1950s Men's Fashion & Inspiration
1950s men's fashion kickstarted a flirtation with casual style or leisurewear. However, the start of the decade belonged to the "man in the grey flannel suit." Coined by Ivy league students, the man represented the traditional breadwinner. The uniform consisted of a gray three-piece flannel suit. It included a long jacket with a pair of high-waist trousers.
Fifties pants were plain with no pleats. Fitted waists saw a decline in suspenders and less of a need for belts. Suits during the 1950s also dropped the shoulder pads and embraced a straight fit that hit mid-thigh. Jackets boasted two or three low sitting buttons and two welt pockets.
Men often wore their suits with white handkerchiefs in the breast pocket. Ties also became more narrow and available in a variety of patterns. Meanwhile, dress shoes became slimmer and toes almond shaped. Men purchased oxford shoes in brown and black.
A 1950s photo of actor Cary Grant in a coat of the era.
1950s Men's Fashion Outerwear
Outerwear became more of a style statement during the 1950s. Heating and cooling advances resulted in lighter outerwear that didn't need a lining. Texture and patterns decorated 1950s men's outerwear. Men wore casual jackets as well. Typical styles ranged from the bush jacket to the bomber jacket. The bush jacket was a mid-length jacket with a straight fitting body, slash pockets, and a fabric or fur collar.
Interestingly enough, the bomber jacket that remains popular today was initially called the Eisenhower after the president. Eventually, it lost its military-style pockets for a more relaxed look. Hats also became less popular during the 1950s. While older men continued wearing their fedoras or tremonts, youth favored adventurous hairstyles like the pompadour.
Men wear popular sweater styles of the 1950s.
The Beginning of Smart Casual Style
Advances in manufacturing and the development of synthetic materials brought the prices of clothes down. Men were able to embrace the latest fashion trends and purchase more clothes. It was during the 1950s that style became a combination of casual and dress aesthetics. Men could pair a sports coat with stylish knee-length shorts or a polo shirt. Men typically wore shorts with knee-high socks.
Corduroy was a significant 1950s trend with pants and jackets in various colors. Madras sports coats became popular with preppy men. Shirt jackets also became a staple for men in between seasons. On the other hand, the popularity of sweaters increased. Men wore both pullover sweaters and button-up cardigans.
The 1950s also introduced us to the letterman cardigan sweater. Another preppy option was the v-neck sweater. It was also called the "Award Sweater," "Varsity Sweater" and "Letter Sweater." The sweaters featured large felt block letters, which represented the school name. It quickly replaced the vest or waistcoat.
Youth or rockabilly greasers also made a statement with iconic 1950s men's fashion. Greasers wore leather biker jackets with the fashion trends of the time. Finally, footwear for the 1950s included the penny loafer, moccasin, saddle shoes, and Converse hi-top sneakers.