What was fashion like for the women way back in the 1950s? Well, this is certainly an interesting topic, and a look in the past would indeed offer one a quick guide and overview of women’s 1950s fashion.
The 1950s were a time of sweater girls like Marilyn Monroe who wears sweaters and cardigans not only to stay warm, but also to make a style statement. The fashion industry had taken strong roots, and fashion was exploding in all possible directions. Fashion designers were experimenting with new fabrics and colours and trying to embrace new silhouettes. Read on to learn more about women’s fashion in the 1950s.
1950s fashion trends
When one looks at the fashion trends in the 1950s, they find a clear gender divide. Elegance and perfectly matched accessories were expected from women, while men dressed more casually.
New fashion designers such as Hubert de Givenchy, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Christian Dior brought a rapid change in couture and added a playfulness in fashion for women. The 1950s was an era of conformity when it came to fashion, and one can find only simple and clean stuff.
- Women wore Peter pan collar blouses with Capri pants and high waisted jeans. Pencil or circle skirts and slim sheath dresses were popular. Swing coat and twin set cardigan sweaters were popular in winter. As for accessories, you could see women wearing headscarves, small hats, and even hair flowers, and completed for their look with stiletto heels or saddle shoes.
- Silk was a popular fabric for dresses, as it created a nice flow and ladylike look. Knits were also popular as they created more of a dressed-up look and aimed to show off the figure. However, silk and knits were more favoured by the big Design Houses, as they were quite expensive.
- Pencil skirts were popular, as the style of dress could help to attain an hourglass figure. No wardrobe was considered to be complete without at least one pencil skirt that accented the glamorous womanly figure. However, there were other variations of skirts too that were popular, such as the wool swing skirt or the poodle skirt.
- Women wore cardigans with capri pants or cigarette pants too. Usually, the top button of the cardigan was buttoned up. The neckline of vintage cardigans could be round, high, or V-neck with a small opening. When they wore a full circular dress, they wore a sweater on top with a peek-a-boo seduction.
- The polka dots swing dress was popular and was coordinated with different accessories and items for that summery ensemble. The polka dot dresses added a bit of fun to the fashion style, and women could explore their trendy and fun side in those sleeveless dresses. Pairing them up with seamed stockings made them look and feel younger.
- Apart from shawls and sweaters, short sleeve sweater tops were popular too and were seen as an alternative to tailored blouses. Women used to wear them casually or fashionably over a skirt or pants.
- Wearing pearls and heels was common in 1950s fashion and could make any women look classy and stylish. A small chain of pearls with matching pearl studs were all that a woman needed to look elegant and graceful.
- Fashionable accessories included bows and brooches pinned to dresses and flowers as well as Bakelite bracelets as colourful decorations. Wearing clip-on earrings was common, as women did not commonly pierce their ears. They often wore large cocktail rings to grab attention. Wide bracelets and hair ornaments were quintessential to complete the look.
- As for handbags and gloves, no woman was ever seen without a pair of gloves and a matching handbag. Gloves were wrist length and were made up of simple cotton material. They liked to pair them with a matching hobo handbag that was often made of fabric, plastic, and even straw. There were unique shapes in those handbags to create a lasting impression.
- When it came to makeup, while the focus was to look natural, efforts were seen in creating those perfectly arched eyebrows and exaggerated eye makeup with the use of eyeliner and mascara. The lips were painted to look soft and full.
- Women with long hair pulled their hair back in a French twist, while those with short hair pinned them up in curls. Hats were an essential accessory, and all women wore a hat every time they stepped out. A bouffant haircut was considered to be sophisticated and accessorised with jewels.
- Another trend that is found to be common in the fifties is wearing several shades of the same colour. Thus, a woman’s attire would carry colours like caramel brown, topaz brown, light brown, or dark light brown in the same ensemble. Gradually, new colours were introduced in fashion.
During the fifties, it was exceedingly important for a woman to be impeccably dressed, no matter what time of the day. Every woman worked hard to look perfectly groomed, wear matching accessories, and spotless makeup. Fashion historians look at the change in the fashion landscape because of the long years of deprivation after the World Wars. After all, this was a luxury and a right they had been deprived of for many years, and the efforts can be seen in the 1950’s fashion trends among women.