Australia's Social and Cultural History in the post war period. Chosen Decade - 1950s

Essay by joecarlingHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 2008

download word file, 8 pages 3.0

1950s fashion

Carrying on from the trends of the 1940s, clothes looked more affluent, posh and high-class. Women still dressed fairly formally with hats, gloves and stockings regarded as essential accessories. Women usually carried their handbags. American movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner also influenced women's fashion. Parisian fashions such as Christian Dior's "New Look" which featured pinched in waist and full skirts were eagerly sought out and copied by Australian women. Women also copied the conservative image of Sandra Dee. Department stores began to run fashion parades to feature all the latest overseas fashions and magazines such as "Australian Women's Weekly" and "Vogue". The fashion parades featured tips and ideas for fashionable dressing. Men still wore suits but new fashions were emerging for them in sport clothing as synthetic materials became popular. Sports jackets, sports shirts, Bermuda shorts and blue denim jeans became popular.

Middle-aged men still wore hats and had haircuts that tended to be close-cropped crew cuts. There were also changes to teenage fashion. By the late 1950s, the British 'Teddy Boy' style became the vogue for many young men. Stovepipe (narrow) trousers, narrow ties and pointed shoes became fashionable. Movie stars such as Marlon Brando from The Wild One created teenage fashion with Levis, ripple-soled shoes and leather motorbike jackets. Young men were influenced by James Dean who wore a white T-shirt and jeans. American rock stars such as Elvis Presley set a new style with leather bike jackets, tight trousers, white socks and black rubber-soled shoes. The boys that followed this trend were called 'bodgies'. They also used hair cream (Brylcreem) and, grew long sideburns. Girls, known as 'widgies' wore blouses and full skirts and petticoats that swirled during rock 'n' roll or jive dances. Schools maintained conservative dress standards.