Remember the days before modern technology, endless Netflix streaming, and social distancing? Our pace of life used to be very different from how it is today, and we wanted to take a look at how it was in the age before smartphones. This photo series shows the rare and behind the scenes moments of everyday life in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.
We take a peek inside the workplaces, public spaces, and nightlife hot zones that memories were made of. Take a look at our handpicked selection of the best color photos that capture those forgotten moments. Just try not to lose yourself in the past!
An Old School Inkjet
Back in the ’60s, modern workspaces looked very different from what they do today. Believe it or not, this is actually a Recordak reader printer! The operator in the picture is inserting film into the left side slot, where it will be automatically loaded. Depending on the model, the film would load in a 3M type cartridge or the reel would be held in a clip.
Either way, the film was loaded with no extra handling needed from the operator. Luxury certainly looked a lot different back in the day. Even in terms of dress sense. Imagine having to get that dressed up every day, a full face of makeup and everything!
Can I Take This Book Out?
This one’s a real nostalgic throwback to the public libraries of the ’70s. In this image, students are seen speaking with the public library staff back when things weren’t digital. If you wanted to find out if a book was available, or speak to someone about your account, you had to wade through mountains of paper files.
In this retro library setting, everything was cataloged on paper only. Today, we’re used to the luxury of being able to find our books online or check if they’re available, as everywhere has been digitalized. It’s interesting to remember how it used to be. If only people appreciated a good hard cover book the way they used to.
Life’s a Ball
This colorized photo from the ’50s shows a group of young, debutant women at a cocktail party. They are absolutely glowing in their minimal makeup and glorious ball gowns. This was the sought after style of the decade.
There’s something about these gorgeous fashions that just makes us want to play dress up. In those days, women wanted to wear dresses that cinched in their waist and cascaded down to their ankles. They came in all kinds of beautiful designs, bright colors, and decorative patterns.
Flying in Style
Take it all in: piano man Billy Joel reclines in his first-class airline seat in 1978. He was traveling from Austin to Dallas during a tour that promoted his 52nd Street album, but clearly the job had a few perks. He looks ever the singing and songwriting superstar in his big shades and baseball cap.
With that much legroom on a plane, we’re not surprised Billy’s feeling relaxed. And the way they’ve decorated could have only been pulled off in the ’70s. The designers opted for a gradient of sunset colors and, incredibly, matching plane seats. It looks more like a kids funhouse than it does a commercial aircraft.
One Way to Keep the Kids Hydrated
Who remembers being reminded to have a snack and a drink when we were busy playing games with other kids? This parent came up with the best solution; watermelon. t’s both one of your five fruits and vegetables a day and a thirst-quencher.
These local neighborhood kids are taking a rest from running around to enjoy the fresh watermelon while it lasts. And we’re loving the style on show. Flares, bright colors, and geometric patterns weren’t reserved for the adults alone. These kids are well-kitted out with the fashion of the decade.
A Sixties Sorority Slumber Party
This looks like a scene from a film. In this image, a group of sorority sisters hang out in their jammies and cuddle up to their favorite soft toy for the picture. It’s the ’60s, and each girl is wearing either pastel pink or blue pajamas and has a ribbon in her hair.
We can’t think of anything girlier. It looks like these sorority sisters planned out the perfect evening to bond, have fun, and bring them closer together as a group. We’ve got to say, they certainly seem like the sweetest and most innocent looking bunch we’ve ever seen.
A Problematic Carseat
This baby from the ’50s looks super cute in his old-man flat cap and all-white ensemble and has a surprisingly stylish car seat to match. We had no idea that parents back then could get their hands on a sleek, minimal, and chrome-finished seat for their little ones.
Of course, it looks considerably less safe. This was back in the days where there were far fewer road rules and regulations, and babies could ride in the front seat without being strapped in! It’s a scary thought, and an interesting image to see just how far we’ve come since then.
Catching Rays at Any Age
This photo depicts two different generations sitting on a London bench in the famous uptown Chelsea neighborhood. A young woman takes a break in the sun and enjoys her ice cream, while another woman watches on. We don’t know about you but we find this image of two worlds sat next to each other very endearing.
It was 1967 and the sixties in London were in full swing! What is really startling is that this is back in The Beatles’ heyday, but it looks as if it could have been taken yesterday. Even the younger woman is dressed similarly to how you might find young people dressed today.
The Retrofuturistic Aesthetic
Take a look at retrofuturism at its finest. In the ’60s, fantasizing and imagining what kind of future awaits us was the big thing, encouraged by the strides made in space travel and Commander Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.
These two costumed actors at Disneyland are a perfect example of what attracted so many to the idea of a technologically advanced future. People anticipated the styles that will come, the sleek and streamlined looks, and the advancements in science and technology. It was irresistible to people’s imaginations.
The Origins of Rock N Roll
This photo is straight from the ’50s when rockabilly music was in full swing. It’s an early style of rock ‘n’ roll whereby Western musical styles like country, was combined with that of rhythm and blues. It was especially popular in the American south, having taken off as a subculture.
As we can see, young people especially took to it. A bunch of guys and gals gather on the laminated dance floor to throw some shapes, while others look on with their dates and a Slurpee. But that’s how you used to have fun in those days; getting dressed up and going to see your local rockabilly band live.
A ’50s Girl Gang
Take a look at these happy prep school friends from the ’50s. We love how we can see a variety of hair and clothing styles that women were opting for. From short, wavy pixie cuts to neatly plaited pigtails, these women are wonderfully different yet somehow all very much of the decade.
These women have actually been friends with each other since their preschool days in the ’20s. It was even more common back then than it is today to remain especially close to friends you made in your very young years. A lot of the time, people didn’t move very far from where they were raised, so it was easier to stay in close contact.
The Best TV Boxes Money Could Buy
It’s a familiar scene; a young ’50s couple in a home electronics shop browsing televisions, while a salesman hovers close by. The big difference between now and then is how far we’ve come in technology. Take a look at just how far technological advancement has come for the good ol’ living room TV set.
Not only were the screens much smaller than the wide-angle flat screens of today, but they were so much bulkier back then, too. They were so wide in fact that people often used the top of the TV as another table surface. Not only that, but they weren’t remote controlled either. You had to go up to the TV and turn the dials on the side.
Mischievous Kids in the Streets of NY
They say there’s nothing like teen spirit but these preteens are giving them a run for their money. These three rebellious kids are doing what kids do best – making a mess! They’re standing on top of an old car, dancing, and setting up a foldout chair. Yep, they sure are a handful.
Captured by photographer Camilo José Vergara, he took this photo of the Bronx, New York City somewhere between 1970-73. It reminds us of the good old days when kids could happily play out in the street and make their own fun.
Postcard-Worthy Summers on the Beach
Weekends by the seaside wasn’t just a thing of fiction once – it was a reality back in the day. But it’s so peachy in this ’50s photo that it’s hard to believe it was real. People would bring their new convertibles right up to the shoreline and frolic with friends and family. You couldn’t ask for more.
We love the array of car colors on the left-hand side as they really put us in mind of the seaside. Something you also don’t see as much on today’s beaches is such clean sand. These days it is far more littered, unfortunately, at popular beach hotspots. But clearly, this wasn’t the case back then.
Four Shakes to Go
Taken by the famed ’60s photographer Joel Meyerowitz, he managed to perfectly encapsulate what the spirit of the youth was all about, even without getting a clear shot of anyone’s faces! From the duck egg blue car paint job to the drive-in sign in the distance, everything is making us feel nostalgic for that magical decade.
A family of four sit in their car after dad has just bought everyone milkshakes. And mom is in the passenger seat looking as stylish as ever in her bold white shades. We don’t know about you but we feel like summer fun can’t come quick enough.
Car Culture in the ’50s
A fascination with antique cars was around even in the ’50s. Check out the parking garage of this drive-through, where a bunch of young men loiters about next to the blue car of a bygone era. The irony is that all of their cars are, by today’s standards, considered classic cars.
In the ’50s, drive-throughs were a regular social hangout for young people, and this photo captures that perfectly. They could get fast food at a low price and linger around each other cars, coming and going as they please. One step up was the drive-in theater when many young couples would have their dates.
Photographer Joel Meyerowitz captured these elegant ladies in a candid moment around 1962-63. He was one of color photography’s earliest advocates, capturing everyday life in the early years of accessible color photography and drawing focus onto the often overlooked parts of life.
He particularly loved capturing life on city streets. Looking at these glamorously dressed women, we are left assuming what they might have been doing that overcast day. Were they models standing at the side waiting for a photoshoot? Or perhaps on their way to some event, waiting for their dates? We can’t be certain, but we’re glad we got to witness this moment in such great color all the same.
A Kodak Moment
Today, we’re used to getting things as quickly as possible. But back in the day it wasn’t like that, and when it came to photography, you used to have to wait to get your photos developed from a specialist shop. These four young girls in the ’70s have hurriedly opened up their pack of freshly developed pictures, and it’s reminding us of a simpler time.
Of course, there are benefits to living in the age of digital cameras and instant-media smartphones. But there is something special about these kids tearing into some long-awaited shots that they couldn’t wait to finally see. Perhaps not being able to look at your memories immediately after capturing them makes them a little more special.
The Fast-Food Boom
A fast-food chain that’s still alive and well today is Jack in the Box, the drive-through that specialized in hamburgers. Many of the fast-food chains were born in the ’50s such as Wendy’s and McDonald’s, and it’s pretty fascinating to see what they looked like in their early days. We can see that Jack in the Box went for a playful company design even back then.
Jack in the Box was founded in 1951, first opening in San Diego. They had an intercom system connected to their tiny restaurant space and offered the passing traffic hamburgers for only 18 cents. In 1954, they successfully expanded their business in Texas. Fast forward almost 70 years, and they have over 2,000 restaurants now in the US.
What a Real Seventies Wedding Looked Like
One Reddit user just had to share this image of their parents looking, as they put it, “magazine shoot ready at their wedding.” It was the late ’70s and boy, was fashion different back then. It was a hot summer day in South Dakota and they had made their day a family-only affair.
You might have noticed that their cake is leaning a little more on one side. The person who posted it admitted that since it was so low-key, the cake was handmade. We’re just loving the vibe of this couple either way. From the bride’s peasant-style gown to the groom’s brown tuxedo and ruffled shirt, you couldn’t get more ’70s than that.
Seventies Flight Attendants
Check out these stylish air stewardesses waiting to board a plane in 1971. They were working for Delta Air Lines, who were busy advertising their new 747’s that served Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Detroit, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
Airlines would take a lot of concern in the appearance of their flight attendants, as it was considered an important aspect of attracting customers. Luckily, today they have far more practical attributes in mind. We just want to know, did the airline hand out varying styles of white sunglasses, or did these three women attain them on their own?
NY’s Multi-Purpose Fire Hydrants
Chilean born photographer Camilo José Vergara captured this perfectly-timed photo of two kids in New York City between 1970-73. They don’t know each other, but that hasn’t stopped them bonding as they take it in turns to drink from the burst fire hydrant.
Fire hydrants were far more common in the seventies than they are today. As an access point for firefighters to connect with a water supply, they sometimes had alternative uses. Like above, where it acts as a sprinkler and fountain for a couple of kids on the street.
The Happiest Sound of Our Childhood
There’s nothing that brought more joy to our young ears than hearing that the local ice cream truck had finally come to our part of town. That being said, it’s not just for kids – adults would also hurry to get a frozen treat whether they like to admit it or not. Take a look at this ’70s throwback of a line of people waiting to be served by Mister Softee.
It’s interesting to see that in almost 50 years, hardly anything has changed. Ice cream vans still advertise their delicious treats in posters along the side of the vehicle, and they still drive through neighborhoods playing music. We guess it comes down to the old saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
It Was a Simpler Time
If there’s any photo that shows how different childhood is today compared to how it used to be, this is it. These ’70s kids are running down the street, excited to try and fly their kite. It’s hardly like that in today’s world, where the younger generation is glued to their phone screens, tablets, and computers.
It feels like this was a more well-rounded way to grow up – outdoors, with children who lived close by, making things with your hands. And as more time passes and we get further away from this reality, these photos become exceedingly symbolic of how we really are living in a different era.
A Picnic With the Gals
It may not have the popularity that it has today but even in the ’50s, some people took to bathing in the sun, hoping for a tan. As is the case for these four young women, three of them have dressed down to their bathing suits to get the best possible results (while still remaining modest!)
These ladies are doing what people still do to this day. They meet up and hang out outside in a park looking to get the most out of the good weather. We love seeing that these young women chose to picnic out in the open with not a care in the world about onlookers.
We didn’t realize that advertising was quite so forceful back in 1960. Take a look at this corner shop that’s been plastered with Coca Cola ads on every square inch. No wonder it’s such a staple household drink – even for these young kids, with all that signage, buying a refreshing cola seems hard to resist.
Taken by photographer Fred Herzog, he took this color image in 1960, when color photography still wasn’t taken as seriously as the classic black and white. He persisted, favoring bold colors in particular. He loved to capture the complexities of street life, and in the end, it paid off. This photo is worth up to $5,000 today.
Let Me Take You to the Dance
We think this photo is utterly charming. Not only because the woman in the center of the image is of more mature age, but also because of the way her partner is gazing at her. They’re at a high school prom in the ’50s, but you’d be mistaken for thinking they were sharing their first dance on their wedding day.
We can see that classic ’50s silhouette in her great white ball gown as well as those of the other attendees. They were likely teachers at the school, chaperoning the dance and enjoying the night with the students. That being said, it looks like they might have only had eyes for each other.
In a scene that looks like something taken from a Beach Boys music video, this beach moment from the ’50s has us feeling impatient for the summer. Gorgeous blue waves, white sand, and pollution-free beaches were all a reality for Florida’s residents at Daytona Beach.
We can see an array of super-stylish convertibles all clean and shiny. They’ve been painted in the popular automotive colors of the day – pastel yellow, white, burgundy, and drive freely along the shore. After all, the Beach Boys had to get their inspiration from somewhere, and it looks like they took it straight from here.
Take a look at Janis Rinehart in a photo taken for the cover of Sports Illustrated back in 1964. Along with other fellow members of the Texas Track Club, she became the first U.S. female track athlete to grace the cover of the iconic magazine. They were high-school and college-aged sprinters who had a coach with alternative methods.
The coach believed that beauty was important in getting people interested in the sport. “We were pioneers in women’s track,” Janis said, adding “We were making it popular. And people liked the way we looked because we were flashy.” It’s not the conventional approach but it did land them on the front cover.
This young woman selling flowers in 1973 was sure to get a lot of customers. Apparently, it was common for people to buy flowers off of female roadside flower sellers only to hand them back as a romantic gesture.
It seems like this Oklahoma-based woman has dressed for work strategically. She is wearing a blouse with a flower print and relying on the barely-there outfit to draw in customers. Business is business!
It’s Not Rocket Science
You were far more likely to find children playing outdoors in the ’70s than you are today. These days, everybody is locked up indoors and on their phones and laptops. But this throwback photo is reminding us of the good old times when kids would just sit in the grass and play make-believe.
These two kids are getting hands-on with their Estes model rocket kit and launcher. Back in the ’70s, they were quite the craze, especially among boys. Solid fuel cartridges would shoot them up into the air which, as it burned, would sometimes ignite a secondary charge. For those who got skilled enough at it, a parachute would deploy!
Let’s travel back to the high school experience in 1969 when The Beatles and Rolling Stones were ringing through the ears of every teenager. Taken by Life magazine photographer Arthur Schatz’s for his photo-essay on high school fashion. We can see quite an array of styles in this casual photo.
The Californian high schooler that is posing wears a laid-back ensemble consisting of a T-shirt and red velvet trousers. But her classmates in the background appear to be dressed more like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. They’re wearing multi-colored dresses and sweater-vest/skirt combos in all sorts of patterns.
The Golden Age of Flying
If you were one of the lucky passengers in this cabin on board this Pan-Am flight in the late ’60s then you were treated to a generous serving of legroom. But this isn’t first-class – this is actually the economy cabin of the Economy 747. There is colorful seating, tall ceilings, and two flight attendants in pink berets dishing out some food from the aisles.
In fact, the planes of the 1960s were generally much more spacious than they are today. But don’t feel too cheated, there were still many drawbacks to flying in those days that you would have to consider. Namely, those would include the high cost of flying, the slower speed, and the increased flight risk.
The ’50s Marion Cotillard
This photo of Linda Lawson in 1954 is so vivid and colorful it looks like it could have been taken yesterday. Here, the showgirl poses happily for the camera on an inflatable float in a public swimming pool. Is it just us, or does she look like a vintage version of the French actress Marion Cotillard?
She was the singing and acting sensation who spent the late ’50s, 60s, and early ’70s in the limelight. And where else would you find someone like that other than in Vegas! Although originally from Michigan, she was married to her Beverly Hills-bound actor John Foreman and raised two daughters with him. Both of whom are also actresses.
Blonde Bombshell Brigitte
The infamous Brigitte Bardot, a glamor icon of the ’60s, lies on a towel by a pool looking to catch a few rays. Nicknamed the “temptress of Saint Tropez” it’s easy to see how she came by that name. She darts the photographer a curious eye amid her tanning break.
Bardot turned her back on Hollywood life in 1973, and instead decided to focus her efforts on animal rights and enjoying her life in the south of France. But still, back in 1963 when this photo was taken, she is said to have lived in her bikini. She opted for simple silhouettes and underwired tops that she almost always paired with loose and wavey hair.
Supermarkets in the south have a reputation for being large and selling products in bulk-sized quantities. This image proves that it was also the case back in the ’50s, where we can see two friends bump into each other during their regular household shop.
If we’re trying to see the evolution of supermarkets this photo doesn’t really help! As we can see, the aisles look pretty much the same as they do today – filled to the edge with packaged items. The only notable difference we can see is that the labels were far less descriptive or attention-grabbing. No $0.99 here!
You’re on in Five!
These showgirls of the past know a thing or two about putting on a performance. Here they are getting all dolled up for the Copacabana in the Sahara casino just in time for them to steal the show. Their revealing outfits, dramatic makeup, and feathered headwear put us in mind of some modern-day carnivals.
Las Vegas was famous for its gorgeous showgirls even back in the ’60s. These girls were the cherry on top of the cake when it came to Las Vegas entertainment. They gave the audience glamor, entertainment, and fantasy.
A Kodak Moment at Woodstock
The iconic Woodstock festival took place in 1969 amidst the “Make Love, Not War” movement. It was billed as an “Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” that ended up attracting an audience of over 400,00 people. Today, it has secured its place in American pop culture history.
This good-looking couple were amongst the hoards of young hippies who trailed out to New York state for the music. With their long hair and laid-back style, it’s no surprise to us that a photographer deemed them magazine-worthy. We just wonder how they maintained such long locks while camping.
Raquel Welch Quenches Her Thirst
Take a look at the sultry American actress Raquel Welch in the ’60s. Pictured in front of a wall of a soft drink selection, it’s interesting to see how that part of life hasn’t really changed! Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper are still up there as the most popular fizzy drinks around.
One thing is for certain; she makes drinking soda look very appealing. We’re loving the ’60s style she’s opted for, too. The heavy eye makeup and pale lips was a combination often seen on Brigitte Bardot during the period, and the tilted beret added just the right amount of European glamor.
Whopper at a Whopping Price
The home of the trademarked “Whopper,” Burger King has been satisfying stomachs since 1953. They first opened up on the east coast in Miami, having marketed themselves as an instant burger drive-by. Today, they have opened over 17,000 outlets in over 100 countries around the world.
Looking at this photo from the ’50s, we can see just how much has changed with the fast-food chain. Their sign has changed from the simple red text and detailed logo image to a logo that today, incorporates a bold red font and a simplified burger icon. Still, we’re loving this retro aesthetic of the legendary affordable food chain.
Turning Dreams Into a Reality
You might remember the American film, stage, and TV actress Barbara Eden from the TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. It was a fantasy sitcom that starred Barbara as the 2,000-year-old genie who falls in love with an astronaut. Naturally, the show appealed more to those with a big imagination.
However, this is one image that you don’t need much of an imagination for. Here, the glamorous actress poses in her hot pink swimsuit and stares down the camera lens. It’ll be a nice surprise for fans of the show, who only ever saw her with her hair up.
Before There Was Coachella, There Was Woodstock
Woodstock festival was definitely a good time to get in touch with your inner hippie. And many people didn’t miss the opportunity to get creative with their style, opting for all sorts of patterns, prints, colors, and body jewelry along the way. Check out the woman below in all her flower power finery.
She’s wearing a bright bikini top and orange-tinted shades, with a distinctive headband and arm cuff. Her fashion statement is in-keeping with the infamous style we’ve come to know and love of the period; rebellious, flamboyant, and not very covered up!
This throwback from the ’70s was originally a photo for the Town and Country magazine. It features a 1970 Chrysler with two adorable children sat in the back in raincoats, demonstrating how much room there was in the boot of the car. This iconic model was obviously marketed to parents who needed the space and utility of this luxury model.
The ’70s were actually a tumultuous decade for Chrysler and other American car companies. The marketplace was changing and major car companies in the states struggled to keep up, partly due to the oil crisis of 1973. Luckily, they made it through the difficult decade.
Healthier Than an Ice Cream Van
Back in the fifties, there were other options out of there for how to get a hold of your daily groceries. Here in Florida, the man on the left is buying fruit from out of the boot of this man’s car! We can’t blame him, if the berries looked that good we’d have probably done the same.
It’s not something we’re familiar with seeing these days, but it was just an everyday occurence in America once upon a time. It’s like the retro version of selling groceries in a street market or having milk delivered to your front door. Only far more portable and convenient.
Recess Fashion Show
This high school throwback photo really takes us back to what it was like being a teenager in the late sixties. It’s 1969, and fashion, music, and technology was making bounds and leaps. And these girls from Beverly Hills High were treating every day at school like it Fashion Week.
If you were in the affluent positions of these young women, you’d have splashed out on the latest style trends too. It was a time in history when self-expression and visual stimuli were at a peak, and naturally, the young and hip generation were right at the forefront of the cultural shift.
James Dean’s Last Photo
Take a look at this image of heartthrob and actor James Dean in 1955. It was September 30th, and he was filling up his beloved silver Porsche 550 Spyder, that he’d nicknamed “Little Bastard,” at a gas station. It was taken just hours before his tragic car accident.
He was only 24 years old at the time, making this image even more poignant. At the height of his career, who’s to say what he would have gone on to do had he lived longer. But what we do have is this haunting image of one of the best Hollywood actors, unaware of his fate on a dimly-lit highway.
Red Hot Wheels
This is an image from 1958, in which a young woman turns to exit the passenger seat of her partner’s car. It gives us a wonderful close-up glimpse of the hair and makeup preferences for young women that year, as well as the dashboard of the fancy sports car. Who misses cream and red leather interiors?
Enjoying a leisurely day out, this young woman has put on a figure-hugging polka dot dress and worn her hair down and free. As we can see, her makeup was on the minimal side; just a lick of lipstick, eyebrow powder, and polished nails, and she’s ready to have a fun day out.
Room For Everyone
Back in the fifties, flying was a luxury. It definitely was the norm to just hop onto an international flight for a vacation by the beach. Also, trailer parks were a familiar holiday spot for families. In this image, a family enjoys the great outdoors, all from the comfort of their home on wheels.
It really takes us back. Of course, it’s worth remembering that many also lived straight out of a campervan park. People would benefit from a lower cost of living and higher mobility. But seeing this group in 1958 really puts us in mind of what the older generation got up to when they didn’t have to work.
Getting The Whole Family to Pitch In
The winters in Xenia, Ohio, can get pretty fierce. That’s why the whole family is outside in this 1952 image, helping to free dad’s new car from the steep snowfall. Everyone had a shovel, so there were no excuses! Even the youngest ones got their clothes all covered in the snow.
We can imagine the dad frustratingly trying to clear the path so he can take his precious baby out for a spin. And while the car and the clothes are very different from the kind of thing you’d see today, it’s still an eerily familiar family snapshot. Even the great big house behind them looks like something you’d still find today.
The OG Supermodel
Before Kate Moss and Bella Hadid, there was fashion model Anne Sainte-Marie. She was one of the most popular models in the fifties, appearing in tons of publications and magazines. On numerous occasions, she graced the cover of Vogue. Here she is in 1959, by a pool in New York City.
Well-connected, she was a so-called “it girl” of her day, attending society parties and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Here, she models a stunning pastel-colored gown that featured intricate beading and a matching headpiece. To us, she looks reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn.
The Sign That Says It All
Forget nightclubs and discos; this is how you really partied back in 1956. A couple has a few drinks at the bar in San Diego, California, with a friend. This is back in the day when bar table-tops were still made out of wood, and you were dressed prim and proper for casual evening festivities.
We love this shot of what it really looked like after the war. You were still allowed to smoke indoors – something which is banned in many states these days. And the ominous sign above their heads that reads “DANGER: Men Drinking,” is also indicative of the type of humor that was around.
Granny at Grand Canyon
Take a look at the classic fifties style of this grandma back in 1956. She poses for a photo at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, while there is still light from the setting sun. We love the rich hues and sharp contrast of this photo, letting us feel as if we’re really there with her.
We can see she favors an up-turned cat-eye style of glasses with a bold black border. They’re still popular today, only people tend to associate them with the retro styles of the fifties and sixties. What we didn’t realize before was that all ages wore the style, not just the younger people.
The Child Version of a Chopper
Before everyone was glued to their smartphones and laptops, kids had to find other ways of entertaining themselves. It was usual to go outside and ride around on your bike with friends, sometimes for the entire weekend. In this image from the 1960s, these siblings represent the countless others who loved riding around on their banana bikes.
Banana bikes also went by other names, such as wheelie bikes, high-risers, or spyder bikes. Their ape hanger handlebars, smaller-sized wheels, and banana seats were their unique features, made to resemble chopper motorbikes. Anything dad could do, they could do better.
Living Her Best Life
Pictured at a sports game in the fifties, this young lady chugs down a drink straight from the bottle while holding a cigar in her other hand. She even took her shoes off and laid them on the seat in front of her. She doesn’t care one bit about social etiquette, and we love to see it.
Even though this young woman may be pushing the boundaries, smoking and drinking were growing in popularity among women during this decade. In 1952, Old Cigarettes released an ad that featured a bride claiming that smoking encouraged weight loss. Women were being targeted alongside men to participate in these “social” activities.
A Trip to the Big Apple
These guys were out-of-town visitors to the big city, New York. Pictured in 1953, these friends had a little trip for themselves to the city that never sleeps. It was nowhere near as busy as it is today, but it was still an exciting and glamorous location that grew in prestige after the war.
This image also gives us a great look into men’s fashion during the early fifities. We can see the guy on the left wearing loose-fitting slacks and a light zip-up jacket that wouldn’t look out of place today. The taller man on the left is dressed smarter, but still sports the prominent, oversized style.
In this image, a young girl is sitting in the dentist’s chair for her routine appointment. We’re amazed to see how familiar the scene looks. The dentist’s equipment looks entirely similar to the appliances you’d find today. From the huge light to the small sink, it’s all there.
There’s even the same amount of people on hand – the dentist and the dentist’s assistant. The main difference we can see is that they’re not wearing any gloves or masks, as is required today for hygienic reasons. That, and you’d hardly find equipment coming in a pastel apple green color!
Men and Their Mean Machines
This photo has been colorized by a specialist to show us exactly what it would have looked like had it been taken today. Pictured in the fifties, a group of young men hang out by their American-brand Indian Motorcycles. It is this classic motorcycle style that the brand is best known for.
Motorcycle culture was a huge phenomenon in the fifties, appealing to people from all walks of life. From rich kids to outcasts, motorcycles found their way into American culture from all angles, getting mixed with rock ‘n’ roll culture along the way. To ride a motorbike was a symbol of rebellion.
The City of Dreams
This stunning editorial picture from 1958 features two fashion models in New York City. Their style of dress appealed to the targeted readers of Vogue, who were wealthy high-society women. It was taken by the famous fashion photographer Sante Forlano and remains to be one of his best-known photographs.
This image perfectly captured the New York dream that so many people held. Fashionable clothes, beauty, and companionship in the city so nice, they named it twice. It also captures the essence of what New York City fashion aspired to be; feminine, playful, and very polished. No sweatpants here!
You Can’t Beat a Stylish One-Piece
If you had a new stylish bathing suit like the one below during the 1950s, you know everyone’s eyes are on you. That certainly seems to be the case for this young lady, who’s caught the undivided attention of all the beachgoers around her.
This photo is from 1956, and shows what a fashionable young woman would have been wearing, or at least wanted to be wearing, at the time. Even though the woman wearing it is still showing a lot of skin, it’s a lot more forgiving than the swimsuits people wear these days!
Back When Kids Could Do the Cooking
This fifties throwback has such vivid colors, we feel as if we’re there. A kid has put on his chef’s hat and apron and has taken it upon himself to make the whole family a nice barbeque. Interestingly, it’s not that different from today when you opt for a single-use barbeque.
But in the 1950s life was simpler and owning a big barbeque station was a lot less common. Simply taking a metal box to the front yard was good enough, and even the kids could get involved. And when we see a photo in such sharp detail, it takes us right back.
It Was More Common To Cover Up
This photo shows a woman sunbathing on the beach in 1954, wearing her finest swimsuit, and having a blast. She’s out to catch your eye, as she’s wearing a bright bold red one-piece and matching lipstick, with large gold hoop earrings and a big sun hat.
There’s a ton of revelers on the beach, too, but back in the day, it was more common to visit the seaside full dressed. As we can see, everyone in the distance is wearing their normal clothes! And this woman in a bathing suit is the odd one out.
Back in the fifties, youngsters were just as fashion-conscious as they are today. The only thing that’s really changed is the actual fashions themselves. As we can see with these two students in the photo, long pleated skirts and rolled-up shirts were all the rage.
And you can always count on youngsters to give you the meanest stare. These two young women may not look like they’re in the friendliest mood, but they’re no different from kids today. The only difference is they’re not on their phones…
Starter Home Happiness
It’s amazing how this photo from 1958 looks as though it could have been taken yesterday. A young couple is sitting on the lawn with their baby and just soaking up the sun and fresh air. From the looks of it, they’re living in a small starter home.
Back in the fifties, it was much easier to get on the housing market than it is today. It was a common goal for young couples to buy their first house, and often times it wasn’t too out of reach. But these days, the property market has changed drastically, and young people are finding it harder than ever to get on the property ladder.
The City of Angels
These Californian babes look ready for Hollywood in their fashionable garbs. It’s 1956, and they’ve temporarily stopped by the side of a road in Los Angeles. Possibly, they wanted to stop and have a quick cigarette break up.
Whatever these young women are doing, they’re doing it in style. We love the block-color pants with a crisp white sleeveless shirt, especially with those quintessential fifties’ sunglasses and short hair. And the mint green color of the car really puts us in a nostalgic mood.
They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To
A lot of people who weren’t alive during the sixties wish they were, and when we look at this photo we can see why. In the sixties, motorcycles were all the rage all across the nation, perhaps in a large part due to films like Easy Rider. But this colorized photo wasn’t taken from any movie.
It’s simply an old throwback photograph of somebody’s dad, and it looks way cooler back then than it does today. But perhaps that’s because the motors of the sixties had so much more style and flair than the designs we see today.
All Hands on Deck
Renowned sixties and seventies photographer Joel Meyerowitz took this photo during the decade of disco, and it totally has us in our feelings. From the bold fashion choices to the leather car interior, we feel as though we’ve been transported back in time to one warm summer evening.
The people in the photo are waiting on a docking port, presumably for someone they know to show up. And until they do, some guy beside them is waiting in the car. At least, that’s how we read this photo. Another option might be that the man in the car doesn’t know them, and he’s trying to get their attention!
Put the Pedal to the Metal
It’s no surprise that cars of the 50s, 60s, and 70s went on to become part of the lucrative classic car world. There are some gorgeous motorized designs out there, such as this beauty from 1963, pictured in New York City. The two-toned color job totally gives us that retro vibe.
Joel Meyerowitz took this photo in full color, which was still a relatively new thing. He said: “The world was in color. It was just so obvious to me. I had no idea people were snobbish about color. To me, black and white just seemed back there, historical.” We totally get what he means, as we feel transported back in time with this vivid image.
Bucket and Spade Holidays
Before everyone was glued to their phones, kids had to have fun the old-fashioned way. And that’s exactly what’s happening in this photo here, that might have initially confused some of you. The girl with red hair is lying on her front, while her friend lies on top of her facing the sky.
They’re in Rockaway Beach in New York, and it’s 1950. 70 years ago the beaches were just as packed as they are today during the summertime, although the year just passed has us missing it more than ever. Imagine what it must have been like to visit the beach, and no one had any phones to distract them!
The Purses Are Out!
Here’s a side of the sixties that often gets forgotten. It wasn’t just mini skirts and winged eyeliner, moms, grannies, and other ladies who lunch were also a part of the picture! And they’re just as glamorous as the youth. Take a look at these fabulous women of the town, in New York City.
Is it just us, or do these ladies look they are characters on a Friends reboot? Either way, these ladies certainly had their style quirks and it’s a joy to see. From the yellow handbag to the raspberry-colored lipstick, it puts us in mind of our grandmas. We love how they own the street.