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  • Writer's pictureEmma

Style Spotlight - 1950s Dresses

September 2nd 1945, the end of World War II and in many ways the world would never be the same as it once was. The effects from the war affected every possible aspect of life and this lasted way into the 1950s. Of course this also meant an impact on 1950s fashion and how clothing and style were changed, especially for women. During the war, most women had worked in all manner of fields including switchboard operating, ammunition testing, farming, factory manufacturing, stock taking, fabric sewing and many more besides. A need for practicality and of course the rationing of fabrics and supplies, had changed the face of women's fashion for good. Whilst it became more socially acceptable for women to wear trousers and less shocking to see a women without a hat and matching gloves; it was also a time were women wanted to feel glamorous again and enjoy the freedom and femininity of fashion once more.

New Look Christian Dior Vintage 1950s Dresses
'New Look' by Christian Dior

Of course, the most iconic look of the 1950s fashion era was Christian Dior's 'New Look' where the waist was cinched right in and the skirt was super full and voluminous. Netted petticoats were therefore very full and in many cases even caged to ensure maximum impact. The French designers literally shaped the fashion of the 1950s with the top half of the body being very fitted, the waist being as small as possible and the skirt as big as you desired! To emphasise this silhouette further, the pointed bra became ever popular whether it was worn under dresses, blouses or fitted knitwear.

This is still the most iconic 1950s fashion look that we know and love today, but is now most commonly referred to as a 1950s swing dress. There are of course many retro and reproduction styles on the market but for that truly unique and authentic feel you cannot beat the real thing - original 1950s vintage dresses. You can find some stunning examples from vintage sellers out there, and here at My Vintage we have a wonderful selection. I have picked out some of my favourites from those currently in stock. Enjoy!

A designer vintage gem from 1950s Carnegie, this really is a head-turner. Sleeveless swing dress with squared neckline and pretty bows at the top. Seamed shaped bodice and huge full swing skirt with pleating at the waist. Built in cotton underskirt - add a netted petticoat for even more volume. All made from a very soft cotton fabric in a smudged floral print. The autumnal tones of orange, wine, green and cream are super pretty. Fastens with a back zip. In very good vintage condition.

Beautiful original 1950s vintage prom dress in classic black. Lace effect top bodice with cinched waist and full skirt with a chiffon overlay and pretty velvet bow at waist. Sheer back panel - there are sadly a few holes and ladders on this part of the dress but this could be replaced or worn with a bolero to hide the damage. Slight stretch to top and overlay, non stretch waist and lining. In good vintage condition overall. Side zip fastening.

We love an original 1950s swing dress and this is a great example! Stunning purple, cerise and teal in a bold floral print, this is a classic 50s dress with short sleeves, cinched waist and a pleated swing skirt. You can add a petticoat and/or belt for even more definition and impact! Non stretch fabric and back zip fastening. In very good vintage condition.

Stunning original 1950s prom dress, perfect for any debutante! Deep green and blue splatter style print in a non stretch chiffon fabric. Sleeveless with scoop neck, deep ruched waist band and full prom skirt. Can be worn with a net petticoat for even more volume and va-va-voom! Fastens with a back zip. In very good vintage condition.

Wow, the shape and colours of this original 50s dress are just stunning. Rich palette of teal, mustard and tan - a perfect autumnal feel. Crossover neckline at front and back with elbow length sleeves and classic cinched in waist. The full swing skirt gathers in pleats shape at the waist seam and can of course be worn with a net petticoat underneath. All made from a luxurious soft non-stretch cotton. Back zip fastening. In very good vintage condition.

A cute 1950s handmade swing dress made from quality non stretch cotton. The full skirt is a black and white gingham and the white top is trimmed horizontally with the same fabric. Simple round neck and short sleeves. Two discreet shoulder pads have been added but can be removed if required. Non stretch and fastens with a back zip. In very good vintage condition.

1950s Vintage Lemon Brocade Swing Dress Size 12
1950s Vintage Lemon Brocade Swing Dress Size 12 £95

Feel like a pastel princess from the 1950s with this beautiful original vintage dress. Soft lemon brocade fabric with classic fitted bodice, cinched waist and box pleated full swing skirt. Sleeveless with split neck design and back zip fastening. Non stretch fabric. Can be worn with or without a net petticoat. In very good vintage condition.

Make a fifties statement in this pretty vintage swing dress with bold daisy print on a taupe background. Sleeveless style with classic boat neck, cinched waist and full flowing skirt. Can be worn with or without a net petticoat. Finished with a matching fabric belt and fastens with a side zip. Made from a soft non stretch cotton. In very good vintage condition.

Like with all our incredible vintage clothing, we restock our shop and our virtual shelves regularly so it's a good idea to check back regularly to see what is new and snap it up before anyone else does! And I'll be back next week with another vintage blog.

Until next time

Emma x

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