The 1950s saw the birth of the Dreaded Teenager but, as a compensation, we got Rock n Roll. This musical revolution pushed youthful fashion to change until it began to dominate the fashion industry. Previously teenagers dressed similarly to their parents but now a rebellious and different youth style was being developed. Bobby Soxers ruled the dance floor dressed in Letterman Sweaters and Poodle Skirts.
Ah, the ‘Good Old Days’! Unless you weren’t cool. But hey, we couldn’t all be the Fonz!
The figurines in this post are nice representations of that by-gone era:
Everyone wanted to have a date on Friday and Saturday nights. No one wanted to be left at home like a ‘square’. If your ‘steady’ didn’t take you to the local Soda Shop it was probably going to be a night of dancing at the Hop.
Varsity jackets trace their origins to letter sweaters, first introduced by the Harvard University baseball team in 1865. Student athletes are awarded ‘letters’ for a given sport in which they excel and this can then be affixed to a jacket or sweater. It was quite the status symbol back in the day and is still an ongoing tradition today. Presumably Mickey has lettered in… Motocross? Actually, I think he lettered in himself.
Mickey has the moves! But hold on… is that a Disco move with the right arm and hand over 20 years before the Bee Gees were Stayin’ Alive?
No matter what angle you look at him, he’s stylin’! But now it’s time for all our company to check out Mickey’s date for the evening (and I mean that in a respectful way):
Minnie Mouse is looking resplendent in her pink sweater and green poodle skirt. But wait now, is that a poodle on her skirt? Why no, it’s Pluto! A poodle skirt is a wide swing felt skirt of a solid color displaying a design embroidered on the fabric. The design was often a coiffed poodle (not a mutt). Later substitutes for the poodle patch included flamingoes, flowers, and hot rod cars. The cars seem fitting given the time period! Hemlines were to the knee or just below it. It quickly became very popular with teenage girls, who wore them at school dances, and as everyday wear.
Both Mickey and Minnie are wearing what we would call a sneaker, or running shoe. But back in the day they were called Saddle Shoes. The saddle shoe, also known as “saddle oxford”, is a low-heeled casual shoe, characterized by a plain toe and saddle-shaped decorative panel placed mid foot. They are typically constructed of leather and are most frequently white with a black or dark blue saddle (as Minnie is wearing), although any color combination is possible (such as red and white, as Mickey is wearing).
I’m sure the rest of Mickey and Minnie’s ensemble was made in Japan too. I like to find ceramic pieces from Japan as they tend to be of a higher quality than figurines made in other parts of the world. Of course, that isn’t the fault of such countries, as it’s more likely Disney was sourcing to cut costs and you simply get what you pay for!
It wasn’t all fun and dancing during the 1950s. Throughout the decade, the world continued its recovery from World War II with baby boomers becoming a generation to watch. The Cold War continued to develop as communism and capitalism ramped up the ongoing competition between them. Throw in the Korean War, the Cuban Revolution, the beginning of the Vietnam War in French Indochina, and the beginning of the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and you’ve got to wonder why they call the 50s ‘The Good Old Days’! But wait, there’s more: Nuclear weapons, communists hiding under every bed, and the ‘need’ for a personal bomb shelter… sheesh. I think I’ll stay in my own decade, problematic as it is!
C’mon baby, can’t we all just do The Twist?