Rise of the "Teenagers"


1. The big thduring this time was the Teenagers rebelling aganist their parents. One of the ways they did this was through music. They stopped listening to what their parents thought was ok and listened to their music, which was rock and roll. This started a problem in cities because they didn't like this music, so they banned some of the rock and roll bands from performing in their citied. By doing this though, they felt they would lose the young people, and were forced to let these groups perform.

2. Education was something else that changed for the teenagers of the 1950s. These young adults were more encouraged my their parents, and even a little socially pressured, to go to college. During college, they were to find a particular skill that they excelled at, advance in that skill, and continue on to get a job involving that skill. Parents really pushed for their kids to go through with college because they had already been through pervious wars annd events like the Great Depression, so as normal parents, wanted their children to have a better life.

3. Fashion that was made specifically for teenagers was something new during the 1950s. Before, the youth dressed in what the adults wore, because thats all clothing companies made. The inlfuence from people like Marlon Brando and James Dean drove young men toward the jean, leather boot and jacket, and white t-shirt look. Others went for high trousers, sharp shiny shoes, and slim shirts and ties, which was a representation of the British-Teddy Boy look. For the women, it consisted of birght colored dresses, tight blouses, and skarves tied around the neck, which was also a product of the rock and roll.

4. The attitudes of these teenagers was completely different than anyone could imagine. With the spike in the economy, the youth now had more money of their own. They could buy their own clothes, radios, and overall become more independent. This gave the teenages basically a world of their own. Teens at this time were viewed as more private, secretive, clannish, defensive and at times disrespectful. Later on in time, people look back at the "generation gap" that had grown out of their new affluence.

5. A big part of the 1950s were rules that tired to control and conform the teenagers. There were rules from everything like "their hair couldn't touch their ears", all the way to "dangerous hotrods". These rules were mostly put into place to try and stop the rising rebellion of the parents, and to resotre things to the way they were and to where society thought that they should be.

Primary Sources:
  1. Dress shirt and tie or conservative sport shirt and tie with suit jacket, jacket, sport coat, or sweater
  2. Standard trousers or khakis; clean and neatly pressed
  3. Shoes, clean and polished; white bucks acceptable
Not Recommended:
  1. Dungarees or soiled, unpressed khakis
  2. T-shirts, sweat shirts
  3. Extreme style of shoes, including hobnail or "motorcycle boots"
  1. Shirt and tie or sport shirt and tie
  2. Sport shirt with sweater or jacket
  3. Standard trousers or khakis; clean and neatly pressed
  4. Shoes, clean and polished; white bucks acceptable
Not Recommended:
  1. Dungarees or soiled, unpressed khakis
  2. T-shirts, sweat shirts
  3. Extreme styles of shoes, including hobnail or "motorcycle boots"
Note: The apparel recommended for boys should be worn in standard fashion with shirts tucked in and buttoned, and ties tied at the neck. Standard of dress for boys, while in school shops or laboratories, should be determined by the school.
  1. Blouses, sweaters, blouse and sweater, jacket with blouse or sweater
  2. Skirts, jumpers, suits or conservative dresses
  3. Shoes appropriate to the rest of the costume
Not Recommended:
  1. V-neck sweaters without blouse
  2. Bermuda shorts, kilts, party-type dresses, slacks of any kind
  3. Ornate jewelry
  4. T-shirts, sweat shirts

This was a dress code for all students at Hutchinson Technical High School in New York. Some school had these because they were trying to keep kids to the normal and "conform" them into what they wanted rather that have them express themselves in their own style; which they thought was rebelling against their parents.

Fashion Trend for Teenage Girls in the 1950s
Fashion Trend for Teenage Girls in the 1950s

This is a picture of some teenage girls showing off the new style. They had the shorter skirts/dresses, which is similar to our capri's today. They also have dog collars on their ankles. Depending on where the collar was placed, it meant a different thing. This was a hot trend for teenage girls of the 1950s.


For the new "teenagers" during this time, the 1950s were a time a independence and freedom. Before this time, they were limited to certain, like wearing certain clothes, listening to certain things, watching specific programs, rules, and even education. In the 1950s, teens broke free of that, by making their own clothing styles, gravitating to the new music of rock and roll, and overall becoming their own individual person. The teenagers before were tied down to the image of what society wanted them to be. Now, teenagers could be whoever they wanted, from the rock and roller like Elvis, to the tough guy like James Dean, the Teddy Boy of the British, to vivid colored dresses for the women. This time period was an opportunity for these young Americans to break free of the grip from not only their parents, but from society as a whole, and finally become a person of their own.

Work Cited:

Cox, Erika. "Teenage Life in the 1950’s." Rewind the Fifties. Rewind the Fifties, n.d. Web. 14 Nov 2011. http://www.loti.com/fifties_history/Teenage_Life_in_the_1950s.htm.

"Fashion in the 1950." Skwirk Interactive Schooling. Red Apple Education, n.d. Web. 14 Nov 2011.

Peneny, DK. "The Teenagers." The History of Rock and Roll. DK Peneny, 15 Oct 2009. Web. 14 Nov 2011. http://www.history-of-rock.com/teenagers.htm.

Board of Education, Buffalo, New York. "Dress Code for High School Students in New York." American History Online. Facts On File, Inc.15 Nov 2011

"Fashion Trend for Teenage Girls in the 1950s." Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. 15 Nov 2011