Essay on Life in the 1950s in America

Essay on Life in the 1950s in America

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The 1950s was a transition from conservatism and restraint and formality of the 1940s, to a freer, looser, more informal style. Throughout the decade it became much more acceptable for males to dress “for show” and both sexes became much more fashion conscious. Teenagers in this decade ruled the fashion industry. Before, the young people would follow the older people’s trends. The reason why the teen fashion industry sprouted was because their newly-affluent parents had a pocket full of money to give them, much of which was spent on the latest trends. In the 1950s, the men were back from war, meaning the women focused more of their role as homemakers. Women often sought clothing that was neat as easy to wash, which introduced the infamous fabrics of acrylic, spandex, and polyester. There was also a tremendous baby bloom occurring throughout this period, causing new and comfortable trends in maternity wear. “Adult men's fashion in the 1950s was largely quiet and conservative, which somewhat widened the generation gap between older men and the daringly dressed younger generation.” (Skwirk 1) The influx of American cinema and television brought many new fashion ideas to many young people, motivating them to copy and reproduce the fashion of their favorite movie stars and celebrities. Elvis Presley's style influenced the spirit and trends within the teen market. Teens all around the country began sporting his slicked back 'duck tail' hair style and long sideburns.
Young men in the 1950s began to wear brighter colors and flashy suits along with loose, unbuttoned shirts with popped collars. Throughout the 1950’s the women’s fashion was strongly influenced by rock n’ roll. Bright colors, defined waists, and poodle sk...


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... of styles that soon filtered through mainstream clothing.” (Skwirk 5) Also in the early nineties fashions worn by hop hop artists were becoming increasingly mainstream. And because of the growing popularity of hip hop music among the suburban community, urban styles were seen everywhere, not just in the big city. By the late 1990s hip hop style was arguably the most popular among young people. Starting in the mid-90s, industrial and military styles crept into mainstream fashion. People were finding any way to make a fashion accessory out of a piece of machinery. Camouflage pants were ironically worn by anti-war protesters. By the late 90s, rave culture swept through and people were looking for clothes that were more glamorous again. The grungy styles of the early nineties were old hat. Looking rich was cool again. Name brand designers were back in a big way.



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