Fashion Trends During MLK Years

Story and photo by Camryn Smith

The photographed pieces of clothing are examples of popular prints and colors in women’s fashion during the time frame of Martin Luther King Jr.’s spokesperson years (1955-1969).

Fashion allows a person to make a statement. On Monday, Jan. 18,  our country took the day to remember and celebrate the history Martin Luther King Jr. made. During his time period, fashion was evolving along with society. Some of these trends seen during this era are being incorporated into today’s fashion.

The way a person dresses can influence the way others view them. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was common for men to wear business professional or business casual clothing. This can be seen with the suits MLK Jr. wore during his speeches and protests.

However, women’s fashion went through major changes. Women started to expand their clothing choices from dresses and skirts to pants and fitted shirts.

Central Michigan University junior Janell Camphor is familiar with the trends that took place during this time. She incorporates some of these trends into her clothing today.

“When I think of the time frame 1955-1969 fashion trends such as knee length skirts, floral patterns and high neck dresses and shirts come to mind,” Camphor said. “My favorite trend from those years that I even wear today are turtlenecks or high-necked shirts and straight leg pants.”

At the time, fashion began to include more color and patterns in both men’s and women’s clothing. Some of these trends were color blocking, gingham print, cheetah print and straight leg or tapered pants.

“I have seen a lot of cheetah and leopard print come back in style, which you can see a lot of fashion icons from back then wearing,”CMU  junior Cecilia Bonfiglio said. “I have a lot of those prints in my closet and see a lot of trendy brands incorporating this print in their clothing.”

Trends come and go, which can be seen in today’s fashion, but the trends of the ’50s and ’60s have left their mark on modern society, just as MLK has.