In the 1950s men and women were just getting over the fear and tumult of the awfulness of World War. The coming decade would be different, but there were still the morals of the time to keep hemlines and necklines in place for a little while longer.
The 1950s was a decade of many firsts in the world of fashion. This was the decade that saw the birth of the iconic little black dress, as well as the rise of Christian Dior and his “New Look” silhouette. This was also a decade that celebrated femininity and glamour, with actresses like Marilyn Monroe becoming style icons.
Women wore dresses that had waists and were held there with little belts. The dress, which came in many colors and choices of cotton and cotton blends, usually buttoned up the front from just below the waist to the throat. For a variation, the dress might button up the back.
The skirt went all the way to the mid-calf and with the dress, most well-dressed women wore hose and high-heeled shoes. The heels were not necessarily stiletto, but of a modest height. A woman could still walk around to do her work or shop and going upstairs without falling was a learned ability.
Really tight skirts were worn by the teenager and the women who wanted to be noticed by the guys. They were sometimes called pencil skirts because they were straight as a pencil. And mothers insisted that girdles be worn under these skirts. Whereas, crinolines were worn under the poodle skirt, so-called because of the popular design of the dog on the bottom of the wide skirt.
Most women endured the torture of wearing curlers in their hair at night so they could have curly hair for school, work, shopping, or even just around the house. Of course, if a woman had a party or other special occasion to attend in the evening, she would wear the curlers throughout the day. Some women were seen shopping and otherwise going about their business with the rollers and a scarf as though that in itself was a fashion statement.
For those with hair long enough, there was the ever-present ponytail. And the girls who were allowed to had a least one pair of blue jeans, legs rolled up to mid-calf. Penny loafers were popular and it was a must to put a penny in the top of each shoe.
Men might wear their suit pants, which had a cuff, rolled up at the bottom and their socks rolled down to the tops of their shoes. The cuff on the slacks was sewn in place so as never to turn down.
Everything had to be ironed in the fashion of the fifties. At least among the mid-class and lower class of citizens. Speaking of classes in economics only.
There were ladies’ coats with shoulder pads that could make a little lady look like she was ready to play with the World Super Bowl champions. And the coats might be the darkest black and very long.
One of the fashion fads was for a girl or young woman to wear clothespins on their clothes. These pins came in different sizes and colors. Some had tiny rhinestones in one end and you weren’t ‘dressed’ unless you had a least one of these fastened to your bodice.
1950s Style FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about the 1950s style.
Q: What items should I look for when shopping for 1950s style clothing?
A: When shopping for 1950s style clothing, look for pieces that are fitted, feminine, and glamorous. Pencil skirts, cat eye sunglasses, and red lipstick are all key items to look for.
Q: Where can I find 1950s style clothing?
A: You can find 1950s style clothing at many online retailers, as well as brick-and-mortar vintage stores.
Q: How can I make sure my 1950s style outfit is authentic?
A: When putting together a 1950s style outfit, be sure to pay attention to the details. For example, opt for a pencil skirt that hits just below the knee, or a pair of cat-eye sunglasses with thick, exaggerated frames.
Q: What should I avoid when shopping for 1950s style clothing?
A: When shopping for 1950s style clothing, avoid items that are too loose or baggy. This will make you look sloppy, rather than chic. Also, steer clear of anything that is too revealing or sexy – this is not the decade for skimpy outfits!
Now that you have all the need-to-know information on 1950s style, it’s time to start shopping! Be sure to check out our vintage retro series for some fabulous 1950s inspired fashion finds. Trust us, you’ll be looking like a bombshell in no time!