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More Graceful Than Fashion

Personally the 1950s man has always been my ideal - Sinatra in a trilby anyone?

But rather than listen to me getting swept away with the smouldering Jimmy Dean, here is our contributor Abdul Basit who has been learning about the world of 1950s vintage style for men - often an overlooked and underappreciated genre...its not just about the girls after all!


The 1950s was the time where fashion diverged with lots of new colours and new clothing styles – even now this timeless vintage fashion is still considered as an iconic fashion era.

While the women had a lot of options regarding clothing styles and jewellery, the men, though with fewer options, were not that far behind. Vintage men’s costume in the 1950s generally consists of slim-fitting suits, bowling shirts, high-wasted pants, letterman jackets, and saddle shoes. This vintage fashion was accompanied by different vintage jewellery styles as well.

Men's jewellery

Men's jewellery options mainly consisted of rings, tie bars, watches, and cufflinks. The clothing style was conservative but the jewellery flaunted different colours and styles. The men still liked to keep it minimal yet classy.

Skinny ties and tie bars

In the 1950s, skinny-tie came into fashion thereby reducing the size of the tie bars. Collar bars, tie pins, and tie clasps perfectly suited the skinny tie and were quite popular. Also, sedate silk fabric for the ties was not the only fabric used. Along with silk, cotton linens and rayon was used in a wide range of colours. The colourful ties were matched with socks. This style of wearing matching socks and tie is still relevant right up to the 21st century!

Cufflinks and Button Cuffs

When the shirt manufacturers started producing shirts with button cuffs, cufflinks were no longer required. But the button cuffs were designed in different ways. But the cufflinks are still considered classy in today’s generation.

Modern Look Wristwatches

The antique pocket watches were gradually replaced with wristwatches following the post-WWI period and were now a fashion item. The watches moved towards a slenderer and more modern look. Watches came in gold, silver, nickel, or any other metal and the wrist bands also were made with different materials. Some of the popular brands were Timex, Rolex, Bulova, and Elgin. Rolex was one of the companies that produced definitive wristwatches some of which are still considered as timeless vintage classics.

Wedding rings and Signet rings

Wedding rings were another accessory that the men in the 1950s proudly flaunted – a happy marriage being one of the most important aspects of stable 1950s society. The signet rings were also very popular and were known as the ‘gentlemen’s ring’. This ring actually dates back to 1400 B.C. and is believed to have come from Ancient Egypt. Over the centuries, the purpose of this ring has evolved but they are generally made with the family crest and were once used to identify the owner or seal business deals.

GQ Australia's 21st Century Take on the 1950s

Men’s Wallets and Gloves

The wallets carried by men of vintage style are not that much different from now. The wallets were made with black or brown leather. Most of the wallets had a zipper around the edges and were made with several compartments. As a personal touch, men would engrave their initials on the wallets and also wear a matching belt. Leather gloves were very important in the 1950s. Mostly, the women had more options when it came to gloves but the men also wore black or brown leather gloves.

This was a revolutionary decade for men’s fashion growing out of the austere war years. From a conservative fashion to a more rebellious one, the 1950s had it all. Everyone from the designers to the manufactures got the opportunity to bring out their creativity, play with colours and fabric textures. Whatever the clothing style, business attire, casual outfits, teenage outfits, or even the greasers, we got to see it all. From the beginning till the end of the decade, the fashion style varied greatly both for men and women.

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