50′s Nostalgia: Fashion Statement – The Poodle Skirt

The clothing you grew up with never seems strange. It is just the way things were. You didn’t give it a second thought then or now. It’s only after many years pass that those pictures in your high school yearbook start to look a bit strange. You children make comments and you reconsider. Is that how we looked back then? Did we really dress like that? It does look a bit strange, doesn’t it. One example that comes to mind is the poodle shirt. Yes, I did say poodle skirt.

Every teen aged girl needed a poodle skirt in the 50′s. If you were in high school in the 50′s you know what they are- full skirts in solid colors with an applique of a poodle. You might see them at school but you would certainly see them at informal dances like the sock hops after football games. Being full circles of fabric, the skirts would swing easily while dancing, often with the supportive assistance of layers of crinoline petticoats . I remember them as made of felt which because of its substance kept the skirts from falling limply even without the crinoline. Imagine girls today wearing anything like a poodle skirt. No way dude!

It amazes me driving by the local high school and seeing what the well dressed student wears these days. I wonder if the girls even own a skirt. In the 50′s pants were forbidden to school girls let alone shorts. In the 50′s girls wore skirts and blouses- sometimes sweaters and even (gasp) dresses. Saddle shoes and bobby sox were common with most any school outfit. It is quite the contrast with what I see on the street today: ratty t-shirts and sweats over torn jeans and shorts. Today in my upscale community students wear clothes we would have been ashamed to wear slopping the hogs back in the 50′s. Today’s students wouldn’t be caught dead in a skirt, especially a poodle skirt.

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Joan November 11, 2010, 11:53 am

    Great trip down memory lane! I was born in 1950 and had a poodle skirt in elementary school. When I was in high school, I remember the cheer leaders used to sell passes for 25 cents each to raise money – buying a pass meant we could wear pants to school on that Friday.

    It’s too bad that schools don’t require more of a dress code. When kids are dressed up, their manners are so much better.

    Funny how when I was in high school my parents thought the younger generation had gone to the dogs because of long hair on boys – even though the boys in question still wore jackets and dress pants.

    Funny how things have changed.

  • Ralph November 11, 2010, 12:24 pm

    Joan,
    Thanks for adding information. I never thought about poodle skirts in elementary school. Paying to wear pants is new to me too. We had PEP Fridays where the PEP Squad girls wore special sweaters and dark skirts for the Friday night football games and we would have a PEP rally in the gym.

  • Bob @ JuicyMaters.com November 11, 2010, 5:25 pm

    I’m just a couple of years young for the poodle skirt era…born in 1955…but we had a look that was different…and attractive to guys, though it didn’t happen in school.

    Tight bellbottom jeans, platform shoes, tie-dyed T-shirts, and…no bras.

    Oh my. A security question for me at my hosting company for my blog is my favorite teacher’s name in high school. The answer is a 22 yr old, fresh out of college hippie girl…and she dressed like that. (progressive private school…students sat on the floor if they wished and called teachers by their first name).

    Damn I lusted after that teacher. Still do…LOL.

    • Ralph November 11, 2010, 5:30 pm

      Bob,
      There was a rapid fashion downhill spiral after the 50′s. I think boys in the 50′s would have approved your favorite look. I don’t think we could have dealt with no bra. Petting was like picking a lock, almost an art form.

  • Bob @ JuicyMaters.com November 11, 2010, 7:04 pm

    I didn’t worry about high school girls personal quirks. When I was 17 my regular girlfriend (for 3 years) was a 43 year old former Miss Georgia who was as hot as the day she won the pageant.

  • Bob @ JuicyMaters.com November 11, 2010, 7:05 pm

    Correcting my URL…don’t know why…CommentLuv still won’t work…

  • Ralph November 12, 2010, 8:05 am

    Bob,
    You were out of my league.
    Ralph’s last Blog Post ..Retirement Advice- Know what’s important

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