Since 2007, the TV series Mad Men has encouraged a new trend in women’s fashion, with printed dresses and intricate hairstyles all the rage, but for men the show has left little options. Tailored suits and polished shoes are fine to a point, but away from the office the modern man needs to look outside of this show for his 50s inspired style. .
It might seem unlikely, but current fashion trends are more similar to the outfits worn by the Happy Days cast than Don Draper and his colleagues. A dark, understated blazer or cardigan over a light coloured shirt looks great with jeans or chinos; as long as you don’t tell anyone that you’re style icon is Richie Cunningham. Alternatively, these can be smartened up with formal trousers, a white shirt and a skinny tie to achieve a look reminiscent of Mad Men, but which is not so formal as to be office-wear.
Another great Happy Days trend to come back into fashion over winter was patterned knitwear. Usually these use neutral tones, which could be teamed with chinos for a preppy look or with jeans for a more masculine, rugged style.
In the 1950s men also took their fashion cues from the westerns of the period. Shows like the Lone Ranger, Rawhide and Gunsmoke filled the television schedule, and men began to dress accordingly. Although the more extreme versions of the cowboy shirt look appropriate only at rodeos and square dancing events, a chequered shirt with jeans is ideal for a hot summer’s day. When it gets cooler, a flannel shirt again delivers a rugged, outdoorsy style.
When styling hair, it isn’t hard to see a growing trend in celebrities who have taken their inspiration from the 50s. Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars and Robert Pattinson are all guilty of waxing their hair as high as it will go, with the Fonz and the boys from Grease an obvious inspiration. To achieve the same look, let your hair grow first so that you have something to work with, then cover it in product and shape. It’s worth noting that although the hairstyle came back, the leather jackets didn’t.
For a different 50s-inspired hairdo, compare Glee’s Darren Criss to the cast of Mad Men. Again a lot of product is used, but with this look it is used to hold the hair down, and perfectly in place.
The answer then is to look outside of Mad Men. That show may have started the trend, but for men the 50s style gaining in popularity today is based more on cowboys and Happy Days.