The 1950s, or more simply called the 50s, was the decade that occurred after the end of World War II. The period included recovery from the war and Great Depression. Per thoughtco.com, “Everyone collectively breathed a sigh of relief.” They explain, “It was a time of new styles that broke with the past, like mid-century modern design, and many firsts, inventions, and discoveries that would become symbolic of the 20th century as a time of looking forward.” Though not as wild as the rebellious 60s, when fashion trends verged on individualism and the rise of fashion trends to include the mini skirt, 50s fashion celebrated women through her wardrobe in a demurer yet tasteful manner. Poodle skirts aside, here are three sophisticated fashion trends that we can “steal” from that period:
1) The cinched waist –this is used to describe a garment that tapers narrowly at the mid-section, generally around the waistline, to emphasize the curves of a body. Dresses that are more fitted at the waist and pencil skirts worn with a cropped top or cardigan are examples of 50s styles that emphasized cinched waists. TV presenter and famous beauty entrepreneur Trinny Woodall often recommends that women define their waistlines rather than wear something oversized that can mistakenly give the illusion that someone is larger than their actual size.
2) A string of pearls – this beautiful jewelry fashion accessory gained popularity in the 50s. It became more than a simple decoration; it added softness to celebrate a woman’s femininity and gave intrigue to the black dress (known today as LBD). In the 50s, wearing black and white together was chic. Costume jewelry also boomed, focusing on coordinating outfits with jewelry that matched the color and ornateness of wardrobe design. Often, sets of jewelry pieces were worn together in what is called a parure. Just like the little black dress, pearls are a timeless and classic way of saying, “I am elegant and well put together.”
3) Stylish hats – fashion experts often describe the 50s as a heyday for hat makers since hats were frequently worn daily by women, especially by the older generation. There were many popular styles and materials, from formal, elegant materials to casual straw hats. Though sometimes they were worn for practical purposes, such as keeping warm, often hats of the 50s were worn with sleek hairstyles to make a fashion statement. In many cases, special features were added to hats, such as fringe, rhinestones, or netting, and were worn with matching shawls, long gloves, heeled shoes, pretty handbags, or other accessories. Regardless, 50s hats add variety to a wardrobe and make a woman look polished, sophisticated, and classy.
4) Polka dots – During the period, clothes with bold polka-dot patterns were in high demand. Polka dots were nothing new. In fact, they were worn in the 30s and 40s – and later well into the 60s and beyond. But the 50s gave Polka Dot clothing a classy boost. Frequently, fabrics featuring larger dots were desired, befitting of the popular and high-fashion magazine Vogue. Frequently, dresses were offered in two-toned colors such as a vibrant green backdrop with white dots or in stunning Navy and white. Large buttons, bows, or collared necks often graced the dresses, and some even featured short sleeves.
Though each decade has something unique to offer, the 50s stood apart as a time when elegance, glamour, and charm, as featured through ladies’ wardrobes, were paramount. Why not give a nod to the past by fancying your outfit after the iconic styles of the 50s! Who knows? Perhaps you’ll end up on the cover of Vogue!