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Carol Perkins: Taps on their shoes

Previous Column: Just Like That

By Carol Perkins

I don't often look through old yearbooks, but when I do, I focus on the clothes and hairstyles of each year.

During the 50s and 60s I don't remember men concerned about what they wore or fashion trends except for a few things. In order to be like James Dean, some of the guys started wearing white tee-shirt and rolled up the sleeves. Tucked inside one sleeve might be a pack of Camels.

His jeans would likely be straight and tight, and he might have taps on his boots/shoes. Not taps like on tap dancing shoes, but smaller ones that went on the toes or the heels. The sound of those taps down the hallway at the Old Edmonton High School meant a "bad boy" was in the area. Not that any were bad, but they wanted to give off that vibe.

The typical male teen in the 50s wore cotton shirts with wide collars and trousers. His jeans were rolled up at the bottom and his shirttail was always tucked inside his pants. Every man wore a belt. He also wore a tie to church and most often, owned a sportscoat. Some of those designs reminded me of bowling shirts or how Ricky dressed in "I Love Lucy."

In a drawer somewhere in your home, you likely have a collection of cuff links and tie tacks from your grandfather's day. Every man had both. He also carried a hankerchief in his back pocket and a comb. His socks were probably white. That was a habit that many men never broke, long after white socks were taboo.

Flat top haircuts were popular back then and senior pictures can prove it. Not all guys were able to wear flat tops because of the condition of their hair. It might be too wavy or curly. Many barbers did their best to make the hair so flat on top that a plate could sit level. Long after this was no longer a style, some men continued to wear their hair like this no matter how much their children tried to get them to change.

Watching fashion trends is like a history lesson. Fashion styles have caused many family fights, mostly over boys and their long hair, but in the long run we've all survived to criticism the next generation!

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2022-02-25 12:47:05
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