My grandma always talked about the fashion of the 1950s, which was all about looking glamorous and sophisticated, and this attitude was related to the popular style of the time. Women’s clothing emphasized curves and cinched waists, while men’s suits were sharp and tailored.
The 1950s are a time that is often remembered for its classic fashion styles. From the iconic poodle skirts of the 1950s to the sleek leather jackets,1950s fashion was some of the most distinct and memorable.
This article will explore everything you need to know about 1950s fashion, including the main trends, influences, and prominent figures who shaped the decade’s style. We will also look at how these looks still influence fashion today.
Overview of 50s Fashion Trends
The 1950s saw a significant shift in fashion, as World War II had ended and people were eager to embrace a more glamorous and luxurious style. Women’s fashion was characterized by full skirts, fitted waists, and pointed bustlines, which created a feminine hourglass silhouette.
Daywear consisted of shirtwaist dresses, pencil skirts, and cardigans, while eveningwear featured ball gowns and cocktail dresses. Accessories were crucial to the overall look, with the popular choices of gloves, hats, and pearls.
Men’s fashion in the 1950s was all about the “Mad Men” look, with sharp suits, fedoras, and skinny ties. Casual wear included polo shirts, chinos, and leather jackets. The 1950s fashion trends continue to inspire designers and fashion enthusiasts today.
What are the Popular Types of 50s Fashion Styles?
The 1950s were a time of diverse fashion styles for both men and women. Some of the popular types of 50s fashion styles are:
Rockabilly Style: This style was influenced by rock and roll music and was popular among the youth. It involved high-waisted jeans, leather jackets, polka-dot dresses, and bold prints.
Greaser Style: This style was popularized by rebellious teenagers and was characterized by tight-fitting leather jackets, jeans, and slicked-back hair.
Pin-up Style: This style was inspired by the glamour of Hollywood and was characterized by high-waisted skirts, fitted tops, and red lipstick.
Preppy Style: This style was popular among college students and was characterized by button-down shirts, cardigans, and khaki pants.
New Look Style: This style was popularized by Christian Dior and was characterized by full skirts, fitted waists, and emphasized bustlines.
Teddy Boy Style: This style was popular among British youth and was characterized by long jackets, drainpipe trousers, and pompadour hairstyles.
These styles continue to inspire modern-day fashion trends and are often incorporated into contemporary designs.
The Key Features of 50s Women’s Fashion?
The 1950s were a transformative decade for women’s fashion. Here are some of the critical features of 50s women’s fashion.
Full skirts: Women’s dresses were often full and voluminous, usually made from fabrics like tulle, chiffon, and organdy. This was achieved through petticoats, crinolines, and layers of fabric.
Fitted waists: The hourglass silhouette was highly desired, and women’s dresses and tops often featured fitted waists to accentuate the figure.
Pointed bustlines: Pointed bustlines were popular and emphasized the bust, creating a more pronounced hourglass silhouette.
Shirtwaist dresses were famous for daywear and featured a button-down front and a full skirt.
Pencil skirts: Pencil skirts were a staple of women’s office wear, featuring a slim silhouette that hugged the hips and thighs.
Cardigans: Women often paired their dresses and skirts with cardigans, available in various colors and styles.
Gloves: Gloves were an essential accessory, often made from leather or satin and worn for formal and casual occasions.
Pearls: Pearl necklaces were a popular accessory, adding a touch of elegance to any outfit.
The Inspirations of Fashion Trends in the 50s
There were several inspirations for fashion trends in the 1950s. Here are some of the most significant:
Hollywood glamour: Hollywood movies and celebrities significantly influenced fashion in the 1950s. Actresses like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly were fashion icons who inspired women’s style.
Dior’s New Look: In 1947, Christian Dior introduced his New Look collection, which featured full skirts and nipped-in waists. This collection was a significant departure from the austerity of wartime fashion and substantially impacted women’s fashion in the 1950s.
Post-war optimism: The end of World War II brought a sense of optimism and hope, reflected in the luxurious and glamorous fashion of the 1950s.
Rock and roll music: The emergence of rock and roll music in the 1950s significantly impacted fashion. Young people embraced a rebellious and edgy style characterized by leather jackets, jeans, and bold prints.
The space race: The Cold War and the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union led to a fascination with futuristic styles and materials, such as metallic fabrics and space-age designs.
These inspirations, among others, contributed to the diverse range of fashion trends in the 1950s, which continue to influence fashion today.
Famous Fashion Designers in the 50s
The 1950s saw the rise of several famous fashion designers who left a lasting impact on the industry. Here are some of the most notable designers of the era.
Christian Dior – Known for his iconic “New Look” collection in 1947, Dior’s designs featured voluminous skirts, nipped-in waists, and emphasized femininity. He continued to be a significant influence on fashion throughout the 1950s.
Hubert de Givenchy – Givenchy was a French designer who dressed some of the world’s most fashionable women, including Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. His designs were characterized by elegance, simplicity, and sophistication.
Coco Chanel – One of the most influential designers of the 20th century, Chanel’s signature styles included the little black dress and the Chanel suit. She helped to popularize more casual, comfortable styles for women.
Balenciaga – Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga was known for his precise, sculptural silhouettes and high-quality fabrics. He designed for many famous clients, including Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly.
Norman Norell – An American designer, Norell was known for his classic, timeless designs. His beaded and sequined evening gowns were trendy among Hollywood stars.
These designers, along with many others, helped to shape the fashion of the 1950s and continue to influence style today.
How to Incorporate 50s Style into Modern Fashion?
Incorporating 1950s style into modern fashion can be a fun and stylish way to add a vintage twist to your wardrobe. Here are some tips for incorporating 50s style into your everyday look:
Focus on silhouette: The 50s were known for their feminine, hourglass silhouettes, so incorporating high-waisted skirts, fitted tops, and full skirts can be a great way to add some vintage flair to your look.
Embrace prints and patterns: Bold prints and patterns were popular in the 50s, so try incorporating polka dots, gingham, and floral prints into your outfits.
Play with accessories: Statement jewelry, scarves, and gloves were popular in the 50s. Incorporating these accessories into your modern outfits can be a great way to add a vintage touch.
Add a vintage touch to your hair and makeup: Victory rolls, pin curls, and bright red lipstick were all popular beauty trends in the 50s. Adding these vintage touches to your hair and makeup can help complete your retro look.
Mix and match: Pairing vintage pieces with modern staples can create a unique and stylish look. For example, pair a full skirt with a trendy graphic tee or a vintage blouse with a pair of modern skinny jeans.
Tips for Blending 50s Fashion Elements into Modern Outfits
Blending 50s fashion elements into modern outfits can be a great way to create a unique, retro-inspired look. Here are some tips to help you incorporate 50s fashion elements into your everyday wardrobe:
Start with critical pieces: Begin by incorporating key 50s fashion elements, such as full skirts, fitted tops, and high-waisted trousers, into your outfits. These classic and versatile elements can easily be integrated into modern companies.
Mix and match: Combining modern and vintage pieces can create a unique and stylish look. For example, try pairing a full skirt with a trendy t-shirt or wearing a vintage blouse with a pair of modern skinny jeans.
Add vintage accessories: Vintage accessories can be a great way to add a touch of 50s style to your modern outfit. Statement jewelry, scarves, and gloves were popular in the 50s and can easily be incorporated into everyday outfits.
Experiment with prints and patterns: Bold prints and patterns were popular in the 50s, so try incorporating polka dots, gingham, and floral prints into your outfits. Mix and match different prints and patterns for a unique, retro-inspired look.
Play with hair and makeup: Hairstyles like victory rolls and pin curls were popular in the 50s, as were bright red lipsticks and winged eyeliner. Incorporating these vintage beauty trends into your modern look can help complete your retro-inspired outfit.
By blending 50s fashion elements into modern outfits, you can create a unique and personalized style that reflects your taste and personality.
Hair Styles in 50s Fashion
The 1950s were known for their distinctive hairstyles, which were often glamorous and sophisticated. Here are some of the most common hairstyles of the era:
- The Bouffant: This hairstyle was characterized by its high volume and fullness. Hair was teased at the crown and backcombed to create a rounded shape, with long, loose curls or waves falling around the face.
- The Pixie: Short haircuts became popular in the 50s, and the pixie cut was one of the most iconic styles of the era. This short, boyish cut was popularized by actress Audrey Hepburn and was characterized by its short, wispy layers.
- The Poodle Cut: This hairstyle was inspired by the curly fur of a poodle and featured tight, voluminous curls all over the head. This style was often achieved using rollers or a perm and was popular among women with naturally curly hair.
- The Beehive: This dramatic updo was created by backcombing hair at the crown and securing it into a high, rounded shape with hairpins and hairspray. This style was often worn for formal occasions and was a popular choice for brides.
- The Ponytail: A classic hairstyle that remains popular today, the ponytail was a simple yet chic style in the 50s. Hair was pulled back into a high or low ponytail and secured with a hair tie or ribbon.
These hairstyles, along with many others, helped to define the look of the 50s and continue to inspire modern fashion and beauty trends.
Makeups for 50s Style
A focus on a flawless, polished complexion, dramatic eyes, and bright, bold lips characterized the makeup styles of the 1950s. Here are some of the most common makeup trends of the era:
- Bold red lips: Bright, bold red lipstick was a staple of 50s makeup, and women often paired it with a neutral or slightly darker lip liner for definition.
- Winged eyeliner: Cat-eye or winged eyeliner was popular in the 50s. The liner was applied thickly along the upper lash line and extended outwards in a dramatic flick.
- Full, arched brows: Thick, full brows with a pronounced arch were a signature of 50s beauty. Brows were often filled with pencil or powder to create a more defined shape.
- Rosy cheeks: A flush of pink or peach blush on the cheeks was a popular trend in the 50s. Blush was often applied high on the cheekbones to create a youthful, radiant glow.
- Flawless complexion: A perfect, even face was considered essential in 50s beauty. Women often used heavy foundation and powder to achieve a smooth, matte finish.
These makeup trends helped to define the look of the 50s and continue to inspire modern beauty trends.
Accessorizing for 50s Style
Accessories were an essential part of 50s fashion, adding a finishing touch to outfits and helping to complete the overall look. Here are some of the most common accessories worn during the 50s:
- Gloves: Women often wore gloves as a stylish and practical accessory. Gloves were available in various materials and lengths, from short cotton gloves to long, satin gloves.
- Pearl jewelry: Pearls were a popular choice in the 50s and were often worn as a string of pearls or earrings. They were a classic and elegant accessory that added sophistication to any outfit.
- Scarves: Scarves were a versatile accessory that could be worn in various ways, from tied around the neck to worn in the hair. Brightly patterned or brightly colored scarves were particularly popular.
- Hats: Hats were a popular accessory for men and women in the 50s. Women often wore pillbox hats, wide-brimmed sun hats, or minor chic ones with netting or flowers.
- Cat-eye glasses: Cat-eye glasses were a popular eyewear style in the 50s. They featured a distinctive, upward-angled frame that added a touch of glamour to any outfit.
These accessories were a staple of 50s fashion and can be incorporated into modern outfits to add a touch of retro-inspired style.