Popular music indicated that America’s youth held an interest in fashion with such hit songs as “White Sports Coat” and “Blue Suede Shoes.”
However, people aged 15-21 were ignored by department stores and were expected to dress like their older counterparts. This was true despite the fact that people in that age group had a whole lot of disposable cash at that time.
Fashion designers sold full skirts and stiff petticoats, or a super-slim skirt and sweater with bows. Tight-fitting pedal pushers or capri pants were popular leisure wear and jeans (which in the 1950s were called dungarees) were becoming acceptable after people saw a photo of Marilyn Monroe wearing a pair.
Young men wore a shirt, tie and sharply pressed slacks. If you were the rebellious type, however, you wore dark clothes all the time, refused to iron anything and were just generally looking rough on purpose.
One 1950s fad for girls was to wear a man’s shirt outside their jeans. In high school, a soft sweater paired with a collared blouse was a smart look.
People definitely dressed up special for formal events. For weddings and proms, young women wore fancy dresses like their elders. But clothing choices were quite a bit different for informal school dances.
Many teen girls preferred full skirts, some with 4-inch hems. These skirts were often made of wool felt fabric in bright colors, including the world famous poodle skirt. The 1950s circle skirts were worn with tucked-in, tight fitting blouses. It was usually tied together with a wide belt, flat-heeled shoes and bobby socks or anklets.