1950s HairstylesBill Haley and the Comets made their debut in the 1950s, as the older generation held their hearts and gasped with distaste at "ole swivel hips" himself, better known as Elvis Presley. A truck driver from Mississippi, he rocked the scene with such songs as "Hound Dog", "Don’t be Cruel", "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Love Me Tender". America found rock, or was it the other way around? The Big Band sound was put on the shelf to rest, as Rock and Roll, Motown, and the Calypso beat met and fell in love and married each other, and the world has never been the same since.
Housewives were wearing their hair shorter and shorter while their teenage daughters wore baby pink lipstick and ponytails, poodle skirts, plastic hoop bracelets, and saddle shoes. When they wore their hairdos down, they were very similar to the famous actress June Allyson and her lovely smooth pageboy and short-cropped bangs that framed her forehead. Some 1950s hairstyles were cut in layers and parted on the side with bunches of tight curls all around.
America was coming alive again in the 1950s. This was a time of new discoveries after the war, and there was a fresh scent in the air. This fun time was all about collecting as many baseball cards as you could get when you bought the bubblegum that it was wrapped with. There were cheap plastic pop-beads that you could pop on and off and mix other colors with, and the beginning of pierced ears and whispers about the bold girls who were the first to wear these different earrings. Sack dresses came into fashion, along with big red fake wax lips that you could wear in hopes of getting a laugh from your friends; before you ate them and small waxed mini Coke bottles that you bit off the ends and drank the sweet liquid before chewing the wax.
Of course, back then, there were candy fake cigarettes and cigars for children to pretend they were smoking just like their parents did. All the kids pretended to be movie stars or private investigators with a cigarette in their mouth. They were hot stuff, or thought they were. Tiny portable radios could be seen under Christmas trees, and the portable record player was in every teen's home as the song "Sincerely" was sung by the group known as the Moonglows. When girls went on a date, they would use their small, flat cake of mascara and, if water was not available to rub the brush in, they would willingly spit into the cake, making a paste to enhance their lash length.
Blue jeans and ponytails went together as girls wore their fathers' long dress shirts and usually tied a sloppy knot on the side. Then, out of the blue, Peter Pan gave way to the pixie haircut and James Dean brought the DA into its undeniable entrance in Hollywood and moviegoers saw such stars as Audrey Hepburn and Gina Lollobrigida wearing this outrageous haircut with spit curls formed all around the face.
The word "spit" gives you a discerning insight of how the curls were formed. Girls were running home from school to watch Dick Clark on American Bandstand on television to see the latest teen idol sing and learn new dance steps. The girls who danced on American Bandstand were trendsetters, and before you knew it, everyone was wearing the same haircuts and skirts and singing the same tune.
One of the popular haircuts of that day for teens was a short, layered cut that had waves going down from the crown and a gathering of brush curls on the bottom and the sides. The top would usually have a short, flat, rounded bang. The whole idea was for the girl to look like she had naturally curly hair. In one respect, nothing has changed over the years in that regard. While everyone was cheerfully lying to each other and trying their best to convince everyone they had naturally curly hair, you began to see schoolgirls wearing crinolines under their dresses.
The 1950s dresses would puff out as far as five to seven feet from their legs and accentuated their small waistlines, which of course was the whole idea. The more crinolines the better. Some would go to school with hoops under their crinolines, and when they walked, there was a giant swish and swagger as they sashayed down the hall, batting their eyes, their boyfriends pleaded with them to carry their books for them.
At the same time, the sweater look was in and girls wore sharp, pointed brassieres, a dangerous weapon if nothing else. They also wore straight, tight skirts that fell below the knee, appearing to be more airbrushed on them than worn. Femininity was indeed at its peak, and many a girl learned how to use her coquettish wiles to benefit what she wanted in life as she dangled her charm bracelet on her cuffed sleeve while combing her hair.
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