FASHION OF THE 1950s
When it comes to fashion, Decades do not always tend to fit in nice ten-year segments. Following the end of World War II, clothes rationing was still in force in the UK. Although, it technically ended in March 1949, clothes were still in short supply until the early 1950s. The fashions of the fifties had strong American connections, and some fashions carried on into the early 1960s.
The main looks to come out of the 1950s were:-
Blond Bombshell The original Blond Bombshell was actress, Jean Harlow, who earlier in the century paved the way for the platinum blond look, which became very much a part of the 1950s. The most iconic blond bombshells of the period included Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Diana Dors & Lana Turner.
Cocktail Dresses A return to glamour was epitomised by knee length Cocktail Dresses with nipped in waist. Many were based on the New Look.
Evening Dresses Long, flowing gowns were often worn for dinner parties and evening wear. Think Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe
New Look Christian Dior was responsible for the New Look. He showcased it in 1947, where it scandalised certain members of the public, due to the amount of material used. The nipped in waist was counteracted with yards of material and underskirts for that full look.
Pin-up The counterpoint to the New Look was the straight pencil skirt image, with a slit up the back to allow the wearer to walk, and tight fitting top. Think Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.
Preppie Look As epitomised by Sandy in Grease.
Sack Dress Cristbal Balenciaga brought in the Sack Dress during the 1950s. This was a straight tubular dress, which counteracted Diors New Look and was the forerunner of the 1960s shift.
Teddy Boy & Teddy Girl Worn by the teenage generation, the Edwardian look made a comeback, but with more brightly coloured jackets, worn with black drainpipe trousers, white shirts and bootlace ties.
Twin Set & Pearls A popular look for the Fifties housewife. The twinset consisted of a top with matching cardigan and string of pearls, usually worn with a straight skirt.
1950s Hairstyles – Whilst male hairstyles remained relatively conventional, although imitations of the Marlon Brando, James Dean or Elvis Presley look were also seen, female styles varied from the preppy ponytail through the classic flick-out to the development of the beehive.
FASHION HEROES OF THE 1950s
Audrey Hepburn Actress who first came to fame in the 1950s. Her gamine style look was much copied.
Christian Dior Fashion designer and inventor of the New Look, who died on October 23rd 1957.
Coco Chanel Fashion designer, who reinvented her original 1920s knitted wool suit during the 1950s.
Cristbal Balenciago Fashion designer whose Sack Dress, Baby Doll look and Cocoon Coat became iconic images of the 1950s and 1960s.
Grace Kelly Actress who became Princess Grace of Monaco. She was noted for her stylish looks both on and off the screen.
Princess Margaret Sister of the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth (1953), Princess Margaret became a style icon of the 1950s.