What Were the Hottest Pop Culture Trends of the 50s

Imagine high-waist bikinis, an overload of hairspray, cherry-topped chocolate milkshakes, poodle skirts, and swing dances in the high school gym. These are just some 50s stereotypes that helped pave the way for a new era of entertainment and fashion. That’s why in this article, we are going to go on a trip down memory lane and list out all the hottest pop culture trends that took over the 50s. 

Soda Fountains 

Back in the 50s, if you wanted a cold refreshing drink or ice cream, you will go find a store with soda fountains. If you wanted to throw an awesome party back in those days, all you have to do is put a jukebox, dance floor, and a soda fountain, then call your friends. At first, soda fountains were used in drug stores where carbonated drinks were offered as medicine. They mix sodas with syrups and other plant extracts to help cure particular sickness. But as the years pass, drug store soda fountains invaded the food and drink service. That’s why throughout the 50s, the soda fountains became a popular hangout spot for dancing and catching up with friends.

Sock Hops

Sock hops or also known as a school dance is still relevant until today. Back in the 50s, it was every teenager’s first taste of romance. It is typically an informal and school chaperoned event where high school and middle school teachers would decorate the entire gymnasium, serve fruit punch, and hire a DJ. Several popular dances in the 50s defined sock hops such as stroll, the jive, and the box step. Combined with rock ‘n’ roll plus the liberating feeling of removing your shoes while dancing is one of the memorable moments every teenager from the 50s has.

Poodle Skirts

This skirt is one of the most fashionable and memorable trends from the 50s era. These skirts were colorful, bright, swingy, and long that hit just below the knees. It is made of felt fabric, and it is designed with the image of a small poodle, that’s why it’s called the poodle skirt. It has both fashionable, feminine, and a definite eye-catcher. That’s why ladies love them back in the 50s.

Hula Hoops 

Nothing screams the 50s quite like seeing poodle skirt-wearing women rotating their hips in circles with a hula hoop. These are big plastic ring that is used in sync with twisting dance moves from the neck, to hips, to legs and arms. Your ultimate goal while playing the hula hoop is to keep it off the ground. 

Drive-in Movies

The first drive-in was opened in 1933, but it didn’t get popular until almost 20 years later. Maybe it helped that during the 50s, the American car culture was booming and also the movie nightlife. These two trends intersected and met at the iconic-drive where friends and lovers sat into their fancy convertibles while watching Hollywood films that were projected on outdoor screens. Movie watchers can also enjoy endless buckets of popcorn, hot dogs, and even playground swing sets.

Conical Bra

In the 50s, a woman’s sex appeal was defined by her curves and mainly, her breast. That’s why back then, women found a way to enhance their breasts with an ice cream cone-shaped piece of lingerie called the conical bra, bullet bra, or torpedo bra. This piece of undergarment was popularized by pin-up girls such as Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. This bra was made of satin or nylon materials that are stitched in a circular pattern. Basically, the conical bra was the push-up bra of the 50s before underwire and padding became popular in the 60s.

Coonskin Caps

The coonskin caps were popularized by Fess Parker when he wore it while playing the role of David Crocket in the Disney miniseries that aired in 1954. Reports say that the said show earned about $100,000,000 in sales just for the coonskin cap alone.


PEZ was created long before the 50s, but during this era, the company that makes PEZ decided to develop a pocket-sized dispenser that became very popular. The next thing you know, the PEZ dispenser machine was found in jean pouches and backpacks all across the country. Today, there are infinite character options available in the market.


In the 50s, the fluffier our hair, the better. Mustaches and beards weren’t as well-liked as the hair grown from the temple down to the jawline. Throughout the 50s, the sex appeal of a man depended on his facial hair and letterman jacket.

Varsity Jacket

Known as the letterman jacket, this was all the rage among teenagers and college male athletes during the 50s. This jacket was made of wool or leather, and it displays the varsity letter, wearer’s name, and the school’s mascot. This jacket was considered to be a sign of esteem because it was worn mainly by team captain athletes. Today, the varsity jacket is primarily worn by jocks.