If you think the women’s fashions were conservative then you’re going to drop off to sleep reading about men. Can you say gray flannel? They all basically dressed the same. Suit, tie, hat and all in the same drab colors of dark blue, dark brown and gray. Think of about a million Mr. Cunninghams, Ward Cleavers and Ozzie Nelsons. What’s with the cardigans fellas?
I don’t care what The Fonz told you, most teen boys dressed like preppy Pat Boone with the neat slacks, shirt and pullover sweater vest. Sure, there were a few rebels skulking around with the black leather, t-shirts and blue jeans, but just not as many as Hollywood would like you to think.
Men’s fashion in 1950’s Hollywood movies is a stereotype of the everyday man, which is businessman husband. The 1950’s costume for these roles: the husband in a dark and drab business suit and hat, lots of fabric in pant legs. Popular materials are cotton, silk, and wools. Wool Suits and Jackets of tweeds and patterns are the norm. The gray flannel suit is popular and worn by Hollywood men such as Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, and Rock Hudson. After work the businessman husband relaxes in looser clothing, loose pants, and shirt without tie.
For work and meetings the Hollywood actor wears his business suit. At social occasions we see Hollywood Men still in a suit, formal dress suit. During the 1950’s man made fibers are introduced, – nylon, rayon, and blends. The styles stay similar but the cloth material is lighter in weight, also color begins to be used in the fabrics. In the 1950’s men go from vests to cardigan sweaters. These colors, fabric and vest additions happen as the 1950’s progress.
In 1950’s Hollywood movies, the young crowd wears clothing similar to their parents. But we also see less formal clothes – from a loose jacket to a fitted sports jacket; to flannel pants and a nice comfortable sweater. In the later 1950’s the jacket gets longer, less structure to the shoulder and the pant legs narrower. In the movies “The Wild One” (1954) and “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), jeans and t-shirt is the dress wear for teen boys who want to make a statement.