1950s Fashion Highlights: The Dirndl Dress

When we think about the 1950s, we generally get swept up in the leather jackets and the fabulous poodle skirts, but there are quite a few fashion pieces that popped up then! One of the unknown iconic fashion trends is the Dirndl skirt. Yes, you heard us right, the Dirndl skirt.

The Dirndl skirt originally started in the 1930s but it gained popularity in 1947, after Christian Dior’s New Look debut in the runway. What made the look stand out and become popular was the “peasant” style skirts and blouses that were easy to sew and design. The New Look with its full skirts was a natural direction for the peasant trend to follow with increasingly wide skirts and corseted style bodices. The term dirndl started being used to describe a gathered skirt on a waistband. To make the skirts more fashionable, many textile patterns and embroidery inspired by Eastern Europe and other countries were used.



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The white gathered bustline was a nod to the hourglass shaped outfits worn for festivals in many regions of Europe. During the 1950s this look was easily achieved using a jumper bodice with a white blouse or a low-cut bodice with a bust line insert.  This look was so easy to sew and put together, that it caused a trend in home sewing, combining the popular silhouette with easy to sew cotton into well fit, full skirted dress. While it was just a domestic and comfortable form of clothing in Europe, it became an entire fashion trend in the United States.

 The Dirndl definitely looks like something out of the Middle Ages instead of from the 1950s but it really isn't all that different from some current trends in the fashion industry. It's quite reminiscent of the popular pinafores and the fitted overall skirts. Heck, take a look at this Fashion Nova overall skirt and tell me it’s not even a little like the Dirndl. The Dirndl isn’t really that far off from current styles. I suppose most people focus on using this piece to attend Renaissance Fairs and Oktoberfest, but we have some suggestions on how to style this dated piece!



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Since Autumn is rolling around, you can head for the cozy look. Your pinafore can go with any complementary color. If you have a black pinafore, then anything from red to white will look lovely. You can put a belt under it, cinch it at the waist with a belt, add a chain. The possibilities are endless. You can find outfit inspo by searching under the IG tag.


Now if you want to rock the Dirndl, honestly, you can. We suggest you grab one that’s not too bright of color: light pink, black or white. Wear it with a button-down shirt or a mock neck turtleneck in any color you think would suit the outfit. Black and red are always a good combo, and so are pink plus white or even blue! Your shoes should be simple but traditionally feminine, to give it that real timey look and your hair should drop down in loose curls.




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If you really dare to rock a Dirndl, let us know! Tag us on Instagram!