Step back in time and explore the classic women’s fashions of the 1950s. The post-war era saw a shift in style, with feminine silhouettes and playful prints taking center stage. From cinched waists and full skirts to casual day dresses, the fashion of the 1950s exudes timeless elegance and sophistication. In this article, we will explore the key trends of the era and offer styling tips for incorporating these classic looks into your modern wardrobe.
The 1950s Fashion Landscape
The 1950s were a time of change and prosperity in the United States. The end of World War II brought about a renewed sense of optimism and the beginning of a new era. As the economy improved, more people had access to disposable income and fashion trends began to shift.
Cultural influences played a significant role in shaping the fashion industry in the 1950s. With the rise of Hollywood and the mass media, celebrities became the icons of style and fashion. Actresses like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly were known for their classic, elegant looks, which served as inspiration for many women.
The post-war years also saw the rise of rock and roll and youth culture. This led to a new sense of rebellion and individuality among young people, who were eager to express themselves through fashion. The popularity of denim, leather jackets, and biker boots among teenagers and young adults reflected this shift towards a more casual and laid-back style.
The political landscape of the 1950s also had an impact on fashion. The Cold War and the threat of communism led to a focus on American values and patriotism. This was reflected in fashion trends such as the “New Look,” which emphasized classic, feminine silhouettes with full skirts, nipped-in waists, and curved hips.
In addition, the civil rights movement was gaining momentum, and African-American women were beginning to assert their own unique sense of style. This included embracing traditional African fabrics and patterns, as well as incorporating elements of European and American fashion trends.
The social changes of the 1950s also had an impact on fashion. The baby boom led to a renewed focus on family and home life, which was reflected in the popularity of “housewife” fashion. This included full skirts, aprons, and cardigans, as well as accessories like pearls and gloves.
In addition, advances in technology and travel led to a growing interest in exotic cultures and foreign fashion. Women began to incorporate elements of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern style into their wardrobes, such as kaftans, saris, and kimonos.
Iconic 1950s Women’s Clothing Items Every Fashion Savvy Should Know
As the world recovered from World War II, fashion took a sharp turn towards femininity and glamour. Women’s clothing designs of the 1950s featured figure-hugging styles that accentuated a woman’s curves. The following are some of the classic fashion items that every fashion-savvy woman in the 1950s owned and were responsible for setting fashion trends for the decade.
Wiggle dresses were a popular style of the 1950s women’s clothing. These dresses were tight-fitting, from the bust to the hemline and emphasized a woman’s curves. The style was popularized by famous actors like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, and it was a wardrobe staple for fashionable women of the decade. Wiggle dresses were typically made from stretchy fabrics like rayon or silk, which allowed the wearer to move comfortably.
The pencil skirt was another iconic fashion item of the 1950s. It was a knee-length, close-fitting skirt that hugged the hips and waist. The pencil skirt was made popular by fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn, who paired it with a simple blouse or button-up shirt. The pencil skirt was a versatile piece that could be dressed up or down, making it a must-have item in any fashionable woman’s wardrobe.
While high heels were still popular in the 1950s, ballet flats were a more comfortable and practical alternative. These shoes featured a small heel and a thin sole that allowed the wearer to move effortlessly. Ballet flats were designed to be worn with skirts and dresses but were also suitable for casual wear. The style was made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the movie “Funny Face”, and women all over the world added them to their fashion arsenal.
Bouffant dresses were a fun and playful style of the 1950s. These dresses featured a full, gathered skirt that gave the dress a voluminous look. The bodice of the dress was usually fitted to accentuate the waistline. Bouffant dresses were commonly made from taffeta, organza, or silk fabrics, and they were often worn for formal occasions.
Pedal pushers were a casual style of women’s clothing that emerged in the 1950s. These pants were cropped just below the knee, and they were often worn with flats or sandals. Pedal pushers were made from denim or cotton fabrics, and they were a popular choice for young women who were out and about during the day.
How to Style 1950s Women’s Fashion in Modern Times
The chic and timeless style of the 1950s fashion era has surprisingly made a comeback in recent years. From full skirts to cropped cardigans, there are numerous ways to incorporate the 1950s fashion into your modern wardrobe without looking like you are wearing a costume. Here are some tips on how to style 1950s women’s fashion in modern times:
Incorporate a Full Skirt
The iconic silhouette of the 1950s fashion era was the full skirt. To incorporate this classic look into your modern wardrobe, opt for a midi-length full skirt in a solid color or a playful pattern. Pair the skirt with a simple blouse and a pair of pumps or flats for a timeless look that is appropriate for any occasion.
Add a Cropped Cardigan
Cropped cardigans were also a staple of 1950s women’s fashion. To add this classic look to your modern wardrobe, opt for a cropped cardigan in a bold color or a fun pattern. Pair the cardigan with high-waisted jeans or a pencil skirt for a chic and retro outfit.
Accessorize with a Headscarf
Headscarves were a popular accessory in the 1950s. To incorporate this classic look into your modern wardrobe, opt for a brightly colored headscarf and tie it around your head in a retro style. Pair the headscarf with a simple outfit to add a pop of color and retro flair.
Accessories: The Icing on the Cake
Elevate your outfit to the next level with the right accessories that scream 1950s fashion. The accessories of the 1950s were iconic and are still relevant in today’s fashion world. From jewels to shoes, women’s accessories were carefully selected to match their elegant and sophisticated style.
Jewelry: A Girl’s Best Friend
Nothing screams vintage elegance like a classic pearl necklace or drop earrings. Women in the 1950s adorned themselves in layers of pearls and sparkly jewels. Statement necklaces and brooches were also popular accessories in this era.
- Try wearing a pair of classic pearl earrings with your little black dress for a timeless look.
- Pair a statement necklace with a simple blouse to add some flair to your outfit.
Bags: Perfectly Matched
Everyone knows a girl can never have too many bags. In the 1950s, bags were a key accessory and were often matched perfectly to the outfit. Structured handbags and clutches were popular styles, with bright colors and bold patterns being the norm.
- Match a bold red bag with a black and white outfit for a pop of color.
- Try a floral bag with a light summer dress for a feminine and classic look.
Shoes: The Final Touch
A great pair of shoes can make or break an outfit, and women in the 1950s knew this all too well. Classic pumps with a pointed toe were a staple shoe, often paired with ankle socks for a cute and preppy look.
|Two-tone shoes with a distinctive saddle-shaped inset
|A classic shoe style with a strap across the instep and often a low heel
|A short and slender heel, often less than 2 inches in height
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your accessories to create a unique and individual look that pays homage to the stylish women of the 1950s.
Fashion Tips for Different Body Types: 1950s Edition
The 1950s were all about emphasizing the hourglass figure, but that doesn’t mean that fashion was limited to women with that shape. Here are some 1950s fashion tips that still work for different body types today:
If you have an apple-shaped body, it means that you carry weight around your midsection. To balance out your upper and lower body, consider wearing A-line dresses and skirts that cinch in at the waist. Choose tops with V-necklines and avoid bulky fabrics that add weight to your midsection.
Pear-shaped women have hips and thighs that are wider than their shoulders and bust. To draw attention to your upper body, wear fitted tops and padded or structured shoulders. Choose A-line skirts that flow from the waist and avoid tight-fitting pants.
If you have an hourglass figure, embrace it! Classic 1950s styles like wiggle dresses and pencil skirts accentuate your curves. Look for clothes that hug your waist and show off your bust and hips. Avoid boxy or shapeless silhouettes that hide your figure.
Rectangular-shaped women have a straight up-and-down figure with little waist definition. To create the illusion of curves, wear belts that cinch in at the waist and choose high-waisted pants and skirts that elongate your legs. Look for tops with ruffles, patterns, or other details that add volume to your bust and hips.
Plus-sized women can still rock the 1950s look with a few adjustments. Look for clothes with structured cuts that define your waist and draw attention to your best features. A-line dresses with full skirts and scoop necklines are classic and flattering. Avoid baggy or shapeless clothing that hides your curves.
Where to Shop for 1950s Women’s Fashion
If you love the classic style of the 1950s, you’ll be happy to know that there are many online retailers that specialize in this type of look. From vintage to modern-styles, here are some of the best places to shop for 1950s women’s fashion.
New Retailers with 1950s Style
There are a number of new online retailers that specialize in creating modern clothing with a 1950s vibe. These shops are perfect for those looking for vintage-inspired looks without having to dig through thrift stores or antique markets.
- Unique Vintage: This online retailer has a huge selection of 1950s-inspired dresses, skirts, tops, and more. They offer a range of sizes, from XS to 5X, and have a great selection of retro swimwear as well.
- Stop Staring Clothing: This brand creates vintage-inspired clothing that is both classic and high-quality. Their dresses, separates, and swimwear are perfect for those who want a pin-up style with a modern twist.
- Lady Vintage London: This UK-based retailer specializes in reproducing vintage-style dresses and skirts. They have a wide selection of designs, including classic polka dots and florals, and offer sizes from 8 to 32.
Vintage Retailers with Authentic Pieces
If you’re looking for authentic 1950s clothing, there are a number of vintage retailers who specialize in sourcing and selling original pieces from the era. Here are a few of the best:
- The Best Vintage Clothing: This online shop has an incredible selection of authentic 1950s dresses, coats, and accessories. They carefully curate their selection to ensure that all pieces are in top condition.
- Rusty Zipper: This vintage clothing retailer has a fantastic selection of 1950s clothing, including dresses, suits, and jackets. They also have a handy size conversion chart, making it easy to shop across different eras.
- Beyond Retro: This UK-based vintage clothing retailer has a great selection of 1950s clothing, including dresses, skirts, and accessories. They also offer a range of sizes and affordable prices, making vintage shopping accessible to all.
Frequently Asked Questions
|What are the classic women’s fashion of the 1950s?
|The classic women’s fashion of the 1950s includes swing dresses, pencil skirts, capri pants, saddle shoes, Mary Jane shoes, and pearls.
|What was the typical silhouette of women’s fashion in the 1950s?
|The typical silhouette of women’s fashion in the 1950s was an hourglass figure with a cinched waistline and full skirts.
|Which fashion icons were popular in the 1950s?
|Fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly were popular in the 1950s.
|What are some hairstyles of the 1950s?
|Popular hairstyles of the 1950s include the bouffant, the ponytail, and the short curly bob.
|How has 1950s fashion influenced modern fashion?
|1950s fashion has influenced modern fashion by bringing back classic styles such as high-waisted pants, cat-eye sunglasses, and vintage dresses.
|Where can I find 1950s-inspired clothing?
|You can find 1950s-inspired clothing at vintage stores, specialty boutiques, or online retailers that cater to retro fashion.
Thanks for Reading!
We hope you enjoyed learning about the classic women’s fashions of the 1950s. From the iconic pencil skirts to the elegant pearls and gloves, there’s something about 1950s fashion that remains timeless. We recommend that you explore further by checking out vintage stores and online retailers that offer retro styles. Don’t forget to come back for more fashion inspiration and tips!