1950's Fashion

1950's Fashion.mp4

Fashion in the 1950's

Fashion in the 1950's was for the most part still reflective of traditional American values.  

Men were most likely to wear muted colors like blacks, grey and whites and would wear suits or polos and khakis.  Women on the other hand began to wear clothes that had more design and color to them.  It was still about presenting yourself in a way that would be attractive to men. 

The 1950's was all about gender roles - men wanted to appear masculine and well put together and women wanted to appear feminine and a good provider.

Additionally, as Americans had more time, more money and a new place to live called "the Suburbs"  (thanks to the development and expansion of the highway system) a new gathering place was needed to encourage spending.  By 1956 the indoor mall was born and the American shopping experience would never be the same.


Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)

Task 2: Review the provided images and attached links for Fashion during the 1950's (15 minutes)

Task 3: Fashion and the Movies (30 minutes)

Go to GOOGLE CLASSROOM and find the Shared Google Slides document and claim ONE(1)  of the slides to share your findings

Men's Fashion

Slim fitting suits, skinny ties, Letterman jackets, bowling shirts, saddle shoes and chunky glasses defined the 1950s guy’s wardrobe. While hats were fading from fashion, men like Frank Sinatra kept the fedora hat and black and white shoes alive a little longer. Meanwhile, musicians like Elvis introduced trendy new suede footwear and actor James Dean made the classic white T-shirt and leather jacket a must for any greaser. Jocks wore Letterman jackets, blue jeans and Converse high tops. 1950s nerds set a new fashion trend with horn-rim glasses, high waisted pants, and pocket protectors.  (https://vintagedancer.com/1950s/1950s-mens-clothing/ )

Women's Fashion

1950s style clothing is timeless. Cool cats and hipsters made the 1950s decade iconic for its youthful freedoms and fun sense of style. Fifties fashion goes beyond poodle skirts and saddle shoes, however, because teenagers weren’t the only ones setting clothing trends. 1950s housewives played a role in defining the ultra-feminine style we love to wear today.  (https://vintagedancer.com/1950s/ )

The Mall Becomes a New "Third Place"

Victor Gruen, the Austrian-born architect, is credited with revolutionizing the way America shopped. Considered the inventor of the modern shopping mall, Gruen is best known for his work in designing the 800,000 sq. ft. Southdale Center, the country’s first enclosed shopping mall. With 72 stores and two anchor department-store tenants, Southdale opened in Edina, Minn., in 1956 – and transformed the retail environment and American consumption patterns.  With the rapid spread of the American household into new suburbs and the absence of "third places" (locations for people to gather outside of their home or work environments) in these new developments the idea of the mall was born.  Additionally, with consumerism rising and Americans having more time and more money than ever before, finding ways to help consumers spend in less than ideal weather conditions is a game changer.  In the hot summers and cold winters consumers came to enjoy the air-conditioning / heated spaces to gather and spend their money. 

The shopping mall grew in popularity from the first design in 1956 and influenced the shopping experience in America for decades to follow.  Even Walt Disney who opened Disneyland just one year earlier credited Victor and this design in influencing the creation of shopping centers at Disneyland in the years to follow.  Malls reached their peak in cultural influence and importance in the 1980's and led to the development of Mega Malls (like the Mall of America which opened in 1992) throughout America.  As the internet was developed and integrated in the daily lives of the American consumer, malls have become less culturally and financially relevant.  By the mid-2010's the death of malls as we know it today was all but certain unless a new vision for the mall as a relevant "third place" can be imagined in the years to come.