Fashion following World War II was very different from the one of the war years. After the war had ended, Many countries were getting restored and started growing quickly. In France, fashion houses were reopened and Paris resumed its position as a high fashion leader.
Commonly used square shoulders and short skirts were replaced by the soft femininity of Christian Dior's "New Look" silhouette which included sweeping longer skirts, fitted waist and rounded shoulders. This "softer look" was hugely successful and popular during the 40's but was later succeeded by an unfitted style of clothing in the 50's. Although the unfitted style arose as an alternative to the New Look, Paris designers rapidly started transforming the popular trend into houte couture. Spanish designer Belenciaga had shown unfitted suits and dresses in Paris as early as 1951 and 1954 respectively. Yves Saint Lauren, Dior's protégé and successor, debuted the "Trapeze Line" featuring a shaped bodice with sloping shoulders and a high waist. Coco Chanel's Channel Suit had an important influence in the latter 1950's including a braid-trimmed cardigan-style jacket and A-line skirt.
Sportswear played an important role in fashion too. New York became the american clothes design centre, specially of sports clothing. Women wore sportswear on a regular basis since this kind of clothes suited the informal aspects of the post-war period. Casual skirts were narrow or very full. In the 50's pants became narrow and were worn ankle length. Pants cropped to mid-calf were houseboy pants; shorter pants were called pedal-pushers. Bermuda shorts appeared around 1954 and remained fashionable for the rest of the decade. Bikinis were introduced in Europe but were not used in the US.
Influenced by the New Look women worn short and curled hair. Although hats were worn in almost every occasion and were very fashionable at first, their usage got less frequent with time as more styles were introduced. "Beat" girls, for example, used their hair long and straight.
During the 40's and 50's, suits represented an important part of menswear. In the US, the "Bold Look" was introduced, with wide shoulders, broad lapels, and an emphasis on bold accessories. In the UK, Savile Row (traditional home of custom tailoring) was heavily damaged by The Blitz (bombing of the United Kingdom during Second World War) and was slow to recover. In 1950, however, Savile Row launched the "New Edwardian Look" featuring a slightly flared jacket, natural shoulders, and an overall narrower cut, worn with a curly-brimmed bowler hat and a long slender overcoat with velvet collar and cuffs. This style was adopted by the Teddy Boys who included bright socks and a bootlace necktie.
Plaids were fashionable in the 50's. While tartan (a design from Scotland consisting of different woven patterns) plaids were famous in the earliest half of the decade, in the latter plaids and checks of all types were worn. Corduroy jackets with leather buttons, Khaki-colored pants and Hawaiian shirt became popular during this era.