What Did Children Wear in the 1950s?

In the 1950s, children generally wore conservative, clean-cut clothes. Cotton, corduroy, denim and flannel were popular fabrics, and plaid and gingham patterns were widely seen.

Typical clothing for girls in the 1950s consisted of cotton dresses adorned with ruffles and collars. Plaid, stripes and gingham were common fabric patterns. Older girls’ dresses were slightly more subtle, cut in simpler lines and at least knee-length. Details like pleats, pockets and belts were also popular. Skirts tended to be full and circular, especially for more festive occasions. Tops were either blouses, sweaters or jackets, often reflecting whatever was popular in women’s fashion at the time, such as bolero styles and scalloped edges. Denim jeans and Bermuda shorts were popular for active younger girls. Sailor-inspired styles emerged in the latter half of the decade.

Young boys generally wore shorts, suspenders or slacks. These were paired with button-up shirts in plaid or flannel or colorful sweaters. Vests as well as western-style shirts were also popular. Corduroy and denim were typical fabrics for pants as well as jackets. Older boys wore lettermen’s jackets as well as sport coats. In the late 1950s, argyle patterns and preppy vests and sweaters featured heavily. The end of the decade also saw more vibrant colors coming into mainstream for boys’ clothing.