When you need a last-minute '50s costume idea, look no further than your very own closet. You may just have all the items you need to pull off the perfect outfit. If you still come up short, contact friends and family to ask if they have an item you can borrow, or take a trip to your local thrift store.
If you want to go for a classic bad boy look, the Greaser is right up your alley. This iconic outfit has been portrayed in various forms of entertainment, including Fonzie in Happy Days and Danny Zuko in Grease. Jeans with the bottoms rolled into slight cuff, a white t-shirt and a black leather jacket is all that you need to pull off this classic '50s look. Don't forget to slick back your hair, letting a small curl fall on your forehead. A fine tooth comb and a styling product that makes your hair look shiny or slick works well to achieve the greaser hairstyle. Finish the look by rolling a pack of cigarettes into the sleeve of your skirt and wearing a pair of black motorcycle boots.
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The prep or preppy look is the opposite of the greaser; it has a more clean and proper appearance. The women wore tight, plain pencil skirts that fall to about the knee, button-down shirts, cardigans tied around their necks and a pair of saddle shoes. Look to Sandy from Grease for inspiration. For the preppy guy, choose chino pants with a flat front and a button-down shirt. Stay away from prints and instead choose a plain colored shirt. Finish the look with a cardigan and pair of penny loafers.
The Poodle Skirt
Named for the cute poodle silhouette featured on the fabric, the poodle skirt is synonymous with the 1950s. You can turn a plain colored circle skirt or an A-line skirt into a '50s-inspired poodle skirt fairly easily. Simply print out a poodle silhouette on iron-on paper and iron it onto the skirt. The best position for the silhouette is toward the bottom and off to the side of the skirt. To give it a more authentic look, wear a crinoline petticoat slip underneath.
The '50s Car Hop
The waitresses who brought food to cars at the drive-in were called car hops. They first appeared in 1921 and started to disappear in the 1960s. There are a few nostalgic restaurants that still use car hops today, but these are few and far between. A short-sleeved button-down shirt tucked into a short skater skirt is ideal for creating a last-minute '50s car hop costume. It was common for car hop waitresses to wear skates. While you can still pull off the look without skates, wearing them can make the costume a bit more fun.