Until 1950 the term teenagers had never before been coined.Children were known as girls & boys were known as youths once they displayed the signs of puberty. Then young people were grown up at 18 and fully adult legally at 21 when they often married and set up a home of their own, even if it was a rented room. Getting married was a way of showing the adult world that you belonged to their world and was a way of escape from puberty.
The young couple of the 1950’s
1950?s Teenage Consumers
The fashion market in the 1950?s was very wide for teenage consumers,because in this period teenagers were highly influenced by film,television,magazines and rock music.This was the time post world war 2 & the fashion industry for teenagers saw a boom despite the conditions.
These single young people with cash from paid work soon had their own fashions, own music, own cafes, own milk bars and by the end of the decade even their own transport.Teenagers suddenly dominated style in clothes,haircuts and even travel abroad.
Teenage Fashion Idols
American fashion idols influence on European teenagers was so huge that they started following them in their daily lives.
Rock and Roll idols including Elvis Presley, Bill Hayley, Jerry Lee Lewis and film stars James Dean and Marlon Brando set fashions almost unwittingly. The main looks for teenagers were greasers and preppies.
Greasers followed the standard black leather and denim jeans look set by Marlon Brando in ?The Wild One? (1953) and later emulated in the 1978 film called ?Grease?.
Marlon Brando in the ?THE WILD ONE (1953)?
Preppie qualities were neatness, tidiness and grooming. Teen girls wore full dirndl or circular skirts with large appliqus on their clothing. Neat pleated skirts were also popular.
The Preppie look
The Beatnik look
This look was originated in Paris,spread to other countries of Europe an then to America.Girls in cafes listening to poetry or singers with guitars,wore peadl pushers with flat ballerina pumps with straps around the legs.
The Beatnik look
As the trend for a beatnik look developed,overseized chunky long sweaters with huge cowl collars were worn over slim fitting pencil skirts.The girls usually had a french pleat hairstyle.Wearing all black was the choice of ?Beatniks?.
The Teddy Boy Look
The teddy boy was an important look in fashion history of the 1950s.As an extreme look it is remembered and all conventional looks of the day tend to be overlooked.It is worth remembering that when costume history documents a look it is almost ways in retrospect and hones on the final extremes of any look.
This look developed in Britain and Teddy is short for ?Edwardian? since the shape looked like the dandy(excellent) of that period.Boys wore ?stove pipe? or ?drainpipe? trousers,very tight at the bottom and long single breasted jackets with velvet collars.
Teddy boy clothes were not cheap to buy and when custom tailored,usually cost up to ?100 for one outfit.An ordinary mass produced drape suit cost approximately ?20 and shoes for ?3.So sporting a new suit indicated to peers how well an individual was doing Money-wise.