Every year Reno, Nevada hosts Hot August Nights, the biggest antique car show on the West Coast. The week’s theme falls heavily on the 1950s complete with sock hop, prom, and rock n’ roll concerts. Many people get dressed in 1950s costumes. Usually, women are dressed in pink poodle skirts.
Frankly, I do not like poodle skirts. They are so over worn at 1950s themed events that I was beginning to wonder if anyone in the ’50s wore anything else (and yes they did. Read here about 1950s skirts). I considered wearing a ’50s house dress or a “Pink Ladies” outfit from Grease. Both would have been fun, but not unique. It was not until I received an email from bowlingshirt.com announcing the new arrival of the Suzy Q bowling shirts that I thought about dressing as a car hop waitress.
The Suzy Q, renamed Muckler bowling shirts, were designed for women bowlers. The shirts were designed to resemble the vintage v-neck collared button-down shirts that were very popular in the 1950s. They were especially common as uniforms for women — 1950s car hop servers included.
The Suzy Q shirts are available in several color combination. They would look perfect matched with a short skirt, capri pants, or yes, a poodle skirt. Add a wide belt, scarf, matching ties for your pony tails, cat eye glasses, and a pair of roller skates to make your 1950s costume complete.
1950s Diner Girl Costume
Many ’50s car hops, diner girls and waitresses wore uniform dresses instead of separates.
Most uniforms were provided by the restaurant with a logo and themed colors. Most uniforms had white cuffs and collars, buttons and belts. This is what distinguished the uniform apart from women’s personal dresses. Many waitress uniforms also came with a half apron and matching hat. Drive in diners and movies may have had car hops wear roller skates too!
Naturally, you can find a ’50s diner girl costumes online, too, but they are usually not very authentic (AKA too short and too colorful). They do make shopping much easier though. Shop here for 50s car hop costumes.
Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.