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The Birth of Casual Shirts for Men

Casual shirt – if there was ever a fashion rebellion that bend the rules just enough to not break them, it was this. While the concept of men’s shirts in fashion dates back to time itself, the styles of shirts for men evolved multiple times in the history of fashion. However, men’s shirts were considered formal wear well into the 20th century. In fact, it wasn’t until the street style started dominating the fashion scene that casual shirts started making an appearance.

Street style may have some quintessential elements that belong solely to the streets, but the ever-changing fashion of shirts sure has made a comfortable nook in streetwear. It is interesting to see how casual shirts for men evolved with the ever-changing fashion of the streets. One of the most prominent periods of men’s fashion was in the 1950s, and the sheer variation in the styles of men’s shirts was fascinating. 1950s was truly the beginning of men’s shirt styles exploding in the fashion industry.

Shirts for men in the 1950s strayed miles away from the ‘bold and boring’ office wear, and ventured into everything from polo shirts to the ever-so-popular Hawaiian printed shirts. This was the first time that men started wearing their shirts over the pants, instead of tucking them in. It was the beginning of what we today call casual shirts.

The 1950s also saw a boom in sports shirts for men. These shirts were advertised as hasslefree, uncrushable and simply easier fashion, and they sure lived up to the name. Evening drinks after work and sports matches over the weekend saw men donning the casual sports shirts – definitely not formalwear, but also not completely casual as a t-shirt. Once again, streetwear was creating a subculture of fashion that created a unique form of self-expression, and at the same time, allowed for finding a sense of belongingness amongst like minded people.

This was also the time when the impact of television and movies of the west was seen widely in clothes, especially on men’s shirts in fashion. Cowboy fashion shirts for men became the new fad on the streets. The bold colours of the 1950s combined with the cowboy fashion inspired by the western movies, opened men’s street style to a gold mine of streetwear.

Then, of course, there were the Hawaiian printed shirts for men that screamed out cool. These shirts for men had bright colours printed with pink flamingos, colourful flowers, and scenes of the beach with palm trees. Hawaiian shirts became the go-to attire for house parties in the summer or just an afternoon by the beach. As the name suggests, these shirts were heavily influenced by the American party culture, with their vivid prints of the beach parties or the sports stage and lifestyle, and they were massively adopted by the streets. For a garment that represented mostly formal business attire, the vibrant Hawaiian printed shirts represented a large leap for casual fashion in men’s streetwear.

Then, of course, there were the bowling shirts that went a step further than Hawaiian printed shirts. These were usually short-sleeved boxed shirts, and during the 1950s, they redefined what men ‘could’ and ‘should’ wear. Pink bowling shirts started gaining popularity, and the stereotypical rules of society were challenged by fashion.

The 50s were truly a mixing pot of all kinds of fashion, especially in men’s shirts. Even though the streets were dominated by bold and bright fashion that defined ‘different’, there were simpler and yet casual alternatives that made for a large chunk of streetwear. The button-down shirts and knit shirts were closer to the traditional style of men’s shirts, but different enough to be categorised as casual fashion.

And if you’re thinking that the 50s fashion was restricted just to the decade, think again. The retro look has never truly gone out of style, and if you are willing to play around with the rules, you can the style of the 50s and rock it in the 2020s!

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