The 1950's saw the birth of rock and roll and the first wave of teenage uber-fans, who popularized the poodle skirts, cat eye glasses, bobby socks, and saddle shoes that make 50s style iconic today. If you're going to a 50s sock hop, poodle skirts were the popular choice of the day. If you're going to a 50s theme party but not specifically a sock hop, there are plenty of creative ways to dress up like the 50s. Here are a few recommendations:
Greaser and Bobby Soxer
Pink Ladies and T-Birds (Grease costumes)
Tweety Bird and Sylvester (Tweety was created in 1942 and the rivals battled in their first cartoon short in 1947. In 1951, the song "I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat" was a hit single!)
The Lone Ranger (1949 to 1957)
Elvis and Priscilla, Ann Margret, or Adoring Fan/Bobby Soxer
Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio (they married in 1954)
Zorro (a popular Disney show featured this character from 1957 to 1959)
Alice in Wonderland and Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, or Queen of Hearts (the famous animated Disney film was released in 1951)
Car Hop or Diner Waitress (the 1940s and 50s were the Golden Age of diners)
Swing dancers - polka dot skirt for the gal and zoot suit for the guy! (Jitterbug, East Coast Swing, West Coast swing and more swing dances were popular throughout the 30's, 40's and 50's ... and today!)
Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Fred and Ethel (I Love Lucy aired from 1951 to 1957)
Ozzie and Harriet (show aired from 1952 to 1966)
Leave it to Beaver (show aired from 1957 to 1963) - lots of options here, June and Ward, Wally and the Beave, Wally and Eddie Haskell
50's housewife - a demure dress with full skirt, pearls and dainty gloves
Pin up girl
A beehive hairdo and cat eye glasses. The beehive first came to popularity in 1958.
Gumby and Pokey. Gumby debuted in the mid-1950s and remained popular throughout the 50s and 60s (and today).
Charlie Brown and Lucy or Snoopy Charlie Brown made his first appearance in 1947, and Peanuts debuted in 1950.
Don't forget the accessories - cat eye glasses and sunglasses in every color, saddle shoes, earrings, scarves, headbands, bobby socks, petticoats, wigs, switchblade comb, skinny neckties, class ring necklace, and more!