Five '50s movie stars who started trends include both male and female stars. Hair was a major trend focus in the 1950s and 1960s, but clothing and attitude also went a long way in establishing trends that are remembered decades later.
- James Dean with the sideburns and the jacket with blue jeans. The traffic sign at the freeway off ramp in James Byron Dean's hometown of Fairmount, Indiana states that Dean defined "cool," and both males and females watching his last films, "Rebel Without a Cause" and "East of Eden", knew what cool trends meant. Men wanted James' haircut and sideburns as well as the cool jacket he wore that even on black-and-white film stock looked bright red. Jimmy's plain white t-shirt and blue jeans became the trendy de rigueur statement for street car racers and high school students in the late 1950s. Although other film actors wore similar fashions, it was Dean, one of the five '50s movie stars, who started trends.
- Audrey Hepburn and the pixie do. Since pixies are mythical, but it's difficult to figure out just what a pixie hair cut looks like. That fact didn't stop folks in the early 1960s from calling the short hair cut with the straight bangs a "pixie do." Audrey Hepburn had the head for the pixie. She was smart and knew how to sell a hair-do, and she actually had the physical head for a short haircut. The celebration of the do came in 1961 with the release of the Blake Edwards-directed film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" that starred the pixied Hepburn. The trend dye was cast and the pixie took off.
- Sandra Dee and the modified flip. The cast from the Broadway play sing, "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee!" several decades after Dee retired from the big screen. Sandra Dee was the star of "Gidget," "The Wild and the Innocent," and "A Summer Place," all released in 1959. Her trendy hair styles were so popular that she also signed a contract to serve as spokeswoman for Luster Cream shampoo in the 1960s. The curly pageboy was a Dee trend, as was the flip, a pageboy that demanded the ends to flip up instead of turning under.
- Lucille Ball and the poodle cut. Miss Ball is also one of the five '50s movie stars who started trends. The star of her own top-rated television show that also made popular the poodle hair style. Lucy's strikingly red hair started several trends. The actress cracked smart on her show that she had the brightest red that came out of a dye bottle. Since television was broadcast only in black and white, audiences had to take her word for the color and the trend followed.
- Elvis Presley and his slicked-down pompadour with sideburns. Although he was known for his hip-swinging vocal style, Elvis brought in the crowds as a film star and can assuredly be ranked as one of the five '50s movie stars who started trends. The newsreels featured Elvis and thousands of swooning fans. Girls loved his pompadour hair style with its high loft and slicked sides that stuck to his head making the top of the hair look even higher. The sideburns were long and jutted out with just the right flair to highlight Elvis' cheekbones and jaw line. Even though Elvis has permanently left the building, his hair style continues to make a trend that cycles every decade through new generations of teens.
Ellrod, J.G. "The Starts of Hollywood Remembered: Career Biographies of 82 Actors and Actresses of the Golden Ear, 1920s-1950s." McFarland & Company, 1997.
Turner Classic Movies. "Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era." Chronicle Books, 2006.