) trend that come out of Britain. Young British men began to adopt this style and it steamed into the US (it was closely associated with rock and roll). The style is based on drape jackets and trousers.
The Elvis Presley style is dictated by great hair and good fitting clothe. Pants were usually an afterthought with the only requirement being that pants do not restrict movement and be fitting and not baggy. Top is more important. The style emphasizes neck exposure with the majority of buttons being unbuttoned on shirts. This is the signature “flirtatious” style that Elvis popularized. When Elvis did wear buttoned shirt, he made sure his jacket were unique and eye-popping.
So add color if you decide not to expose your neckline. Darker shade of bold color (red, yellow) is a nice addition for this style.
1950s Mens Fashion
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