Fashion Fads by the Decade

1950s woman style

As the decades pass, fashion fads are often characterized by politics, popular movies, music and famous celebrities. History shows that designers also dictate trends by changing styles often, allowing themselves and clothing manufacturers to keep making money off of our our strong desire to be fashionable and trendy.

The 1950's

The 50's marked the era of conservatism. After the end of WWII, families flourished, thus, the "baby boomers" children. Women's small waists were often the result of a corset or cinch belt, worn with dresses or knee-length skirts. High heels or saddle shoes were the popular choices for shoes.

Poodle skirts and pony tails dominated, with designer Bill Blass Jeans for a more casual, practical style. Accessories included the unique cat-eye glasses, sometimes worn with a chain.

Men looked clean-cut, a-la Jimmy Dean, wearing flat top and crew cut styles that were very short and easy to care for. Gray flannel suits dominated the workplace and slacks were often worn for casual, everyday events.

The 1960's

The 60's began the "groovy" time when the babies of post WWII were growing up and finding their own style. Youth took precedence as they became the largest population in the United States.

The beginning of the decade began with women wearing knee-length dresses leftover from the 1950s. Later on, mini-skirts, hot pants and go-go boots showed a generation breaking away from their conservative parents. Bouffant hairstyles ruled, with hair accessories for adornment and to hold a complicated style in place.

Men still enjoyed crew cuts but lost the bland, basic colors for brighter, eye-catching styles. Casual shirts were plaid, button down and polyester suits and pants were appropriate for the workplace.

"Flower Power" and "Free Love" were all the rage when the 1969 Woodstock "Summer of Love" concert took place. Bell-bottoms became a hot fad that emerged once again decades later. Beaded jewelry was the funnest, must-have accessory to show individuality.

The 1970's

The 70's marked a freer, fun-loving society when the women's movement prompted them to burn their bras, sparking true liberation. Tube tops were comfortable and sexy whilst mini-skirts and hot pants allowed more show of leg.

Long, flowing dresses and skirts with feminine, floral prints were the style for those not yet ready to join the others. Colorful, tie-dyed t-shirts became popular fads for both women and men, none of them appearing identical.

Girls often wore culottes to school, not near as daring as their older sisters. Colorful, crocheted ponchos and satin jackets provided style and warmth on a cool, summer night.

Hairstyles were feathered, thanks to Farrah Fawcett who set the trend for long layers and lots of fluff. Not only did women cut their hair to be like her, they wanted to be blonde. Brunettes began adding highlights to give themselves just the right touch of blonde. Braver ones completely bleached out their hair.

Corduroy and denim fabrics were a popular choice for men, available in pants, suits and blazers. Along with disco music, the movie "Saturday Night Fever" brought high-waited suit pants and leisure suits.

The 1980's

What can be said about the 80's fads? From hair to jewelry to shoulder pads, it's big everything. The long, teased hairstyles, makeup became much bolder. Besides the somewhat "scary" factor, this decade sums up some fun music and styles that we'd rather forget.

1980's fashion1980's fashions for women were primarily long t-shirts and sweaters worn over leggings or tights. Influenced by the movie "Flashdance," off-the shoulder styles were were seen on just about everyone who kept up with the latest styles. Legwarmers looked not only sporty, but stylish as well.

Mini-skirts never lost their appeal and the 80s were no different. Denim minis in various colors worn with colorful high-heeled shoes were popular with the younger crowd. Jelly shoes were cheap and provided a more casual look.

Spandex was introduced to the mainstream and was often mixed with other fabrics. Denim included stonewashed jeans, ripped and with holes for the hip crowd. Parachute pants were popular for men and boys and allowed comfort when hip-hop music required freedom of movement.

The 1990's

The 90's mark the end of the century with hope around the corner. Styles were not nearly as outrageous as the 80's and were toned down with classics as well as new styles. Waistlines were creeping down, leading to the hipsters becoming popular once again in the next century.

The younger generation who expressed their individuality enjoyed grunge, gothic or a classic, vintage look. On the other side, preppy styles were for the high school and college kids who wanted to show their clean-cut status. was popular for jackets, pants, purses and belts. Available in a variety of colors, wearing durable leather showed style, status and practicality.

Marrying later in life, women became dedicated to bettering themselves with higher education and good jobs. The demand for comfortable styles was undeniable. Many businesses allowed work attire to become more relaxed and some toned down their dress code to "business-casual." Some companies began allowing Fridays to be completely causal, resulting in fun and higher productivity.