The clothing of the 1950s emphasized cultural conformity and gender differences. Women wore clothes that emphasized their feminine figures, including full A-line skirts, which emphasized the width of the hips, as well as corsets, to give the appearance of a small feminine waist. Makeup was kept simple except for red lips on special occasions. Men most commonly wore gray, navy and black suits and kept their hair short.
Women's fashions in the 1950s were largely inspired by Christian Dior's New Look collection in 1947. The collection introduced the idea of a "wasp waist." The wasp waist refers to a small waist that is accentuated by large hips. Tightly fitted jackets, waist belts and large skirts all served to emphasize the waist, and the wasp-waist silhouette remained popular throughout the decade.
Clothes in the 1950s were made from natural materials, such as wool, cotton and silk. The main differences in clothing were in the patterns. Women's clothing featured many different patterns, such as plaid, floral and stripes. Colorful clothing was also popular. Teenage girls often wore "poodle skirts," which are A-line skirts with an embroidered poodle pattern at the bottom, along with black and white saddle shoes. Teenage boys dressed in button-down shirts and trousers. When rock and roll became popular in the late 1950's, fashions such as leather jackets and jeans became more popular among teenagers.