Style Through The Decades: Women in the 1950’s

Photo Credit: Bess Georgette (Flickr)

Photo Credit: Bess Georgette (Flickr)

The 1950’s were one of the most happening decades in the world of fashion.

As the golden age of Hollywood was on the rise, so were the actresses who became sensational style icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

Many women were inspired by Hollywood to bring out the best of their femininity and style, to highlight their body features and confidently express themselves through their clothing.

Known as the post-war decade, women were tired of the oppressing ‘utility’ clothes that restricted their freedom of style. After Christian Dior introduced his ‘New Look’ collection, wartime fashion was out the door and the 50’s hit the world with an ‘explosion’ of colour. Vibrant colours and bold patterns such as polka dots, stripes, plaid and floral prints all characterised the 1950’s.

Shoulders were no longer squared like they were in the 40’s; instead they were round and natural to accompany the feminine look of the decade. Women’s fashion now consisted of clinched waists with billowing dresses and skirts to give women the ‘ideal’ hourglass figure. Even jackets and coats were pinched in at the waist. When it came to dresses, the choices were endless.

The decade gave birth to the ‘sheath dress’, which helped to acquire the desired silhouette of the time by complimenting curves. Halter dresses, originally from the 1930’s now came back with more bright and colourful patterns. The shirt dress also came from this era as the first casual yet cute dress and also the cocktail dress which answered the question as to what to wear on semi-formal events.

Keeping with the idea of the ‘New Look’, 1950’s tops aimed to give women a feminine silhouette in contrast to the sharp lines of 1930’s clothing. They often wore jackets with peplum waistlines to pinch the silhouette and give the figure a rounded appearance, and paired such jackets with sleek skirts. Loose printed tops and collared tops were also popular, such as the peter pan collar that is still being worn today.

Credit: John Atherton (Flickr)

Credit: John Atherton (Flickr)

Skirts were the iconic item of fashion throughout the decade, their freedom giving a glamorous appearance. Usually hanging mid calf and flowing with layers of nylon and petticoats, the variations of the length emerged as the decade progressed.

Although the 50’s were all about bold and feminine fashion statements, people also became interested in casual sportswear. Ankle length pants and Bermuda shorts being paired with simple, patterned blouses or knit tops for a chic and casual look.

While the shoes of the previous decades were still acceptable frequently worn during this era, many women preferred sleek heels instead and so came the creation of stilettos. These chic and thin heeled shoes instantly dress up an outfit and make it all the more fancy. Casual Oxfords also came to about in the 1950’s, especially among young girls and are still popularly worn today.

Accessorising was hugely emphasised in the 1950. Handbags became increasingly trendy and were often accompanied with matching shoes, hats and even gloves. Even though hats were commonly worn during the early 1950’s, they had lost their popularity by the end of the decade, mostly because of the new hairstyles.

Also, just to mention that Grease, the most favoured musical of all time was set in the 1950’s, and that just says it all, doesn’t it?

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