American Advertisements and Catalogs with Boys Clothings: The 1950s


Figure 1.--The Best & Co in 1952 offered jeans long pants slacks for boys of all age. The jacket shown here was popular style. Notice the boy wearing saddle shoes.

Catalogs and periodical advertising provide a great deal of information about popular styles during the 1950s. nd we also have useful school portraits to provide a complete picture of popular styles. The trens we have noticed toward informality in dress continued into the 1950s. Baseball caps became increasingly popular, perhaps ecause of Little League in the suburbs. In the middle of the decade coon skin caps appeared thanks to Walt Disney and Davy Crocket. Praked caps wre worn by younger boys when dressing up. The standard wear for most American dress was T-shirts and dungarees (jeans). Jeans came long so the cuffs could be turned up. In the middle of the decade coon skin caps appeared thanks to Walt Disney and Davy Crocket. Teenagers wete often not allowed to dress like this in high school, but was their standaard casual dress. Boys also wore colorful collared shirts. Western style shits were popular because of TV and the movies. Some boys wore short pants. Long pants were much more common for school-age boys. Shorts were becoming basically casual, summer wear, but even in the summer most boys wore long pants. Here there were regional and social-class differences differences. Suits were still wirn when dressing up, but not for school except some private schools. Boys were wearing mostly slacks and jeans. A few boys still wore knicker suits in the very early-1950s, but they disappeared from clothing catalogs. We see mostly long pants suits. Younger boys might wear short oants suit. Here there weresocial-class differences. Suspenders seem common for younger boys. WCasual jackets were common. Boys mostly wire ankle socks. Knee socks wereseen ncreasingly as girls wear. Boys commonly wore low-cut leather shoes. Sneakers were poular, but viewed as casual after school wear.

The 1950s

American mail order catalogs offer a very useful time line on changing fashion trends. We have some undated material which appears to have been offerd in the 1950s, but we can not date it to any specific years. We often are able to date these ctalog items and advertisements, but we have fojund some undated items. We will archive those items here. One item was a pattern for toddlers that could be made into a girl's sailor dress or a boys' sailor suit. We also notice a newspaper advertisement for boys and girls shoes. Leather shoes were still the norm in the 1950s.

1950

We note a pages from the 1950 Sears Winter catalog with a variety of boys' shoes. There was a range of lace up and buckle shoes, uncluding high-top styles and saddle shoes. There was also double-bar sandals. A reader reports, "I just glanced at the 1950 Sears catalog and saw that striped socks were available in bright colors for 'all ages' ('perky' and 'alive with color'. Men had mostly vertical striped and Argyle socks, but they also had the banded ones in bright colors. The children's version were called 'candy stripes'. They were reinforced at the heels and toes with nylon for longer wear." Long stockings by 1950 had largely gone out of fashion. We do note one small ad in the Sears Spring 1950 caalog for stocking supporters.

1951

A Vogue pattern from 1951 is for a shirt and shorts combination. The shirt could be made long or short-sleeved, with an open collar or traditional soft collar, and there was an option to make the outfit button-on. The size isn't shown.

1952

American mail order catalogs in 1952 featured jeans and other long pants for boys of various ages. Khaki slacks were a staple. Stores offered shirts in a variety of vold prints as well as standard white annd blue colors. World War II style bomber jackets were very popular and saddle shoes seen as very stylish for boys.

1953

American mail order catalogs in 1953 featured jeans and other long pants for boys of various ages. Khaki slacks were a staple. Stores offered shirts in a variety of bold prints as well as standard white annd blue colors. World War II style bomber jackets were very popular and saddle shoes seen as very stylish for boys. Suits were mostly single breasted and with long pants. Short pants suits might be worn by younger boys, often in the Eton style. Sunsuits were popular for younger children. A variity of "T"-shirts and shorts were available for summerwear.

1954

We have not yet found much information on 1954 at this time, but we are gradually adding a few items. We know that jeans had become very popular for boys. Many boys did not like to wear short pants, even during the summer. We note a Brooks Brother's ad for suit jackets. Interstingly the Eton jacket for younger boys had a stiff-looking Eton collar. We no longr see very many Eton collars by the nid-50s. We are not sure though that this was a detachable collar. We do note blouses for younger boy with small Peter Pan and Eton collars. We note an Easter ad for Chips and Twings suits and sports jackets. Short pants Eton suits were done for the youngr boys. We have also found an advertisement for Jockey underwear.

1955

Plaid shirts were popular for school. Boys were wearing mostly slacks and jeans. Some boys wore short pants, but it was increasingly less commonn, except for younger boys. Jeans came long so the cuffs could be turned up. In the middle of the decade coon skin caps appeared thanks to Walt Disney and Davy Crocket.

1956

A reader tells us, "I have just discovered that this garter waist was still being sold in 1956--probably, by this time, mostly for girls. The Provo Daily Herald (Provo, Utah) had on sale "Beltx All Elastic Garter Waists" for 89 cents. This ad appeared November 1, 1956, on page 13. Of course Provo, Utah, would have been a very conservative community in matters of children's clothing during the 1950s." We do not have any illustrated ads from the 1950s, but we have a Beltx garter waist dated about 1946 which was probably similar to what was differed here.

1957


1958

We have little on 1958 at this time. We notice Sears blazers and sports jackers worn with long and short pants for boys age 2-6 years of age in a 1958 catalog. Many of the itms were oddred in a a patriotic red, whie, and blue. Slacks could be purchased separately. Eton jackets were shown with short panys and laoel jackets with long pants. Some were coordinated brother-sister out fits, the pants of course bing replaced with pleated skirts. The material was described as flannel, but made with a blended Orlon and cotton fabric. We also note an advertisement for Fruit of the Loom underwear.

1959

Parents' Magazine and orher similar publications ran ads showed nicely tailored and designed clothes The Maxon Shirt Company in Greenvill, South Carolina place an ad in April 1959 issue of Parents' Magazine Carnegie "Hi" Society sets, short-slleved checked shirts and walk shorts.






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Created: December 12, 2001
Last updated: 8:14 PM 4/19/2015