How to Recreate Decades of Fashion: 1950s

Fashion in the 1950s varied greatly from the beginning to the end, as the first few years after World War II were a time when fashion was “finding itself.” Maybe the variations were not quite as extreme as the 60s (which we’ll look at next week!), but 1950s fashion saw the introduction of many new styles, including looks that that paid homage to the 1920s aesthetic.

With the men back from war, women focused on their suburban role as homemakers and looked for clothing that was easy to wash and keep neat. The shirt dress was also popular during this era as a casual-yet-cute option for housewives. Acrylic, spandex, and polyester were introduced during the decade.

Teenagers also developed their own style for the first time, often dressing more casually than their parents. Defined waists, vibrant colors, and bold statements characterized the 1950s. 1950s dresses became rounded, with ballerina length hems and cinched waists for a delicate, feminine hourglass look.

Some iconic pieces of the 50s include coordinated shoes/handbags/accessories, horn-rimmed glasses, the cardigan sweater, twirly skirts, and saddle shoes. Some fashion icons? Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Lucille Ball!

Here’s how to mimic the classic 50s look today!

 

CASUAL

As people became interested in casual sportswear, ankle length pants, pedal pushers and Bermuda shorts came into fashion. These styles of cropped pants and shorts were paired with simple, patterned blouses or knit tops for a chic, casual look.

1. The Pants

For this look, you’re going to want to reach for a pair of matchstick or ankle pants. You can go for denim ankle pants, or jazz it up with a cool pattern. Right now, Gap has adorable ankle jeans and matchstick pants, so you can try these (and black pants are a wardrobe must-have). If you don’t want to find a new pair of pants, you can just roll up your skinny jeans to your ankles in a cuff.

 

2. The Top

If you go for patterned pants, a solid top and a statement necklace are the way to go. If you go for the solid pants, a patterned top like this one is necessary! This one is from Forever21, but JCrew has really cute short sleeved sweaters and sweatshirts all the time, and they’re really easy to find at consignment shops. 

 

3. The Shoes                      

With these matchstick pants, you have to go for these adorable saddle shoes. Super affordable (from Payless!) and super cute, they can be worn with just about anything. If you don’t have or want saddle shoes, flat oxfords work just as well.

 

4. The Finishing Touches

Drape a black or brightly colored matching cardi over your shoulders for an iconic 50s look. Top it off with an adorable bright orange or coral lip and this classic hairstyle. All you have to do is lightly curl the ends of your hair with a flat iron and put it up in a tight pony with a ribbon and a cute bang, and you’re all set!

 

DRESSY

As the decade continued, so did the feminine dresses, but with more styles. Sundresses and skirts with cute, vibrant patterns like gingham and floral became popular. Ornate necklines also came into vogue; many dresses and tops were constructed with jeweled or peter pan collars or jazzed up with low-cut necklines for a feminine touch.

1. The Skirt

Many variations of skirt styles came about in this era, but the most popular was the ankle length skirt with a lot of volume. If you wore a full-volume, ankle length skirt today, you might feel a little silly. So check out this vibrant below-the-knee skirt from ASOS just to get an idea. H&M is also really great when it comes to classy midi skirts!

 

2. The Top

Peter pan collared blouses were SO popular in the 1950s! To update the look for the 2010s, opt for a cute short sleeve or sleeveless top (or crop top!) with a little collar. Try this cute bright one from JCrew, or you can get them cheap at Forever 21 and H&M.

 

3. The Shoes

For this you have to go for a cute pair of heels—it’ll make your legs look longer with the midi skirt! In the 50s, a kitten heel was the height most women went for, but nowadays anything goes! I recommend a pointed toe pump in a solid color with a patterned skirt, or you can go for a pattern shoe if your skirt is solid. Try these adorable rosy pink pumps from DSW for this outfit!

 

4. The Finishing Touches

In the 50s, you couldn’t go wrong with a short pearl necklace, pearl earrings, and a pearl bracelet! After you don your matching jewelry, grab a handbag the same/similar color as your shoes. Then, throw on a pair of these adorable cat eye sunglasses (which you can get on Amazon!) and a bold pink lip!

 

FORMAL

Cocktail dresses were really in style during this decade and helped women who had trouble figuring out what to wear to semi-formal and formal events. The sweetheart neckline was really popular with dressy dresses and often were made with tulle and silk.

1. The Dress

For the dress, we’re heading back over to our fave, Unique Vintage! This dress has the sweetest sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves, and we love the color! Lavender is such an uncommon and beautiful color, and you’re sure to wow in this dress.

 

2. The Shoes

When you pick out your shoes, reach for some cute pumps. These are an adorable take on the classic t-strap pump, but regular nude pumps are just as cute! These are from DSW for a great price, and you’re sure to wear them again!

 

3. The Finishing Touches

For your makeup, pastel eyes and peach cheeks were very popular in the 50s. Complete this look with your pearl jewelry and this adorable updo.

So next time you’re going on a cute day trip (like a picnic!) or just want to recreate the nifty fifties, try these looks!

 

If you missed last week’s article on the 1940’s, click here!