Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Retro Fifties

Audrey Hepburn in wiggle dress

Fashion of the 1950's were rather feminine and flamboyant which consisted of a tiny corsetted waist, wide shoulders and full hips. Women either wore trim bodices, sweater cardigans which were appliqued or beaded and full skirts (a skirt in a circular cut) sometimes pleated or a pencil skirt with a fitted, cropped box style jacket or collared blouse which was tucked into the waist. During the early fifties clothing had jewel or boat necks but became more scooped neck towards the end or the decade

In vogue day wear was often dresses that had boned bodices, tied straps (on shoulders and halter neck) and a poodle skirt which was calf length and came with matching fabric belts, most popular in floral prints especially roses, cherries, spots and gingham checks. Some other prints worn during this era were abstract and bright, under these dresses and skirts women wore petticoats made from nylon and hoop and net to support the full bouffant style.

Capri/pirate pants, Pedal pushers, A few popular styles amongst the ladies consisted of the peter pan collared blouse, the poodle skirt, a scarf tied either around the pony tail or around the neck and saddle shoes. Shorts and a matching bare midriff top was popular for summer and while on holidays.

The shirt waist dress (also known as the house dress) which emphasised on the waist and was great as casual wear, women also wore petticoats and girdles underneath for dressier occasions. Women generally turned to the wiggle dress for a sexier look this was also known as the pencil skirt/dress, this style was tight, straight and slightly tapered at the knees.

For evening wear strapless was a popular choice.One of the 50's fads was the matching of a dress with a jacket or a swing duster coat which has 3/4 sleeves this was also known as an opera coat. Jackets were also worn flared over the hips with a hint of peplum. Evening coats were popular in satin or brocade materials.

Sophia Loren in a halter neck dress, narrow waist

Elizabeth Taylor with tied shoulder straps

Boat Neck

Scoop Neck


Peter Pan Collar


Full Skirts and Dresses

Elizabeth Taylor in a Gingham Dress

Pleated Full Skirt

Wiggle Dress

Halter Neck

Evening Dresses

Tapered Jacket and Straight Cut Skirt


Elizabeth Taylor in Shorts

Joan Collins in shorts, 
midriff top and stilettos

Audrey Hepburn wearing Capris and Ballet Slippers


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