Step back in time with 50s womens fashions

Experience the glamour and charm of the 1950s with its timeless women’s fashion. The 50s was a significant era for women’s styles characterized by feminine silhouettes, vibrant colors, and playful prints. The fashion industry was dominated by a series of “New Look” styles that accentuated the woman’s hourglass figure. The decade’s influence is still very much visible today, with some of the most iconic fashion pieces that have stood the test of time. Get ready to time travel and discover the retro beauty of the 50s fashion through this article.

Step back in time with 50s womens fashions
Step back in time with 50s womens fashions

The Evolution of 50s Women’s Fashion

Women’s fashion in the 1950s was heavily influenced by the aftermath of World War II. With the end of the war, there was an air of optimism and a desire for a return to glamour and luxury. However, resources were still limited and rationing continued in Britain until 1954. This meant that fashion designers had to be creative with the limited materials available and focus on practicality.

The Impact of Wartime Austerity

During the war years, women’s fashion had to be practical and functional due to the rationing of fabrics and materials. Utility clothing became the norm, with simple designs and minimal embellishments. With the end of the war, there was a clear desire to move away from this functional fashion and towards more glamorous and feminine styles.

Despite this desire, resources were still limited in the immediate post-war period. Clothing rationing continued in Britain until 1954 and fabric was expensive and hard to come by. This meant that fashion designers had to be creative with the materials available and place a greater emphasis on practicality and functionality.

The Introduction of New Materials

The introduction of new materials, such as nylon and polyester, allowed for greater creativity in fashion design. Nylon stockings, for example, were much more durable than their silk counterparts and allowed for more intricate designs. Polyester, on the other hand, was less expensive than natural fibers such as silk and wool, making it accessible to more people.

In addition to these new materials, technological advances in the textile industry meant that fabrics could be produced more efficiently and in greater quantities. This led to a wider range of fabrics and colors being available, which in turn allowed for greater creativity and experimentation in fashion design.

The Influence of Hollywood

The glamour and sophistication of Hollywood films during the 1950s had a major influence on women’s fashion. Actresses such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe became style icons, with their signature looks emulated by women around the world.

The iconic “New Look” silhouette, created by Christian Dior in 1947, also had a major impact on 1950s fashion. The hourglass shape, with its cinched waist and full skirt, became a popular style for both day and evening wear.

The Enduring Popularity of 1950s Fashion

Despite being over half a century old, 1950s fashion remains popular today. The timeless elegance and sophistication of the era continue to inspire fashion designers and fashion lovers alike.

The continued popularity of vintage clothing and the trend towards sustainable fashion have also contributed to the enduring appeal of 1950s fashion. The emphasis on craftsmanship and quality materials, as well as the practicality and functionality of the designs, make 1950s fashion a timeless classic.

The Iconic Styles of 50s Women’s Fashion

The 1950s was a decade of elegance and glamour in women’s fashion that has gone down in history. The clothing styles of the 50s were feminine and sophisticated, and were designed to enhance the natural curves of a woman’s body. The looks were varied and iconic, ranging from the classic full skirt to the popular wiggle dress and pencil skirt. In this article, we are going to explore some of the most significant and recognizable styles of 50s women’s fashion.

The Full Skirt

The full skirt was one of the most iconic styles of women’s fashion in the 1950s. Skirts during this time were voluminous and made of fabrics like cotton, wool, or taffeta. The shape of the skirt emphasized the waist and hips and then flowed out on a bell shape, creating the quintessential 50s silhouette. Women often paired their full skirt with a tight-fitting blouse and petticoats to add more fullness to the skirt.

The Wiggle Dress

The wiggle dress was another iconic fashion style of the 50s. This dress was slim-fitted and featured a tight pencil skirt, which forced women to take small steps while walking. The wiggle dress was often made of knitwear, which hugged the curves of the body, and was teamed with a tight-fitting sweater or blouse to create a glamorous and sexy look.

  • The pencil skirt

The pencil skirt was a form-hugging skirt that fit tightly around the hips while it simply tapered to the knees. Before the 1950s, skirts were typically full and had a lot of volume. The pencil skirt, revolutionized this definition of femininity by creating a look with clean lines that gives women a sophisticated and more professional look. It was usually worn with a button-front blouse, and a blazer to complete the polished and professional look.

The Modern Interpretation of the Iconic Styles of 50s Women’s Fashion

The fashion industry continues to look to the 1950s for inspiration for modern clothing styles. Designers like Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, and Louis Vuitton have added their own spin and modern flair to the iconic styles of 50s women’s fashion, making this era one of the most influential in fashion history.

The 50s women’s fashion revolution is still felt today, with fashion designers who continue to draw inspiration from it with their own new interpretation and styles that are sure to carry on these legacy fashion styles for many more years to come.

How to Achieve the 50s Look Today

The 50s were a time of classic elegance and simple sophistication. Women’s fashion in the 50s broke the mold of post-war conservative wear and instead introduced playful and feminine styles. Achieving the 50s look today is easier than you think. Here are some tips to help you infuse this timeless trend into your wardrobe:

Modern Interpretations of Classic Styles

If you want to capture the 50s look, start with a classic style that you can update to suit your tastes. A tailored pencil skirt, a flared midi dress, or a polka dot print blouse can all help make the look your own. You can also add a contemporary touch to any outfit by pairing it with modern, edgier accessories. For example, a leather jacket looks amazing with a circle skirt or cropped pants.

  • Choose classic styles, like high-waisted trousers, dresses, and skirts, that were popular in the 50s.
  • Add a modern twist by pairing classic pieces with trendy or edgy accessories.
  • Go for fitted clothes that highlight your curves and slim waist.

Vintage Clothing

If you want to go all in for the 50s look, you can opt for real vintage clothing. Thrift stores, flea markets, and vintage clothing stores are great places to look. However, vintage clothing can be expensive, so look for pieces that are versatile and that you can wear in different ways.

  • Look for authentic 50s vintage pieces at thrift stores and vintage clothing shops.
  • Invest in timeless pieces that are versatile and can be worn in different ways.
  • Be mindful of the cost of vintage clothing, as it can be more expensive than contemporary pieces.


Accessories are a great way to infuse the 50s look into your wardrobe without breaking the bank. Classic accessories like pearl necklaces, stud earrings, and cat-eye glasses can make a big impact on your overall style. You can also add hair accessories like bandanas, headbands, and hair clips to give your hairstyle a retro look.

  • Choose classic 50s accessories like pearls, stud earrings, and cat-eye glasses to complete your look.
  • Add hair accessories like bandanas, headbands, and hair clips for a playful touch.
  • Swap your everyday bag for a vintage-inspired purse or handbag.

Where to Shop for 50s Women’s Fashion

The 50s era is known for its feminine glamour, classic silhouettes, and playful prints. If you want to bring a touch of retro charm to your wardrobe, here are some of the top retailers and websites where you can find 50s women’s fashion:

Vintage Stores

Shopping for vintage clothing is a treasure hunt that can lead to unique and one-of-a-kind finds. Here are some of the best vintage stores that specialize in 50s fashion:

  • Rockin’ Retro: This online store features a collection of authentic vintage clothing from the 50s and other decades. You can find dresses, skirts, jackets, and accessories that capture the essence of the era.
  • Modcloth Vintage: Modcloth is a popular online retailer that offers a wide selection of vintage-inspired clothing and accessories. Their Vintage collection includes dresses, tops, bottoms, and swimwear with a 50s flair.

Retro Clothing Brands

If you prefer new clothing with a vintage feel, there are plenty of brands that offer retro-inspired styles. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Banned Retro: Banned Retro is a UK-based brand that specializes in 50s and 60s fashion. They offer a range of dresses, skirts, tops, and accessories with a playful and feminine touch.
  • Hell Bunny: Hell Bunny is another UK brand that is known for its retro-inspired designs. They offer a mix of 50s, 60s, and 70s styles with bold prints, polka dots, and fun details.
  • Unique Vintage: Unique Vintage is a US-based brand that offers vintage-style clothing and accessories for women. Their selection includes 50s dresses, skirts, tops, and swimwear in a variety of sizes.

Reproduction Clothing

For the most authentic 50s fashion, reproduction clothing is the way to go. Companies like these specialize in creating new clothing that looks like it was made in the 50s:

  • Vivien of Holloway: Vivien of Holloway is a UK-based brand that creates vintage-inspired dresses, separates, and accessories. They use original patterns and fabrics to produce authentic-looking clothing that captures the essence of the era.
  • Bettie Page Clothing: Bettie Page Clothing is a US-based brand that offers 50s-inspired dresses, separates, and swimwear. Their designs are crafted with attention to detail and quality, to ensure that you get the best possible reproduction of 50s fashion.

By shopping at vintage stores, retro clothing brands, and reproduction clothing companies, you can find 50s women’s fashion that suits your style and budget. Whether you want a full retro look or just a touch of vintage charm, there are plenty of options out there.

How to Style 50s Women’s Fashion

Looking to bring some vintage glamour to your everyday wardrobe? Follow these tips to style your 50s women’s fashion:

1. Choose the Right Undergarments

Women’s fashion in the 1950s was all about curves, so it’s important to have the right foundation garments to create that silhouette. Invest in a good quality bullet bra and a high-waisted girdle to smooth out any lumps and bumps, and make sure to wear stockings or tights with seams up the back to complete the look.

2. Dress for the Occasion

50s women’s fashion can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and setting. For daytime wear, opt for a full skirt in a bold pattern or a playful pastel shade, paired with a simple blouse or knit top. For evening events, go for something more glamorous like a fitted cocktail dress with a sweetheart neckline and a full skirt, or a classic pencil dress with statement jewelry.

3. Accessorize with Statement Jewelry and Shoes

Accessories can make or break a 50s-inspired outfit. Look for bold statement pieces like chunky necklaces, oversized brooches, and drop earrings in colorful gems or pearls. Finish off your look with a pair of pointed-toe pumps or strappy high-heeled sandals in a matching shade or metallic finish.

4. Mix and Match with Modern Pieces

To avoid looking like you’re going to a costume party, mix in some modern pieces with your 50s women’s fashion. Try pairing a full skirt with a simple graphic tee or swapping out the girdle for a high-waisted belt. This will keep your look fresh and contemporary while still embracing the vintage vibe.

5. Don’t Forget the Hair and Makeup

Complete your 50s-inspired look with the right hair and makeup. For hair, go for retro styles like Victory rolls, pin curls, or a chic bob. And don’t be afraid to use some volume-boosting products to create that classic bouffant. For makeup, think bold lips and cat-eye liner, and use lots of powder and blush to create a flawless matte complexion.

The Relevance of 50s Women’s Fashion Today

50s women’s fashion is not just a thing of the past. It has become a timeless style statement that continues to inspire designers and fashionistas today. Here are some reasons why:

It’s a Nostalgic Throwback

The fashion of the 50s is steeped in nostalgia. It takes us back to an era that was defined by elegance, glamour, and sophistication. From the full-skirted dresses and fitted blouses to the cat-eye sunglasses and the chic pumps, the fashion of this era is a reminder of a time when women dressed to impress. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and the 50s fashion continues to evoke it today.

It’s an Expression of Style and Empowerment

The fashion of the 50s was not just about looking pretty; it was also a means of expressing oneself and asserting one’s identity. The full skirts and small waists celebrated the feminine form, while the fitted blouses and tailored suits exuded confidence and authority. 50s women’s fashion was about making a statement, and it continues to do so today. Women of all ages and body types can find inspiration and empowerment in the fashion of this era.

It’s Timeless and Versatile

The fashion of the 50s may be over 60 years old, but it’s still relevant today. The classic silhouettes and timeless styles have stood the test of time and continue to inspire fashion designers today. From the vintage-inspired dresses and skirts to the sleek pencil skirts and blouses, the fashion of the 50s can be adapted to suit any occasion and any style. It’s a versatile fashion that can be dressed up or down, and it transcends trends and fads.

It’s Sustainable Fashion

The fashion industry is notorious for being one of the biggest polluters on the planet. Fast fashion is cheap, disposable, and comes at a high cost to the environment. The fashion of the 50s, however, was built to last. The quality craftsmanship and attention to detail meant that garments were made to be worn and cherished for years. It was a sustainable approach to fashion that is sorely needed today.

It’s a Collector’s Item

The fashion of the 50s is not just popular among fashion enthusiasts, but it’s also a collector’s item. Vintage 50s clothing is highly sought after and is considered a valuable and rare commodity. Owning a piece of 50s fashion is like owning a piece of history. It’s a reminder of an era when fashion was about more than just trends and fads. It was about creating something beautiful and timeless.

It’s an Inspiration for Modern Fashion

The fashion of the 50s may be vintage, but it continues to inspire modern designers and fashion trends. From the flared skirts and petticoats to the polka dots and stripes, the fashion of the 50s is alive and well in contemporary fashion. It’s been reimagined, reinvented, and modernized in countless ways, proving that the fashion of the 50s is not just a thing of the past but a continuing source of inspiration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Answers
What type of clothing was popular in the 50s? The 50s was a time of full skirts, fitted suits, and glamorous dresses. Pastel colors were also popular during this era.
Where can I find 50s women’s fashion? Vintage stores, online marketplaces, and thrift shops are great places to find 50s women’s fashion.
What accessories were popular in the 50s? Pearls, gloves, hats, and cat-eye sunglasses were popular accessories during the 50s.
Can I wear 50s fashion today? Absolutely! 50s fashion has made a comeback and is still popular today. Mix and match vintage pieces with modern clothing for a unique look.
What hairstyles were popular in the 50s? Hairstyles such as the bouffant, poodle cut, and beehive were popular in the 50s. These hairstyles were often paired with hair accessories like ribbons and scarfs.
What was the influence of 50s fashion on modern styles? The 50s has a huge influence on modern fashion, with elements such as the pencil skirt, A-line dresses, and high-waisted pants making a comeback. The era’s emphasis on feminine silhouettes and glamour also continues to inspire designers today.

Thank You for Taking a Step Back in Time with 50s Women’s Fashions

We hope you enjoyed our article on 50s women’s fashions and gained some inspiration for your wardrobe. Remember, vintage fashion is all about having fun and expressing yourself. Be sure to visit our site again for more fashion tips and advice!

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