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 THE WAY WE WERE

Puttin' on the Fifties style

THEY were the break-out years, times when women threw off the dowdy fashion styles which had followed on from the war years and sought a brighter, more stylish, look.
The bras worn under tight sweaters were rigidly conical in shape, padded, wired, and unnaturally uplifted. Pencil slim, figure hugging skirts were eventually replaced in 1958 by the arrival of the sack dress which as its
name implied was similar in style to a sack. That same year skirts began creeping up once again having remained knee length for some time. Tights were for the suture, smart young women wore stockings.
In summer dresses in floral fabrics were popular and fitted tops and full skirts were essential for the well dressed young woman.
In particular they liked full skirts which stuck out wide with petticoats, an effect which was achieved using nylon net or wire.
For evening wear full, length ball gowns the acceptable thing to wear - the tighter the better - and in colder weather tight pants, with long bulky jumpers and stiletto heeled shoes were popular. Jeans became acceptable as
fashion item, men wearing them with white t-shirts and leather jackets.
*Find out more more about Fifties fashions by clicking on the article Women looking good.
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A COUPLE of pennies were all that were needed for a phone call in the late Fifties.
Many will recall the A-button boxes in use at the time. You put the money in, dialled and on hearing the phone answered pressed button A. On no reply or engaged, pressing button B saw your money returned (if you were lucky).
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REMEMBER the orange juice from your local clinic?
It came in glass bottles, was horrible stuff to drink and extremely sticky!
Also freely available for youngsters was cod liver oil.
Both were distributed by the Government as part of a children's health supplement.
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The cost of living
In 1958:
*A Belling cooker cost 43 19s. It was said to "...really look after itself. It will switch itself on, keep the oven at exactly the right heat and then switch off when the meal is cooked even though you're miles away at work or shopping."
*Park Drive "the really good" tipped cigarette cost 1s 3d for a packet of 10.
*Householders were urged to burn "clean, smokeless" gas coke, 16cwt of which it was said, gave as much warmth as 20cwt of coal. And to get the fire going you could use a gas poker - "it's as easy as lighting your cigarette."
*A TV set complete with 17ins tune was offered for rental at 11s a week. A similar sized model was on sale for 67 guineas.
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*In 1959:
A Hoover steam dry iron cost 4 12s 1d.
*Spring interior mattresses which were guaranteed for five years cost 50s.
*You could buy a cottage suite, said to be ideal for the smaller room, for 17 10s.
*Farley's Rusks for babies cost 9d or 1s 5d a box at Boots the Chemist.
*Cleaner cooking was offered with a Belling cooker in which the oven lining ame out in one piece. It cost 36 6s.
*A new Standard 10 car cost 624 9s 2d.
*A Portarack car roof rack cost from 2 17s 6d to 14 17s 6d

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Oh Boy...remember these?
Emile Ford
Michael Holliday
King Brothers
The Mudlarks
Vince Taylor and His Playboys
Tommy Steele
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SMOKING was considered sophisticated in the Fifties.
Most young lads enjoyed a crafty drag at around 11 or 12 years of age. Cigs gave a boy man appeal - or so it was believed.
Just what you smoked reflected your status. At the cheap end of the market were Turf cigarettes produced by Carreras, and Wild Woodbines from WD and HO Wills.
In some shops you could buy a packet of five "Woodies," the packs being of paper rather than thin card.
And a few good newsagents would even supply youngsters with one or perhaps two cigarettes, plus a couple of matches to light them with.
Who remembers Craven A, with their cork tips, Senior Service, Black Cat and, of course the "real man's" smoke - Capstan Full Strength?
Many Fifty or so's of today will remember being caned at school for having a smoke? At some schools three strokes of the cane were a common punishment for such an "offence."
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Oh Boy... remember these?
Jackie Dennis
John Barry 7
Cuddley Dudley
Peter Elliott
Neville Taylor and the Cutters
Maggie Stredder
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Written by The Editor - 11/01/2003 10:25:57

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On the (Fifties) road


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Happiest days of our lives?


Fashion styles with man appeal