Living standards improved rapidly during the 1950s. Launderettes and home washing machines made looking after clothes easier. The Rock and Roll and American influence was everywhere. American culture made bomber jackets and casual shirts in bright prints popular with men. Teenagers were identifiable as a distinct group with spending power of their own.
The sac dress, the sheath dress, the A line and the H line all made a brief appearance on the fashion stage.
Italian styling especially on men’s suits and women’s leather shoes and bags were the ultimate sophistication. Stiletto heels were banned from some public buildings due to the damage they caused to the linoleum floors.
Key designers at the time were Christian Dior, Hubert Givenchy, Clare McCardell and Cristobal Balenciaga who designed for Audrey Hepburn.
Elegant clothing and accessories including fur became fashionable thanks to film stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell and Brigitte Bardot.
Menswear was static during the Second World War, the introduction of ready to wear clothing and easy care fabrics at last expanded the range of available for men. Sports jackets, stylish trousers with permanent creases became the norm.
During this period many new easy care fabrics emerged including Terylene, Orlon, Acrilan and Poplin. These led to different styles such as permanent pleating and pencil skirts.