VINTAGE 101: 1950’s
During the 1950’s, the people of America wanted to settle down and enjoy a nice, calm life. So far, most of the 20th century had been nothing but drama: the crazy party-filled 1920’s, the bleak and economically-depressed 1930’s, and the recent war-filled 1940’s. Despite this desire towards harmonious prosperity, America soon became involved in what later became known as the beginnings of the Cold War. Patriotism reigned supreme throughout the nation—-an “all American” decade with an American Dream.
Christian Dior’s 1947 release of his famed ‘New Look’ collection highly influenced the overall fashion vibe of the 1950’s. Nearly every single dress was made in a similar bodice-hugging, waist-defining, full-skirted style. Women were sick and tired of wearing practical, sparse suit sets, and readily embraced this graceful, feminine trend. Cotton shirtdresses or simple florals were often worn during the day; sumptuous silks and taffetas made a dazzling appearance at night. High-heeled pumps and peep-toes reigned supreme in the shoe department. Elbow-length gloves (which were often gathered), veiled pillbox hats, embellished fascinators, and pearl jewelry were popular accessories of this decade. Hair was parted on the side, styled into full shoulder-length curls. En vogue makeup included the ever-striking red lip, heavy black faux eyelashes, luminescent white eye shadow, and the occasional artfully-painted beauty spot.
Girl of the Decade: the Housewife
The 1950’s reverted back to a traditional family structure. Men steadily went to work, children attended school, and women stayed at home to tend after domestic affairs. The female position as “housewife” during this time period has been cause for much contemporary debate. These 1950’s belles are often now portrayed as feeling bored and useless. However these women truly felt about their role in society, one thing can be certain: they lived their lives dressed to the nines! Whether baking bread in the kitchen or drinking lemonade on a perfectly-manicured spotless green lawn, the 1950’s housewife could often be seen wearing a crisp shirtdress over a full petticoat, accessorized with a frilly hostess apron and a whimsical silk headscarf. Like this 1950’s icon, no matter where we are, at work or at home, we should strive to be beautifully dressed 24/7.
Style Icons of the 1950’s
Without a doubt, the most well-known style icon of this decade is Golden Globe Award-winning Marilyn Monroe. Her legendary bombshell spirit can be seen (to certain degrees) in a number of other 1950’s-era beauties like Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, Anne Baxter, Jane Russell and Elizabeth Taylor.
Recreating the 1950’s
Incorporating 1950’s fashions into your life can be a breath of fresh air to your wardrobe. Instead of worrying about wriggling into a trendy body-conscious dress, don an elegant full skirt with a fitted top. Clothing styles from this decade are perhaps one of the most flattering types of garments to the female figure—-curvy, skinny, pear-shaped, or busty, they can make anyone look good! Worried about finding some authentic 1950’s apparel? Reproductions from this decade are incredibly easy to find. Go to any Forever21 or Charlotte Russe, and you’ll see loads of full skirts and wasp-waisted dresses. 1950’s esque accessories like pearl necklaces, polka-dot neck scarves, and pretty gloves can be easily acquired via thriftstores and online vintage clothing websites.
Forget books! 1950’s movies are positively overflowing with fashion inspiration:
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