Nostalgia for the 1950s began while memories of the decade were still fresh. Tail-finned cars, hula hoops, poodle skirts, Elvis Presley, mothers in aprons, and "Leave It To Beaver" conjure up images of a genial time that seems better, softer, simpler. Indeed, the years from 1950 to 1959 were a time of optimism, domesticity, security through compliance with the system, and apparent simplicity.
In the realm of fashion (clothing, architecture, furniture, interior design, and autos), simplicity was certainly the key in all areas except, conspicuously, the chrome-laden cars with their huge tail fins that looked as if they were suited to a vehicle about to blast off into the stratosphere.
In terms of clothing, women's "New Look" fashions, which had been introduced in 1947, were not simple as far as construction went. Hips were padded, skirts were full, and tailoring was complicated. But clothing for women was simple as far as the motivation went: women were supposed to be women again after years of wartime deprivations, and that meant sensuous designs. These sexy outfits were especially popular in evening wear, with sequined gowns and narrow, clinging sheaths.
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