Mastering the menswear game can be a headache for even the most sartorially switched-on. So, if trend-hopping from one season to the next leaves you in a spin, why not look backwards for some style inspiration? Here we break down five timeless style tips and grooming techniques from the 50s, a decade dominated by kings of classic swagger Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marlon Brando. Take a look…
Five 50s trends
By Luke Keleher, 11 July 2016
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water... the revere-collared shirt is back with a bite for SS16. The kingpin of after-hours summer style was a wardrobe staple in your grandad’s courting days, and it’s been refreshed this season in oversized silhouettes, contrasting collars, monogrammed pockets and obnoxiously loud prints. Granted, this contemporary reworking of a classic isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a strong choice for the warmer months if you’ve got the cojones for it.
The souvenir jacket has evolved from a commemoration of time spent overseas by American soldiers to a high-end fashion and street-style staple. Traditionally featuring Eastern-inspired designs of tigers, blossoms and dragons sitting hand-in-hand with American military iconography, the sukujan can now be found on the runways of Louis Vuitton and Valentino, as well as on front-row regulars like Zayn Malik and Kanye West.
The ‘mankle’ is perhaps the most divisive sartorial step since socks and sliders did a thing in 2015. This saucy flesh-flash can be found beneath tailored trews at any number of fashion shows. But the fashion elite isn’t the first to hitch up its trousers and give shoes their chance to shine. Whether a saddle shoe, Converse or penny loafer, the 50s equivalent of sneakerheads rocked the crop to put their most fashionable foot forward. Denim was turned up, tailoring sat just on the ankle and a fresh pair of socks were very much visible – sound familiar?
Looks in the post-war period were all about relaxed tailoring, slick loafers and even slicker hair. Icons of stage and screen rarely had a hair out of line – Elvis Presley and James Dean led the pack with powerful pompadours and quiffs, locked into place with lashings of Brylcreem or gel. ‘Teenage rebellion’ become a dictionary-defined term during this time, too, and stylish young guns both sides of the Atlantic were sticking two fingers up at the establishment by shirking buzz cuts for more bombastic crops.
It’s a classic that lasts a lifetime and, like David Beckham, only improves with age. The leather biker jacket first snatched the limelight back in the 50s, cladding the backs of silver-screen heroes such as Brando and Dean. The heavy-duty biker of old was a marker of rebellion and, just like now, looks best worn with a simple white crew-neck T-shirt and a pair of slim-fit jeans.