The 1950s were a prosperous time for the American economy and culture. From the Baby Boom to Hollywood Stars and new inventions, the 50s are still coveted today for their vintage yet stylish trends. Many trends today are inspired by this time period of American nostalgia. Since the 1950s are many people’s favorite time period, let’s look at five 1950s trends that should make a comeback!
1. 3D Movies
As early as 1903, filmmakers were experimenting with 3D movies such as L’arrivvee du Train to try to convince audiences a train was coming right at them! This revolutionary idea for the film industry was aimed at providing a more immersive and realistic experience for viewers. The golden age of 3D started in 1952 with the movie Bwana Devil. It set the industry standard for 3D movies, and soon 3D glasses were being sold as an amazing new technology. 3D movies were such a hit in the 1950s, some comic books even started printing in 3D for their readers!
Rather than film movies in 3D, most modern 3D movies are converted from 2D after the filming process. However, there is still a chance that 3D movies could make a comeback. The upcoming Avatar movie, Avatar: Way of the Water, will be made utilizing a new 3D method that will eliminate the need to wear 3D glasses during a showing. If this technology catches on, it could start encouraging filmmakers to record their movies in 3D instead of converting them afterwards. It could also encourage people to go see more 3D movies, since they won’t have the hassle of dealing with 3D glasses.
2. Voluminous Skirts
In the 1950s, women’s fashion focused on highlighting curvy bodies and figures, leading to a rise in popularity of voluminous skirts. Women wore a variety of different dresses and skirts, most notably the famous poodle skirt. The flowy skirt added an extra touch of femininity, and a tucked in blouse created a focal point to a woman’s waist. An alternative to the flowy poodle skirt was the straight pencil skirt, which gently hugged a woman’s hips. It brought the same effect, with less movement of the skirt.
Fashion designers today are slowly starting to offer more knee and floor length options for skirts. In the last couple of years, Target has started to offer skirts in their women’s clothing departments that closely resemble the trends of voluminous skirts in the 1950s. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez have been spotted wearing a trendy full skirt with a cinched waist to accentuate their curves.
3. Varsity Jackets
Did you have a varsity jacket growing up? Also known as the letterman jacket, this fashion staple was the craze among young high school and college-age athletes in the 50s. There was nothing more special than excelling enough in your sport to earn your school letter and varsity jacket; it told the whole world that you were a great athlete and played on the varsity team. The prestige of a letterman jacket and what it represented was coveted by many high schoolers in the 1950s.
You can still see some around today, typically in college, but they are not as popular as they used to be. Over time, the famous varsity jacket of the 50s has been associated with football players more than athletes of any other sport. Movies throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s portrayed football players in varsity jackets as mean jocks. This false stereotype has led to many athletes forgoing the letterman jacket, but hip-hop singers and rappers are bringing the style of the varsity jacket back! ASAP Rocky, LL Cool J, and Justin Bieber love to throw on a sporty letterman jacket before a show.
4. Cat-Eye Sunglasses
These were all the rage with celebrity starlets in the 1950s! Cat-eye sunglasses were a new twist on traditional sunglasses that had more personality than their predecessor. Unlike the cat-eye sunglasses we see today, the style popular in the 1950s was smaller, with a more rounded shape rather than having sharp angles. They were a drastic change from the frames that had been previously worn and many women embraced the new sunglass style as it marked a chic era for women. Celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were well known for wearing fashionable cat-eye sunglasses on and off the big screen. Both actresses inspired many young women to buy a pair of cat-eye sunglasses for themselves!
Across Hollywood, cat-eye sunglasses continue to be a popular accessory for celebrities. Kate Moss, Rhianna, and Reese Witherspoon are known to wear the iconic sunglasses. Retailers like Shein and Amazon carry a variety of inexpensive cat-eye sunglasses in every possible size, shape, and color. If you are looking for a more unique cat-eye sunglass, Quay has taken the trend to a whole new level and is gaining popularity with young women and teenagers for their quirky styles.
5. Drive-in Movies
Drive-in movies are yet another trend that was created before this time period but started to gain traction in the 1950s. It all started with Richard Hollingshead and his idea to watch movies in the comfort of your vehicle. Keep in mind, this was 1933, so you couldn’t do watch movies from the comfort of your own home! Hollingshead placed a projector in his driveway and placed a radio behind it for sound. He created a patent, and after the patent was overturned in 1949, drive-in theaters began popping up all around the country. The theaters quickly became a date night favorite for families, young adults, and teenagers who just bought their first car. Within a few years, over 4,000 drive-in movie theaters were in business in America.
Due to the popularity and comfort of movie theaters, fewer than 500 drive-in theaters exist in the USA today. Although movie theaters themselves have been updated to include better seats and food options, many people are discouraged by the price gouging they experience when going. Most drive-in theaters only charge a price per car, compared to expensive movie theaters that charge per person. With the rising inflation, young families and teenagers are seeking ways to view the latest movies without paying the premium price at traditional theaters. Plus, many drive-in theaters allow you to bring in your own food. You can easily stop at your favorite fast food joint and go to watch a drive-in movie for a fraction of the cost to see it in theaters. Some drive-in movie theaters will even let you bring your dog!
Want to relive more of the 1950s?
Memory Road's Rewind KardLets® are the perfect way to travel back in time! The 50s KardLet® covers everything that happened from 1950-1959. Politics, national news, trending music, top movies, popular celebrities, notable champions, vintage ads, and so much more history is in this KardLet® . Anything and everything you would want to know about the historic 1950s is included in this 32 page paper booklet.