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1950s vintage style/50s style

The 1950s was the decade of sweater girls, James Dean, and the jitterbug. It was also the decade when teenagers became teenagers: not just smaller copies of their mums and dads. They invented new, rebellious outfits and dance moves, and listened to new pop stars like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly singing songs about fast cars, girls, and wild parties.















A typical look might be a tight sweater with a pointy bra underneath, full, knee-length circle skirt (so-called because when you lay it out flat, it looks like a big circle with a hole in the middle), lots of swishy petticoats under that, and bobby socks to complete your outfit. The hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Another typical look is the full-skirted prom and evening dresses that really encapsulates the 1950s!

50s Dresses

At the other end of the scale, you have the elegance of Christian Dior’s New Look which encapsulates 50s style. A fitted jacket with a corseted, narrow waist is paired with a full, ballerina length or full-length skirt. After the restrictions of the war, the fabric wasn’t rationed and so this truly was a new look, using yards of fabric and celebrating a feminine silhouette instead of the uniforms and more practical clothes women had been wearing.





1950s Inspirational films: “Grease”, a 1979 pastiche set in 1959 with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, “Vertigo”, with Kim Novak,” The Seven-year Itch” with Marilyn Monroe, “Roman Holiday” with Audrey Hepburn, “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, and of course, “Rebel Without a Cause” with James Dean and Natalie Wood.

1950s Skirt lengths: Knee-length circle skirts, or knee-length pencil skirts. Tight capri pants also appeared, cropped to mid-calf.

1950s Hairstyle: The quiff and the ponytail, sometimes both together. Pixie cuts were popularized by Audrey Hepburn, while neat waves and curls on longer hair looked glamorous – think of Marilyn Monroe.






1950s Shoes: Flat ballet shoes, and heeled court shoes.

1950s Jewellery: Big, bold, costume jewellery was popular.




1950s Underwear: The bullet bra filled out those tight sweaters, giving a very pointy profile. The other essential is bobby socks.


Visit My Vintage for a wide selection of 50s dresses, 50s clothing and 50s style both at our vintage shop in Lancashire and online at

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1950s Fashion | 1950s Style | 50s Dresses
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