Fashion Statements

- Michael "Bongo" Schloss

Pointed toe shoes, which were popular in the 30s, I believe, made a brief return in the Fifties. Brief. Earlier, the big thing was to wear "penny loafers" you know, the loafer with a bright shiny one cent US coin in the instep overlay.

The big thing for the girls in the Fifties and Sixties was crinoline slips that were well starched and widened their skirt tails. There were also pedal-pushers (three-quarter pants, more recently called Capri pants) and short shorts.

Halfway through the decade of the 1950s there was the invasion of the see-through nylon shirts. Then man and man would be sure to have a pack of Kent cigarettes in the pocket... Kent "with the micronite filter." Didn't matter too tough if you actually smoked them, the cigarettes were to be seen.

Cigarettes were Four Aces, Royal Blend (all made in Jamaica), Zephyr, Camel, Rothmans, Kent, Craven A and Gold Flake (which died out early). Buccaneer, a local brand, was by far the cheapest of those available; however, it was unfiltered and considered to be “disgusting” by those who could afford better.

There was also the trend to wear not just khaki pants but American khaki pants. These were a smoother softer knit and were of the type and colour often worn by the US army men of the time. Although several boys were fortunate enough to get theirs from relatives in the States, they were available locally at El Corte Ingles on Harbour Street, just west of King Street.

But at the end of the decade or just before came the era of the Banlon shirt—again, a nylon shirt but not see-through this time. It was a nice soft nylon knit and you were not saying nutten if you did not have a Banlon shirt.

I was always pretty slow in catching on to these fads, and so I was just about the last man to wear a see-through nylon shirt, but I grabbed the Banlon shirt thing early o'clock! Nice shirts. I still look wistfully for them today.

 

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