The 1950s were pivotal and intense. The World War had left its impact on every aspect of life. Fashion was no exception. The dressing sense of 50s was traditional and somewhat conservative, even for men. In this complete guide, we will not only introduce the 1950s men’s fashion in all its glory, but also give you a wholesome ‘how-to rock it’ experience.

Vintage

This glorious era saw a major shift in men’s fashion. The dull greys and brown quickly transitioned into vibrant shades as soon as the war dust vanished in the air. The major highlight of this fashion transition was in terms of casualness. It felt like that the youth is main driver of this change.

A brief background of 1950s Men’s Fashion Transition

Before the bright and bold colors and patterns came into the look book of men’s fashion, grey and brown colors were must haves in any man’s wardrobe. The mid and late 1940s were dominated by world politics, finance, economic showdowns and what not. Apart from grey hues, subtle blue and brown were the few other options for men who wanted to stand out. But yes, that was pretty much all the fun in men’s fashion at that time.

A Vivid Emergence: 1950s Men’s Fashion

As soon as the WWII calmed down and guns and bullets were out of sight, people started coming back to life. They started to look for ways to let go of the war zone. Fashion was one of those things which they deemed to change. Although the grey and brown wasn’t so bad, everyone needed a pop of color.

1950s Men’s Fashion

The ‘Peacock’ Fashion

Big patterns, bright and pastel shades, heavy textures and bold sportswear quickly made its way into the new men’s fashion post WWII. Right after successfully coming out of a warzone, 1950s was a prime time to be alive in. People were joyous and celebratory and it was reflected in what they wore.

1950s men’s fashion was sleek, clean and super dashing. Iconic figures like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Clark Gable, and James Stewart pulled off numerous looks. These looks soon became the go-to styles for every man in the West as well as slipped into the wardrobes of men all around the globe.

How to Rock 1950s Men’s Fashion like a Pro

Here comes the part you have been impatiently waiting for. Now that you have clearly understood the gist of 1950s fashion, it’s time to buckle up and take down some notes for flaunting the 50s Men’s dashing looks. We will highlight every possible nitty gritty of the vivid 50s.

Tailoring

1950s men’s clothing was mostly sleek and straight. There were little or no experiments done with regards to the tailoring techniques for men’s clothes. Baggy shirts were in. Even business suits were straight and loose. 50s men stood tall, thin and well-dressed both casually and formally.

The casualness and youthfulness in men’s dresses didn’t overshadow the authoritativeness in their personality. They accepted the fashion trend in its full glory but defined their stature and respect too.

Patterns and Textures

1950s Men’s fashion depicted patriotism and joyfulness.  The fashion trend was immensely influenced by American youth. The high morale reflected in the men’s clothing choices. The patterns and boldness of textures clearly showed the aestheticism that poked out from the beaming post-war happiness and peace among people.

Patterns and Textures

Men were ready to accept new changes. They were ready to experiment and have fun with their clothes. The 50s men’s fashion was inspired by college boy looks. It was preppy and youthful. This trend is best done in a subtle way. Overdoing the technique might come off like a costume and seem unnatural.

Stripes, checks, plaids, ginghams and subtle prints are the best options when choosing textures and patterns for fabric. The style, sophistication, youthfulness and business classiness, all were amalgamated in 50s men’s fashion.

Colors

To rock 1950s men’s look, do not lay eyes only on bold and monochromatic looks. Go beyond blue, black, and grey. The 1950’s fashion embraced vibrant and bright colors too. Especially if we talk about casual and sporty wear, red, yellow, and bright green became very popular.

The formal dress code remained monochromatic but started including patterns and designs for coats and shirts. Ivy League men were always dressed in Madras Super Coats. The classic gingham and plead patterns were super in, in deep red, bottle green, blue and brown colors.  

The 1950s Men’s Suits

If you watch movies and TV shows of 1950s era, you will mostly notice the businessman look. Grey, blue, and brown flannel suits were the in thing. Dark brown and blue also made its way in into men’s formal wardrobe.

1950s Men’s Suits
1950s Men’s Suits

From an office clerk to the head of an organization, every man wanted to look super American, devoted, authoritative and patriotic. This basically meant that they looked almost the same in flannel suits. Although he post WWII years were exciting, the men conformed to the order of respectful days. With the business suits, the conservative sense prevailed.

The Iconic Business Sporty Coats

A very prominent item from 1950s men’s fashion is the Sporty Coat. It was equally liked formally and casually. Plain and simple shirts and tees were paired with textured and patterned coats. Layering was very trendy. Colors for the coats were seasonal and men chose darker hues.

Iconic Business Sporty Coats

These coats were mostly made of Wool Fiber or Corduroy. Contrasting leather elbow patches became part of these coats. For casual wear, bold patterns were preferred and for office wear, a simple and plain look was deemed suitable.

bold patterns

The Shirts and T-Shirts from 1950s

The office looks from 50s included plain, loose and monochromatic styles. However, the major head turner was the casual wear of this era. The casual shirts were collared, button down, bright, striped, or patterned. Colors varied from pastels to bold hues.

T-Shirts from 1950s

Knitted, Hawaiian and shirt-jacket styles were most popular. For the shirts, two-sided pockets added a major Western look to the attire. Vertical stripes and abstract prints on English Green, Tea Pink, and Teal Turquoise were very famous choices.

Bottoms

The common rule was to wear a patterned sports coat with plain and straight or textured pants. Same colors were preferred for the bottoms but sometimes the opposite was also chosen. Too much prints or texture was considered overboard and tacky.

The fabric for pants and shorts was mostly Linen, Wool Fiber, Cotton, or even polyester. The waist line was high, hence use of suspenders was very common to hold the loose pants and shorts up. The creased-front look in the slacks gave a tall dimension to male figure. By the end of 50s the leg bottoms narrowed down from the flapper style. The waist level lowered to belly and the creased look was also made softer. Even pastel and light shades made their way into men’s slacks.

textured pants

Accessories

1950s men’s fashion included pretty stunning head wear and other accessories. Hats were textured and patterned. Ties were vibrant and liked with bold patterns. Suspenders became very common due to the loose and straight bottoms. Retro braces, bow ties, Trilby Hats, college-style sunglasses, pleated cravats, and scarves were the epitome of 1950s men’s accessories.

Footwear

Conservativeness in dressing for men meant a transition in footwear as well. Bulky and chunky shoes were replaced by slimmer options. Almond shape with thin sole and shape became popular.

Colors mostly revolved around brown and black for formal shoes but the dual toned options from 1930s and 1940s were still liked by many. Dress shoes had a requirement of low-heeled soles. Moccasins, Penny Loafers with and without tassels, and Suede shoes became increasingly popular. Casual looks included more colors. Even patterned and fabric-like textures on shoes became prevalent.

Footwear

In 50s, due to loose and long bottoms, socks were mostly hidden inside. With shorts, men loved to show off some interesting choices of socks. Argyle socks were very popular. Even geometric and colorful designs attracted youthful men and young boys.

Conclusion

It’s always a good idea to look back in time for some fashion inspiration. The mid 1900s are surely a prime time period for this purpose. What makes this time the most interesting is the transition that happened after the World War. People tried and tested new things, and even men were all excited about the trendiness. The political and economic conservativeness washed a little bit. Men started wearing clothes to feel good.

The office, casual and winter attires as well as clothes for each season and occasion saw some sort of new look. The super hit bands like Rolling Stones paved the way for the 50s fashion and made it even more pivotal.

Therefore, do not hesitate in going 1950s vintage. Things might look very different from how they were back then, but a retro fashion statement never hurts. Instead, it makes you look not only sleek but super attractive too.