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June 4, 2016

What Did Children Wear in Post-World War II? These 20 Color Photos Show Children's Fashions in the 1950s

Even in America, very few children were allowed new clothes during the war. Like their older siblings and parents, they subscribed to the "mend and make do" philosophy. Many adult clothes that wore out were refashioned into children's clothes. Practicality was all that mattered.

The post-World War II baby boom helped make way for changes in 1950s kids' clothing. In America, it was a time of prosperity and so children were less likely to be dressed in hand-me-downs or clothes that were continually being made over. Fashions for both boys and girls were very different from previous generations.

Boys' clothes needed to be sturdy to hold up to their activity. As such, they began to be allowed to wear jeans to elementary school. Even some girls wore overalls, although most schools frowned upon girls in trousers. Clothes were increasingly made of manmade fabrics, which were easier to care for. Gradually, children were beginning to dress more like older boys and girls, although parents and the fashion industry were still strict about age-appropriateness.

(Photos by Nina Leen, via LIFE archives)


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