The 50’s was an exciting time period, it was a revolutionary era. After the war the rise of the “teenager” happened. For the first time in a long time the adolescents were able to enjoy their youth. The 50 was an era of progression in the U.S. economy, marketing, and in U.S. culture and style.
For the first time in a long time there wasn’t a pressure of growing up and working. Before WWII everyone was forced to take life more seriously and were expected to have a family they needed to support. If males didn't have a job and family, they were pressured to join the services. Women were only expected to meet a man they needed to marry to support them and have children. College wasn’t an option for most just for a select few. “Teens” did not exist and had limited freedom, and hardly had economic power until they were married. Their decisions were highly influenced by the older generations. After the war the older generations had gone through both a depression and a world war so their priorities had changed and only cared about the most important things in their lives. They prioritized the people they loved and their happiness. With the economy boosted it was an era of demonstrating what it was like to live the American dream.
Not only was there a rise in the lifestyle, there was a revolution in marketing. Goods were no longer as scarce as they were during the war and credit was easy and accessible. After the war and the economy boost, Americans were ready to buy homes, cars, clothes and products. Americans wanted to buy items that demonstrated that they lived a leisurely lifestyle. Advertisers had a more powerful tools at their disposal. Not only did they have print ads now they had television. Now that the teenagers wanted to be flashy they became the new consumer, they were the new target market. Marketers now had a new audience. They had younger consumers to appeal to. The rise of the teenagers not only affected the economy and marketing it also affected the U.S. culture and style.
Now that “teens” were able to enjoy their youth and the economy was doing great they were now able to be individuals. The teens were given allowances and freedoms. With their new freedoms, money, and sense of individuality they found their own sense of style. There was a new fashion trend along with a new style of music. "Rock and Roll is an economic thing," says "pop" singer Jo Stafford, quoted in Billboard, October 13, 1958. "Today's nine-to fourteen year old group is the first generation with enough money given to them by their parents to buy records in sufficient quantities to influence the market. In my youth if I asked my father for 45 cents to buy a record, he'd have thought seriously about having me committed." Their new freedoms made teens more social but also more rebellious. They now had the ability to make their own decision which led them to sometimes be at odds with older generations. They called this the “generation gap”. The 50’s definitely had its own signature attitude and style.
The 50s were all about style from the mafia gangsters suited up with pin striped suits to the rebellious rock n roller greesers with their leather jackets and slicked back hair. From the backwards cardigans with poodle skirts to the sleeveless dress attached to a skirt they would layer with different color or style of blouse underneath they called the jumper. The slick smooth style of the 50’s even translated onto cars. Even the flashy cars were targeted towards the teenagers who loved to show off that the 50’s were truly the era of the American dream. The auto industry was starting to experiment with a new concept called a “sports car.” By the end of the 50s, Americans fell in love with the sports car. After all, the 50s gave birth to the Corvette.
There is no wonder the 50’s have been romanticized it was truly a one of a kind time. The 1950s were a time of prosperity in America because of the economic boom after the end of the Great Depression. In American memory, the postwar 1950s thriving U.S. economy, marketing, and their revolutionary step in culture and style, have acquired the 50’s a well deserved nostalgic idolization.