The new silhouette demanded a new figure and a veritable deluge of undergarments filled the lingerie departments.
There were two distinct shapes,the waif like gamine figure epitomized in movies by and the more womanly hourglass figure represented by , with tiny waists, padded hips and circle skirts. It was also the golden age of the fashion model – with the ‘big three’ in 1950s fashion models being , and .
The beats bucked 1950s conventions––and 1950s fashions––as well. Jack Kerouac famously appeared on a forum in black jeans, ankle boots and a checkered shirt––the only panelist to do so. However, the beat philosophy had little to do with dress; its proponents emphasized a somewhat inchoate philosophy which included bumming, hitchhiking and illicit drug use––abhorrent concepts to most 1950s Americans (or westerners in general). Works like (1956) were suppressed amidst screams about corruption and violence, while figures like Neal Cassady became anti-heroes of younger poets.
Men's 1950s fashion was clean cut and conservative. The "gray flannel suit" referred to a style popular among American men, which started out in the Ivy League colleges. The "American suit" was usually charcoal gray, single-breasted with two or three widely spaced buttons, unwaisted, with no back vent. Also popular was the "penny loafer," a slip-on shoe with a cut-out apron that could fit a penny.