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8 Things We Learned From 1950s Men’s Fashion
- Updated: February 4, 2015
By Erika Hayes
He sat calm, cool and collected but his ensemble said it all. The camera zoomed into the crisp, ivory, button-down shirt that peaked above the neckline of his brown, tweed, finely-tailored blazer.
Sound like a campaign for J.Crew’s 2015 men’s wear collection? What if I told you that this scene was pulled from the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean? Style is very unique yet also predictable.
Each era has made its own contribution to the evolution of fashion. However, there is one decade that distinguishes itself from the others…the 1950s. This period greatly impacted and widened the scope of individuality. Self-expression by way of fashion began to take its shape. For these reasons, we pay homage to “The Fabulous Fifties” by revealing eight things we learned from 1950s men’s wear trends.
1. Less is always more – The 50s taught us that less always is king of the castle when it comes to style. Too many accent pieces can completely kill the look that you want. For example, your simple black blazer, AC/DC print tee and medium wash boot cut jeans were destined to kill the social scene, that is until you decided to throw on your spiked combat boots, pull out your Texas Rangers baseball cap and slide into your black leather biker jacket. In the words of Disney’s Frozen character Elsa, Let it go. Let it go.
2. A dapper suit never will die – Self-proclaimed “bachelor until he dies” (a.k.a. your best bud) has finally found the girl of his dreams and is eloping this weekend and you’re his best man. Forget renting a suit, you can use your own. Who wants to pay $100 for something that they should have in their closet anyway? Can you say a month’s worth of happy hour allowance?
3. Cuffed straight-legged jeans – for men are the precursor to this generation’s “menijean” (men + skinny jean = menijean). Why our generation stripped the original tough and sexy style to reveal scrotum hugging, soft and curvy attributes in denim, one will never understand.
4. How to clean-cut preppy it – V-necks, crisp, collared shirts and cardigans, will never go out of style. Mix and match with dark or light wash jeans, slacks, and/or your favorite shorts.
5. Wool and leather bring a look together – The 1950s paved the way for interesting (or at least during that time) garment textures. During colder months such as these, a wool military jacket reigns supreme. Don’t forget the classic leather biker jacket. Let’s face it, without leather jackets, the motorcycle club would be less intimidating and Elvis’ legendary sex appeal would cease to exist.
6. Bow ties – are the older more refined cousin of the traditional tie. Just envision an older fine white wine, the longer it sits the better it gets.
7. How to properly layer pieces – When it comes to layering, we learned from the best. Who knew that a collared shirt could stealthily slide under a cashmere sweater and a military jacket? Hey, when you know better, you do better.
8. Wingtip, loafer and saddle shoe mania! Shoes are a peek into your personality. The wingtipped shoes bring the class, while the loafers are your back-up plan just to say that an effort was thrown in, when you are running late to work, church or a nice dinner. Last but not least, who could forget the saddle shoe? Our generation most recently (the last few years) revisited this trend that was a quintessential shoe staple for the 1950s male.