06.01.2014

Pregnancy in the 50s

The 1950's spawned a wide variety of original and distinctive styles, presented with a classic new age twist.
Women especially dramatically altered the way they dressed and presented themselves; during the evolution of an increasingly liberated society, women began to favor casual, relaxed clothing over traditional dress rules and associated formality of previous decades. Growing increasingly popular, the full skirts of the 1950's needed some sort of support in order to maximize their look. Chanel also accessorized many of her designs with strings of pearls and collarless jackets, both of which were considered fashionable in the 1950's.
Until the 1950's, the term "teenagers" was not commonly used, and certainly not a targeted market group. These innovative conditions however produced a similar effect on the fashion industry: while so many things in the lives of Americans were changing, they stayed clear from the radical, intense fashions while preferring the normalcy of standard trends. Segregation was ended in 1954, which brought together black and white students for the first time though racial tensions were still high, and also birthed the existence of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.
Regardless of the world's issues, the top fashions that drove the industry were more influenced by those who were idolized by the consumers: celebrities. Most men in the 1950's maintained clothes with casual and modest colors, including dark blue, dark brown, and charcoal. Hats were also fashionable accessory for women in the 1950's, for the reason that they were believed to add a final touch of glamour to any woman's outfit. For America, recently recovering from catastrophic tragedies related to the second World War, the 1950's brought restored hope; a chance for a new way of life whose destiny would be decided by them alone.
Some of the most admired new trends for women in the 1950's included button-up sweaters with simple necklines, fitted blouses, and full knee-length skirts.
Perhaps one of the most classic fashion garments from the 1950's was Christian Dior's H-line of 1954, which consisted of a slender tunic-style suit with a slim skirt. In contrast to popular full and flouncy skirts, Chanel began creating the boxy, now classic Chanel suit jackets and skirts in trimmed and textured tweed. One of the most classic trends from the 1950's is the empire line, which was introduced in the late 1950's.


But with a new range of influences, including film, television, rock music, and magazines, teenagers began to be respected and acknowledged in the community.
Some of the most popular celebrities in the 1950's include Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Ricky Nelson, and of course, Elvis Presley.
His wild pegged pants and zoot suits concerned the conservative community of America, who hardly approved of such a "gender bending, race-integrating star" (SOURCE).
The occasional daring young man would wear pastel pink to stand out; a trend that was just gaining momentum in the 1950's. The pillbox hat, first introduced by Balenciaga and later modeled by Jackie Kennedy, became one of the trendiest accessories of the decade. Multiple influences from political debates, to economic issues, to new age celebrities and mass media all influenced the distinct styles and trends which identify the 1950's. The materials Chanel chose were always richly textured, which contributed to the finished product's high prices. This style was applied to dresses and shirts mostly, and was adored by teenagers who looked innocently childlike, hence the coined phrase "baby doll style". Often nicknamed the "Space Age", the 1950's was an important time in history for science and development as well.
More changes brought forth in the 1950's include the discovery of DNA, the launching of the first space satellite, an increase of women in the work field, and of course, rock and roll.
Elvis' bright and baggy clothes, makeup, and so called obscene dancing all acted as evidence of his single handed destruction of the morals of America's youth. Recovering from the casualties of World War II brought a lasting change to America, which was reflected in the fashions of this decade.
This fullness it created transformed the skirt who gave nothing more than a gentle swish, into a glamorous royal-like flutter.
Another designer, Hubert Givenchy created a Parisian style dress in 1957 which he called the Sack.
So many aspects of life changed during this period, perhaps partially attributed to the recent end of World War II.


Popular television programs such as I Love Lucy connected Americans on both sides of the Atlantic, bringing a sense of unity in the country.
All of these economic, social, and political changes in the world affected the American citizens, and therefore the fashion industry.
Elvis Presley was another huge influence in the 1950's; not only was he adored by millions of girls, but he was also an inspiration for men. The American women craved glamorous simplicity in their new lives, and as a new and liberated society evolved, the women of America began to liberate themselves by choosing which fashions they felt depicted them best.
Another significant fashion of this period is the swing coat, developed in the last 1940's by Jacques Fath. The empire line was also a striking contrast from what most mothers wore at the time, which contributed to its high approval among teenagers in America. There was flexibility in men's casual wear, and was a common sight to see shirt tails sticking out.
Not only were the 1950's important in history, but they also greatly transformed the face of fashion in America. The fitted evening wear of this period, which was usually sleeveless or strapless, was also emphasized with sheer silk. The silhouette of the swing coat was "designed perfectly to cover full skirts, and also ideal for the post war high pregnancy rate". A new consumer-based society was "forging ahead, helped by such new developments as the credit card system" (Baker, 6).
Though gloves came in many colors and styles, clean gloves whose color was white or cream were the most favored.



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