8 WTF Fashion Trends of the '50s

Some decades were just a 10 year lapse in good fashion judgment (we’re looking at you, the ’90s). But no decade is immune to bad fashion. Even the 1950s‚ the classic era when literally nobody dressed badly — had a few tacky trends.

The Bullet Bra

50's bullet bra

These bras are so aggressively pointy it looks like you could hurt yourself or others. Maybe their shape was a subtle way to reinforce the prudish standards of the day? Because it’s impossible to get frisky with a girl who’s wearing a bullet bra without poking an eye out.

Matching Mother-Daughter Outfits

matching mother daughter outfits

In the 1950s, women showed the world they owned their children by forcing them to wear matching mother-daughter outfits, much like a dog marks its territory. But really, isn’t that the point of having a daughter? To have a real-life doll you can mold into your likeness?

Poodle Skirts

elvis presley poodle skirt

Today, poodle skirts are pink polyester monstrosities that every little girl wears to her elementary school’s soc hop-themed fundraiser. But back in the day, they were the uniform of the Bobby Soxer. The felt skirts were easy to make, and you could customize them with whatever you wanted — a poodle, a flamingo, or the name of whichever celebrity you most wanted to bone.


1950 girdles

If beauty is pain, then squeezing your gut into a girdle in order to achieve a slimmer silhouette must be the most beautiful thing in the world. Your grandma’s version of Spanx is the reason women in the ’50s rocked such a clean line, but damn, they must have been uncomfortable!

Aloha Shirt

1950 aloha shirt

Aloha shirts (aka Hawaiian shirts) caught on after WWII when service men and women returned to the states with these whimsical printed tops. Little did they know, that “fun” purchase made overseas would become the epitome of tacky back in the states. In 1959, America made Hawaii a state, probably to apologize for this not-so nifty ’50s fashion trend.

Lampshade Hat

1950 lampshade hat

The 1950s were a simpler time. when moms baked apple pie, TV was black and white, and everyone wore hats because they knew how great they looked. Except for the lampshade hat. It’s a hat. That is a cone. Worn on your head.

Sack dress

1950 givenchy sack dress

There’s nothing less fashionable than the word “sack”. But somehow, the lack of a waistline was considered “universally flattering”, and the trend caught on. America eventually came to its senses and got over sack dresses, much like it got over its hysteria over the atom bomb.

Tiny Bathing Suits for Men

1950 mens bathing suits

I might be on the wrong side of history here, but is there really anything wrong with a man showing a little leg? It’s not like the tiny bathing suits of the ’50s were speedos or anything!

What’s your favorite ’50s fashion trend? Let us know on Twitter!

Heidi Lux
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