1953′s big teenage fad was wearing a dog collar on your ankle
By 1953, teenagers were coming into their own as a cultural phenomenon, and they brought some unusual fads with them. 1953′s big one? Girls wearing dog collars as anklets. And it had a purpose, too.
The fad was described as early as early as 1944. The basic code was established then: a girl wore the collar on her left ankle if she was single, and on her right if she was going steady. But it wasn’t until 1953 that the fad broke big.
Dog collars spread like fleas in 1953, though the rules often changed: in Akron, the left ankle was for a girl going steady, while in Dallas, teenage girls in deeply committed relationships wore their dog collar on the right ankle. Girls everywhere, however, wore the collars over their white socks. On some occasions, boys attached their watch chains to the collar during a slow dance to prevent anyone from cutting in.
Of course, teenagers developed even more elaborate codes around the collar, and a 1953 Chicago Tribune article showed just how complex it could get. There, bobby soxers adorned their collars with nailheads and silver bells. They also added color to the mix: “A red collar worn on the left ankle indicates that its wearer is in love and going steady. Green almost barks that the girl, like Barkis, is willing. A tan leather anklet says non-chalantly, if untruthfully, ‘I don’t really care if I have a date or not,’ while a black one mourns, ‘It’s all over. We aren’t going together anymore!’”
Sadly, fads end by definition, and by 1954 the dog collar was already on its way out. In its place? Gold initials pinned to a girl’s socks.