1950s Style Clothing
The 1950s was a period which brought many changes in the wardrobes of women and men all over the world. The development of mass-production clothing that the consumer could easily wash at home and still maintain its proper tailored appearance allowed for an influx of new fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, and a comforting sense of conformity.
Both the designers and wearers of the clothing embraced the femininity and traditionalism that had been absent during the previous war years.
The way to create the iconic housewife appearance of the 1950s is practicalness. A simple wrap dress with a full a-line skirt in a solid or print pattern, such as polka dots or plaid, is a quick way to look smart while doing everything around the house from cleaning the dishes to going out to dinner.
The popular patterns were flowers and leaves, and dresses were generally not shorter than calf length. Women paired the dresses with short jackets and accessories in the form of pearl jewellery. Adding a hat, short gloves and flats or short open-toed heels is an easy key to make a complete daytime outfit.
For a more business-like and professional look duplicating the style which was popular with women in the ’50s, a pencil dress or skirt suit in a rich, dark color, and possibly made from velvet, is the ideal choice.
A pencil skirt that falls below your knees will demonstrate your figure, while still maintaining an appropriate level of modesty for the occasion. To extend your appearance in a dress or skirt suit, you can wear a cropped suit jacket and pumps. A girdle would be the ideal underwear for such a form-fitting ensemble.
If a woman was going attend a more formal nighttime event during the 1950s, she could wear a mid-calf cocktail dress made from such materials as silk, tulle, lace or chiffon, and decorated with bows and other feminine details, with petticoats underneath to create a more voluminous skirt.
A cocktail dress in the fifties could be comprised of any color and range from sleeveless to short, shoulder-baring sleeves to long-sleeves. Sometimes they could wear a ball gown made from many of the same materials as a cocktail dress, albeit, slightly more dramatic in cut and appearance. Both cocktail dresses and ball gowns could be worn with open or closed-toed heels and accessorized with long gloves, a clutch handbag and pearl or diamond jewellery.
While style and fashion in the 1950s primarily had the tendency toward the revival of femininity, ’50s men also had a definite style of their own. To have the conservatively classical male outlook of the ’50s, you could put on a wool or cotton suit in a darker color, such as blue, gray or brown, with a skinny tie of the same color.
A belt, pair of cufflinks, classical black shoes and a fedora hat are the perfect accessories to create the 1950s professional male dress. For a more relaxed and preppy at-home look, men often combined khakis or slacks with a button-up shirt, in a solid color, plaid pattern or Hawaiian print, with a cardigan and tennis shoes.
Cowboy shirts with bolo ties were popular among working class men that time, they were worn together with polo shirts and cardigans. Material used for trousers was loose wool flannel and casual trousers looked very similar to the business suit. Younger men wore the jeans in the ’50s.