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Ten Trends from the Fabulous Fifties

By Shelby Burr

As every decade is marked by crazy trends or timeless fashion statements, the fifties were no exception. Regarded by many as the "fabulous fifties," the decade paved the way for a new era of fashion and entertainment. Here are 10 fabulous trends that blossomed in the 50s.


Soda Fountains

If you wanted a cold, refreshing drink or ice cream back in the 50s, soda fountains were the new answer. Put a jukebox, dance floor and soda fountain in a room with teenagers, and call it a party!

Poodle Skirts

One of the most memorable and fashionable trends of the 50s era, the poodle skirt was a bright, colorful, long, swingy skirt that hit just below the knees. The fabric used was mostly felt fabric, appliquéd with the image of a small poodle (hence the name "poodle skirt"). Both feminine and fashionable, these skirts were a definite eye catcher.

Sock Hops

High school dances of the 50s were typically informal, school-chaperoned events. The teens would remove their shoes and dance in their socks to protect the gymnasium floor. Combined with rock 'n' roll, the liberating feeling of removing shoes while dancing inspirited teens to shake,  jitterbug, rattle and roll giving way to a whole new style of dancing. The famous TV dance show "American Bandstand" featured brisk teenaged dancers showing off their moves.

The Conical Bra

No era went without some form of sex appeal. The conical bra was strangely the hit of the 50s. Also known as the bullet bra or torpedo, the cone-shaped bra obviously caught many eyes!


Elvis Presley and James Dean among others, had a pair of the hottest sideburns that were about one and a half inches below the ears. The whole sleek look with the leather jackets wasn’t complete without some gnarly burns.

Drive-In Theaters

Even though the first drive-in theater opened in 1933, it wasn't until 1950 that the new concept became a smash among both the young and old, as well as lovers and families.

Coonskin Caps

Another fad of the fifties, the coonskin cap was made famous by Fess Parker who wore one while playing the role of David Crocket in the 1954 Disney miniseries. The Disney show spurred about $100,000,000 in sales of the coonskin cap.

Hula Hoop

Who hasn't played with a hula hoop before? Yes, hula hoops date all the way back to the 50s. Being one of the biggest fads of that decade, the hula hoop gracefully stood the test of time.

Letter Sweaters

What better way to show off that you’re dating a jock than to wear his letterman jacket and sweater. Girls of the 50s made this trend their secret weapon to broadcast their prize-jock.

3D Movies

Arch Oboler's "Bwana Devil" stirred up the 3D craze of the 50s. It premiered in 1952 and people were provided with glasses that allowed experiencing the whole 3D effect. Sixty years later, 3D movies still get rave reviews.

It is no doubt that some of the fifties trends still live till today, and others are brought back to life every now and then. "Fabulous" is, indeed, a well-deserved label.



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