“It was different in the USA, where wartime restrictions had been quickly removed, and where the new ‘consumer society’ was forging ahead – helped by new developments such as the start of the credit card system in 1950. But these differing conditions produced a similar effect on fashion both in Europe and America – a tendency to prefer the safe and normal, a veering away from the radical and extreme. ‘Normal’ felt good, especially with the memory of the war still so fresh in many people’s minds” (Baker 6). Fashion is an important aspect to people’s lives, and is influenced by various parts of society. Sometimes there are practical reasons behind certain fashion trends, but there are some trends that have no apparent origin or purpose. Fashion can also influence other parts of popular or high culture, including music. “Rock n’ roll,” the music of the 1950’s, displayed young people’s (17-25 year-olds) interest in clothes, as heard in such pop tracks as “White Sports Coat” and “Blue Suede Shoes” (Baker 12). Regardless of purpose or origin, “style [in the 1950’s] often meant super luxury, whether it was the use of lots of shiny chrome or lace, shimmering with sequins” (Baker 11). During the 1950’s, style was not only a portrayal of one’s sense of fashion – it was a portrayal of who you were.
In the 1950’s, the role of a woman was to be in the home, and particularly in the kitchen. “Yet the usual media image of a housewife showed her not as a mother in comfortable trousers and sweater, or loose dress, suitable for such work, but as a doll-like figure dressed in rustling, full skirts, nipped waist and narrow-fitting bodice. Even her apron had deep frills and a heart-shaped top and pocke...
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...er vests and chinos as leisurewear, then people were that much closer to being “normal.”
- Baker, Patricia. Fashions of a Decade: the 1950s. New York: Facts on File, Inc.,
An edition of a series that illustrates the most influential trends in twentieth-
century fashion. Focuses on fashion as an integral part in the arts, technology,
politics, and society.
- Stott, Jon C., Raymond E. Jones, and Rick Bowers, eds. The Harbrace Anthology of
Literature 2nd ed. Toronto: Harcourt Canada Ltd., 1998.
An anthology of various literature, ranging from poetry, to prose, to plays.
- Unknown Author. “Fashion 50s.” Yesterdayland Web Site. 2000.
http://www.yeaterdayland.com/popopedia/shows/fashion/ (17 Mar. 2002).
A web-site showcasing fashion trends throughout the decades of the twentieth-century.
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