Rock and Roll originated in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s from the phrase “rocking and rolling” (describing the dancing movement to the new rock music). Rock and roll was more than just music, it influenced lifestyles, fashion, attitudes, and language. It is thought that rock and roll may have helped the cause of the civil rights movement because both African American teens and white American teens shared the enjoyment of the music.
Before the 1940’s teenagers were seen but not heard, their time was spent working to in money to help the family. After the war teenagers were able to stay at school and work part time. This money was not needed by the family and was spending money. The teenagers began to have a voice. The music of the era gave them this. They finally had music that interested them.
Teenagers of the time found rhythm of the backbeat suited older dance styles. The jitterbug was reborn and gym dances, home basement dance parties and “sock hops” became the rage. American teens were kept up to date with the latest dance and fashion styles with the now famous “American Bandstand” TV show.
After the war silks and wools were again available which allowed the designers more freedom. The fashion was also influenced by the dance style to highlight the skirts/dresses and men’s decorated shoes. The fashion was very female/male orientated, female’s wore big skirts and tight tops which accentuated the female form, while male’s wore tailored suits and skinny ties and bow ties . A lot of care was taken in presentation, grooming and styling.