Casual Styles for Men in the 1950s

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Men's casual styles in the 1950s frequently featured several pieces, including khakis, vests and casual shorts with slip-on shoes. The casual look in this decade also was inspired by television programs. The mid-50s show "Gunsmoke" was one of the first Westerns to inspire fashion. The fashion industry took note, and during the series' run on television, stores sold cowboy shirts for men as casual weekend wear.

Gary Cooper in cowboy hat and short sleeved shirt, 1950's
Gary Cooper in cowboy hat and short sleeved shirt, 1950's

Shirts

Men’s casual shirts in the 1950s took a plaid turn. Pink was a popular color for men in this era, and plaid often included pink and blue; multi-colored shirts featured yellow and black. Men often wore shirts untucked with the tail out.

Influenced by television westerns, men also wore cowboy shirts in plaids and solid colors as casual wear. Skinny ribbon ties and patterns around the shoulders and wrists added to this look.

While some men wore jackets as casual wear, the preferred look was the cardigan sweater. Cardigans came either short-sleeved or long-sleeved and in various colors. A short-sleeved cardigan without a tie was considered casual. Longer-sleeved cardigans with ties were considered a dressier, but still casual, look for men.

Perry Cumo wearing a pink and black pattern shirt with tan suit in the 1950's
Perry Cumo wearing a pink and black pattern shirt with tan suit in the 1950's

Pants

Khakis were a fashion staple in 1950s casual men's wear. Men wore them around the house after work hours and on the weekends. The 1950s khaki pant had a plain front, heavy zipper fly and was cut with a slightly tapered leg.

Early weekend mornings, men lounged in their drawstring-style pajama pants. Pajama pants were either striped or a solid color and made from soft cotton.

Men's casual wear also included weekend shorts that were often made from a cotton/polyester blend. Another popular short pant fashion included the button-fly white cotton/twill style, with two pockets at the front waist. These shorts were worn for outdoor activities like walking and tennis.

Man with wearing khakis
Man with wearing khakis

Shoes

The slip-on shoe was the style of choice in casual footwear for men. Slip-ons were dressy enough to wear to work, but comfortable enough to wear around the house.

The Clarks shoe also was proper casual footwear for a man in the 1950s. It is an ankle-high boot with military inspiration. Men wore this soft, suede shoe in the early 50s, and the style gained momentum in the latter part of the decade.

Close up on man's shoes in the 1950's
Close up on man's shoes in the 1950's

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