Back to the 50’s!

Sophisticated, stylish, and beautiful: the three words that encompass the 50’s (the golden era of fashion). The Fifties were dedicated to femininity and elegance, with beautiful nipped-in waists, hair in elegant up-dos, and the classic red lipstick. The Fifties were amazing and a key point-in-time, for fashion.

Recently, over the past few years, prior fashion fads have been making a comeback; such as gladiator sandals, but ‘blinged’ up and creepers (what Teddy Boys used to wear but under another name). When I noticed this pattern, I started praying for the 50’s to come back in style.

On runway collections in 2013, you can see 50’s dresses and styles sneaking back in. It’s even in the hair and make-up and of course shoes. Nipped-in waists gave the ideal Marilyn Monroe figure, which was so desired back then.

Peter Pan collars (the fixture of the sixties) have made their way back and are featured on blouses and necklaces. They give a cute preppy look; like the collar featured from this online exclusive on New Look dress.


Another key thing to have had in your wardrobe at that time, was a stylish figure hugging pencil skirt. At least every woman had one in her wardrobe; they were particularly used to make the figure look more ‘womanly.’ Pencil skirts are constantly in, but it can depend on the pattern you get or fabric color or type, as those don’t always stay in style. It’s good to have a simple black one. 

An example of one modernized, would be the pink laced gorgeous skirt available from Next by Lipsy.


Another desired feature in the wardrobe would be a flared skirt, mimicking the swing dress style with the volume of it. It made the perfect cute preppy look. 


Back in the Fifties during the summer, a young woman might wear a halter top. This has now recently come back into fashion, although with a slight difference. The 50’s style halter tops back then, were worn with high waist bottoms, particularly shorts (meaning there was no belly buttons showing).  Recent designs may feature Aztec patterns and other summery colors, such as this one from Primark. They may also be known as a Bustier. 


Looking sophisticated and beautiful was sought to be everything by most young women, as it was the only real way to find a husband and achieve the goal of motherhood. Manners and elegance were treated with the utmost importance and wearing a dress was a must.

A swing dress could be worn for a day dress, a recital dress, or even a dancing dress. They were beautiful, classy, and had a wonderful skirt with volume and a pinched-in waist that accentuated the figure. When worn to a dance, the skirt would dance with you, looking absolutely fabulous.  Through the modernizing of the dress, they have unfortunately lost some of their volume but still look great, like this 50’s dress from Next. An example of the style would be the custom dress on the right.

Pants were not commonly worn back then. You went out looking like a young lady, elegant and proper, and you wouldn’t go to school dressed in jeans and a T-shirt or in a skirt that’s above the knee. Pants and shorts were more seen worn at picnics, BBQ’s, and the beach. Both the shorts style and the ¾ leg pants have been seen back in the High Street shops and boy do they look appealing! I’ve been wearing them myself! For instance, this pair from Miss Selfridge (although expensive) do show you what they look like now (they look better on, trust me.)

Swimwear in the 50’s was very modest and different from the 20’s style swimwear, but still not showing the belly button. Swimwear could come in a simple one-piece as well, although I think the two-piece style is a much nicer example. This modern swim suit is designed by Rihanna for RiverIsland, limited edition. 


And finally… shoes! No one takes much notice towards the shoe side of the 50’s, but you can see the shoes are sneaking back into modern day fashion, but without much editing as well! Shoes that were more popularly worn by men, can now be worn by women.

Ballet flats were very popular and often worn with white socks and there were saddle shoes which were owned by anyone and everyone, although extremely heavy. Now, if there are any High Heel lovers out there, then this is your time to shine! The 50’s High Heels were very classy and worn with dresses. The Stiletto Heels more often than not, were worn by movie stars, but can be worn by normal women when going out to posh places for dinner. Then there’s the practical heel, which was worn for shopping and lunches out.

The High Heel never goes out. The designers are always find new ways to bring them back and ballet flats have been in for awhile and are still quite popular. Although the one that may not stay in as long as I wish them to, would be a variation of a men’s style shoe and a saddle shoe called the brogues. These shoes can be found mostly anywhere, ranging in a variety of colors and patterns. 


If you’d prefer to wear things that are pretty much exactly like the original styles, you can find some pieces in vintage shops, but I’d recommend vintage shops online as they are mostly not secondhand and mostly made and custumized to your size.

I’m so excited the 50’s are back, as I absolutely adore some of the pieces and styles worn back then. I think as time’s gone by, looking classy and elegant has been missing for awhile, especially when everyone’s been trying their best to resemble Lady Gaga. But, I’m so glad it’s back in the High Streets and boy can I tell you that I have a very long shopping list this season! And I hope you all have fun with it!

Always True to You in My Fashion” by Peggy Lee (Video below showcases 1950’s style)

~ Charlotte Louise, Associate Editor

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