Ladies - were Poodle Skirts commonly worn in the fifties?

The classic 1950’s costume is the sweater, poodle skirt and white bobby sox. Plus a pink kerchief around the neck or tied in the hair.

You can buy the costume at Amazon. I really need to order this outfit in red for my lady. :smiley:

Sadly, old pictures of clothing don’t seem nearly as attractive.
Two ladies in bobby sox

here’s a vintage poodle skirt photo

Was the sweater/poodle skirt everyday wear or mostly for dances?

What age group usually wore this look? Early teen? High School? College?

What was worn the most in the 50’s? Feel free to link to pictures.

This is too precious not to share. :wink:

My mother claims to have worn them; she graduated from high school in 1959. She also had a closet full of flats in every color, she said, to match all her skirts. She also wore cat-eye glasses. She also claims that many of these skirts had little chains attached to the dog’s collar, that you could hold — I think. Maybe they were fastened to the skirt somehow.

My personal belief that it was an odd enough fashion to have survived in the collective memory. There were probably no more or less common than any other style that came and went during that era.

Sadly I have no pictures on me. I’m not sure if I’ve actually seen many photos of my mom in the '50s. Her wedding photos are pretty cool though, with her Joan Crawford drawn-on eyebrows.

I asked my mom and she said they couldn’t afford a poodle skirt back then. She mentioned they required three layers of petticoats to get the right shape.

My understanding is that the poodle skirt was actually a fad of the late 40’s, along with the bobby socks. The girls wearing them were the ones screaming at “Frankie” Sinatra, not Elvis.

There seems to be a lot of non-information out there, but here’s at least one source not merely repeating the myth. That doesn’t mean, of course, that they weren’t still around for a better part of the 50’s, but I’m skeptical.

The fact is that much of the image we have of what the 50’s were like in America is a pleasant pastiche of various memes that spanned chiefly the mid-40’s to mid-60’s. And it has been argued that the whole thing was kicked off by Sha Na Na. It was the late 60’s, and what with all the tensions and unrest, a number of Columbia students built a musical act out of a new myth of a golden past, a time before hippies when youth movements were about fun rather than who’s burning who’s villages.

And lots of other people, it seems, also wished the 50’s could rescue them from the 60’s. Things were simpler back then, people were happy. Well, no, not really. It was actually the era that brought us the nuclear Sword of Damocles, Korea, civil rights struggles, McCarthyism, The Problem that Has No Name, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit and The Beat Generation. Less turbulent? Maybe. But for this reporter born in the 70’s, it seems like it was just differently turbulent. The point, though, is that people wanted to believe there had been a simpler past, and when you’re bullshitting yourself, you’re not too nitpicky about the details.

I’m from the Midwest and we were always late to adopt the styles popular on the coasts. I do remember people in high school wearing that style of skirt (usually made of felt and cut in a full circle. That’s why they needed “can-cans” to flare out properly.) but I’m unsure if I can remember any which were decorated with poodles. They may have been difficult to find and too expensive for the modest community where we lived.

There were other motifs which were also popular on the skirts. Music notes or forty-five rpm records come to mind.

Can-can was what we called the very full, very stiff ruffled petticoats and it was a fad to wear several at a time. Our skirts flared out to our elbows. When we sat down we had to hold our skirts down. Hilarious.

The scarves worn around the neck or on the head were a fluffy transparent type of material cut square and not much more than a foot wide. If it was worn on the head the kewl thing to do was to tie the knot to balance on one’s chin, not under it. Like a drum major!

One high school sophomore with a small, receding chin adopted this style and I remember watching her and being mystified about how she could keep it from slipping off. Me, a lowly sixth-grader without older siblings, checking out the “big kids” and trying to get my look together for high school.

This also reminded me of the bangs style of that time. The girls would set them in pin curls (a spiral of hair held with a bobbypin overnight.) They looked like a series of commas parading across the forehead and were worn with a ponytail.

My husband’s cousin still wears her hair this way and rolled-down bobby sox. Guess she’s savoring the best days of her life. We say, “Poor Cousin Barb. Stuck in the Fifties.”

Oh, and don’t forget “going steady” completed the costume with a male friend’s class ring on a chain around the neck.

My mother had one, and she had a not-quite-middle class upbringing in West Virginia.

I’m sure if I dug around long enough I could find a photo of my sister (class of 1960) wearing a poodle skirt outfit (without the poodle, of course, that was just a bit too precious) complete with saddle oxfords, as well as my other sister (class of 1961) wearing a prom gown with enough petticoats to look like Glinda the Good Witch. And I don’t need any photos to remember riding between them in the back seat of our 1956 Mercury, being smothered by their crinolines.

However, most of that stuff was trending out even by the mid-50s.

Here are some class photos from 1955 and 1960. Note that the skirts are still full, but without nearly as many petticoats.

About as common as Nehru jackets in the 1960s–you’d see them, and probably remember them when you did, but it wouldn’t be all that often.

My mom once mentioned she had a poodle skirt, but not with a poodle on it. It was some other animal, I think she said it was a flamingo but I’m not sure.

I remember poodle skirts from the mid-50s, around '54-'57, as well as other skirts that required lots of petticoats. I always picture them worn by the prettiest, most fashion-conscious girls. But the straight, below-the-knee skirt, usually black, remained in style, even into the 60s.

Pink and charcoal-gray (almost black) were the cool colors in the mid-50s, for boys too. Most boys had a couple of pink shirts and charcoal-gray slacks.

Quoted for truth! An aunt from Seattle sent me a blouse for Christmas in 1961 or 1962. What made it special was that it had no collar – we’d call it jewel neck now, not sure what it was called then. It was at least a year before those blouses showed up in the stores in Iowa. Oh, and the blouse came with matching capri pants. I didn’t wear them because even though they fit at the waist and hips, I thought they were too short. :smack:

Some of my classmates had poodle skirts, junior high, late 50’s. They didn’t survive to high school in the early 60’s, I think because by then everyone was wearing hip-stitched skirts, either flared or pleated, or straight skirts.

Tethered Kite’s post sent me right down memory lane. Can-cans!! I was jealous of a friend who had five. I only had two.

Can we thank Elvis for that? Those were his favorite colors, but I don’t know if he started the fad or followed it.

Okay, you need to be asking the OLD ladies. (Raises hand.)

When I was in grade school, and I’m thinking 1959 or so, poodle skirts were a HUGE fad, and a lot of people had them, and a lot of girls would get together and wear their poodle skirts on the same day.

If you didn’t have a poodle skirt, any skirt worn with a couple of crinolines would do.

These crinolines were everyday clothes for some people, but not for most of us–the crinolines were itchy when you sat, but a lot of fun when you were walking, even more when you were dancing.

In the 60s, when I was in high school, we had a sock hop that we considered retro, and a lot of people were talking about reconstructing the poodle skirt, but as a retro thing.

Other quick fads I remember: “Twist” shirts and shirts with Ben Casey collars. I had a twist shirt–everybody did–but I was too slow on the Ben Casey thing and by the time I got mine, they were O-U-T. The poodle skirts were like that. Very quick.

Right before the hula hoop, in my neck of the woods.

One of the very cutest Halloween costumes I saw last year was a woman wearing a poodle skirt, along with her poodle, who was wearing a person skirt.

What’s a Twist shirt? Anything like the twist shirts I just googled? If so, I don’t remember those at all but they’re everywhere now.

I believe they were also called “circle skirts”.

I asked my mum when I saw them on “Laverne & Shirely” if she had one. She they wore them in the early 50s and she had one but didn’t wear it much. She would’ve been in Milwaukee at that time and as others have said, fashion trends ususally gets to the Midwest of the USA last

My mom graduated in 1955 or maybe 1956? (I was born in 1959, so that’s pretty close). And she spoke fondly of poodle skirts when I was in HS and we did “50s days”. There’s also a smashing picture of her in a tight sweater and long fitted skirt when she was young. Some of those outfits were very stylish. I think it’s just that the girls in the OP’s authentic fashion shots aren’t all that attractive overall.

After a quick google I failed to find one of what I remember. The thing was that it was meant to be worn untucked–that was what was new about it. I have no idea why we called it a twist shirt–this may have been some local thing that didn’t get widespread attention. It certainly died out quickly enough.

The Ben Casey-inspired shirts were also worn untucked, but they were meant to look like the kind of white shirts doctors wore (duh!), hence easier to describe.

I wonder if your Twist shirt have been what we called “angel” blouses? The blouse was waist-length and very full. It sorta looked like a full skirt, only it was a blouse. They only lasted one season – very impractical, a slight breeze could make it fly up over our heads. :slight_smile: