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A timeline history of Shoes and Fashion

The 1950's:
BOBBY SOCKS, ROCK & ROLL AND THE OZZY & HARRIETT SYNDROME

WHAT’S GOING ON? 
The 1950’s were conservative, optimistic and interlaced with the new hypnotizing realms of Television.  Ed Sullivan!  Elvis shaking his pelvis.  The New York Yankees, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.  I Love Lucy.  Marilyn Monroe.  American Bandstand. 
1950's diner




<Left: Detail. Rosie's Diner IV. Robert Gniewek.




The war was over and life was good.   Families worked together, played together and vacationed together.  Girls played with Barbie dolls and boys played Davy Crockett. Everything was perfect and proper. Drive-in movies and diners and the hula hoop! 

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WOMEN’S FASHION:
Forget that pesky women’s lib crap, please.  She’s got a house to clean.  And children to raise.  And barbecues and cocktail parties to plan.  Yes, the focus of women in the fifties was to be the best Little House Wife they could be and look damn good while doing it.  June Cleaver always wore pumps and pearls while vacuuming Ward’s study, now didn’t she?  (although according to sources, real women didn’t dress that way.  For shame!  They wore wrap dresses, which is still quite dressy compared to today’s standards.)lady's 1950's fashion




Right: Spiegel catalogue, 1955>








There were many occasions to dress up and dress up she did.  Christian Dior’s “New Look" and Coco Chanel helped out immensely with their glamorous designs to give her the “every inch the lady” look that was taught virtually from the cradle.  She wore gloves and simple feminine swing or pencil styled skirts that accentuated the hour glass figure (with the help of a girdle, naturally), because not only did she have to be the perfect wife and mother she had to have the perfect body too.

teen girl



<Left: Typical teen fashion for girls.







Teen girls were as conservative and preppy as their parents.  They wore dresses everyday, for pants and shorts were simply unheard of.  They wore Petticoats over big gathered shirts. Circle pins. Cardigan sweaters worn backwards with the buttons down the back with a string of pearls or scarf.  And don't you forget the peddle pushers. 

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WOMEN’S SHOES:
And thank you Charles Jourdan for the stiletto.  The race to achieve the slimmest possible heel was foremost in shoe design. Gone were the prior decade's chunky styles and in came the new light pumps with cut toes, curved vamps and enticing “v” shapes with molded heels.
gold stilletos




Right: Metallic Gold Stilettos. 1950>







Every color imaginable was used to match every possible outfit perfectly. (There goes that perfection thing again, it must have been exhausting to be a women in the fifties.) 

saddle shoes



<Left: Teen girls wore loafers with white socks, saddle shoes, flats and ballet slippers.






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MEN’S FASHIONS:
If you think the women’s fashions were conservative then you’re going to drop off to sleep reading about men.  Can you say gray flannel?  They all basically dressed the same.  Suit, tie, hat and all in the same drab colors of dark blue, dark brown and gray.  Think of about a million Mr. Cunninghams, Ward Cleavers and Ozzie Nelsons. What’s with the cardigans fellas?
ozzie nelson



<Ozzie Nelson sporting the conservative cardigan look.







I don’t care what The Fonz told you, most teen boys dressed like preppy Pat Boone with the neat slacks, shirt and pullover sweater vest.  Sure, there were a few rebels skulking around with the black leather, t-shirts and blue jeans, but just not as many as Hollywood would like you to think. 
james dean




Right: James Dean & Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause>







There was another odd trend of the "Teddy Boy” look which originated in England consisting of a suit with drainpipe trousers with four inch cuffs, and long single breasted jackets with velvet trim.  (Think Stray Cats) They sported side burns with long hair swept back with oil.  Guess they were tired of the usual ducktail and crew cut.

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MEN’S SHOES: 
To go with along with their conservative clothes, men wore conservative shoes. No surprise there.  Black and white converse tennis shoes, two toned suede or white bucks.
white bucks




<Left: White buck Shoes.







Don’t forget the standard oxfords.  The Teddy Boys wore suede shoes with thick soles called "brothel creepers," worn with vivid Day-Glo colored socks.  How shocking. 

For more images of 1950's shoes, please visit my Styles Gallery

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~KBCreations. Copyright 2006

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