The most popular fashion styles from the 1950s that influence the way we dress today
The 1950s fashion will forever be a fantastic source of stylistic inspiration for designers and fashionistas.
The fashion decade of the 50’s combined timeless elegance with the current trends of that time into what we now call the spirit of the retro fashion movement.
In this article, I’ve gathered all the 1950s fashion influences you need to make a fashion shift and take advantage of romantic hourglass shapes and post-war silhouettes.
Leaving behind the utilitarian silhouettes of the sad 40s, the fashion of the 50s was all about the hyper-feminine looks established by new designers.
Same thing Clothing from the 1950s designers – Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Hubert de Givenchy – are turning their business into the world’s most luxurious fashion brands.
Whether you want to learn how to dress in the style of the 50’s in a modern way or you are looking for new influences to upgrade your retro wardrobe, this article is for you.
It’s time to get into the most casual 50’s fashion look for women and men and the best fashion trends of the 50s that dominated that era.
‘New Look’ 50’s dresses
1950s, Christian Dior he made waves with his first fashion collection, “New Look”.
With sloping shoulders, raised chest line, now a cult shape that turns the waist, and a voluminous padded skirt that ends just below the lower leg, the French fashion designer presented a completely new way of expressing radical femininity.
Although Dior faced negative reactions from the feminist movement to introduce the hourglass figure, the dress revolutionized the 50s fashion scene by blurring the boundaries between daytime and evening wear.
Women immediately adopted Dior’s iconic style, and many popular clothing brands of the 50’s began to adapt the “New Look”.
Worn by movie stars and celebrities of the time, Dior’s silhouette from the 1950s has become a look that has influenced fashion and pop culture to this day.
To create a style from the 1950s, like the muse of Christian Dior, opt for one-color dresses in the shape of a pencil, one-color or floral bustier dresses with a neckline or a full midi skirt.
Blazer dresses with corset details are another great option for incorporating 1950s fashion influences into your modern look.
Suits with a 50s skirt
Full A-line skirts that flatter figures and pencils in gloves that are often stylized with tailored, sharp and structured matching peplum jackets became a fashion uniform of the 50s.
Many fashion images from the 1950s show suits with skirts rocking busy women with tucked-in blouses and percher hats in bold colors.
High fashion designers such as Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Chanel have inspired many clothing brands from the 1950s to recreate this popular silhouette, making it accessible to women of all economic statuses.
The quickest way to create a modern 1950s fashion look is to choose a blazer with a belt or corset and illuminated over the hips.
Add a tight-fitting preppy-style skirt to perfect your hourglass silhouette and create a tight waist look.
1950s Pedal Pushers
As one of the most comfortable and functional fashion garments of the 50s, ready-made women’s trousers became part of the wardrobe.
Pedal push-ups, originally worn by cyclists, were tight calf-length trousers that served all the needs of active women and teenagers of the time.
Audrey Hepburn is the best example of pedal styles from the 50s, often spotted wearing them in monochrome shades and indented blouses.
Flat shoes and saddle shoes were great for pedal pushers and helped this casual 1950s women’s fashion look become very popular.
The Beatnik Straps
As the number of people interested in novels, poetry, music and works of art continued to grow, a new culture began to form, ‘Beatnik‘culture.
Bitnik was a media stereotype that prevailed in the fashion of the late 1940s, from the 1950s to the mid-1960s, describing the underground and anti-conformist gathering of young people in New York.
The ideology of the Beatles started a new fashion movement which, contrary to Dior’s famous “New Look”, saw that the Beatniks wore aerodynamic silhouettes of dark color.
The style included berets, straight cigarette pants made of synthetic materials, black sweaters with necklines, striped shirts, T-shirts and sweaters.
This simplistic casual and rebellious women’s fashion aesthetic from the 1950s experienced numerous returns, and current Maisons like Fendi and Dior still showcase 50s styles with collar shirts, baggy pants and black jackets.
Pinup Girls 50s
Paying homage to female sex appeal, Pinup 50s girl fashion draws inspiration from Hollywood stars.
Celebrities from the 1950s like Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe brought a fashionable pinup look to the streets.
This 1950s aesthetic mixed burlesque, rockabilly and old Hollywood glamor – today the modern interpretation of this classic fashion look relies on the same principles.
As a base, start with tight-fitting poodle-shaped dresses or skirts, which the wind could lift.
The combination with a low neckline, a top with breasts, hot pants, a bikini with a neckline and swimsuits resembling dresses took over the fashionable feminine look of the 50s.
Another must-have accessory relevant to 50s fashion – for pin-up girls – is a classic heeled shoe.
The first heels with 4-inch heels were introduced in the 50’s, and pinup girls were the first to adopt them with swing dresses.
Pencil skirts of the 50s
Grace Kelly’s sleek colored skirt in ‘Rear Window’ represents the different styles that dominated the 50s fashion scene.
The Christian Dior H-line collection featured straight lines that accentuate the waist to build on the basic silhouette of the pencil skirt.
Pencil skirts were often paired with tucked-in sleeveless shirts, but we also saw more variations on the look of pencil skirts with sweaters and chiffon or silk scarves.
There are many ways to wear a retro pencil skirt to create a modern 1950s fashion ensemble.
Combine skirts to the middle of the lower leg with colorful belts that are decorated with fitted valleys.
Equally, you can wear three-quarters of jackets with short sleeves in bolder colors or casual jackets with a detachable collar and patched pockets.
Hats with a large brim of the 50s
Some of the most popular clothing brands of the 1950s launched unique adaptations of large-brimmed hats, often decorated with needles, feathers, beads or ribbons.
Bigger and more dramatic than ever, these glamorous toppers have become a staple in evening wear.
Inspired by the movie stars of the 1950s, women’s fashion followed the same casual styles, but instead of wool, these large brimmed hats were made of straw with an edge print.
Rockabilly fashion of the 50s
Among the many fashion trends of the 1950s, Rockabilly had perhaps the most recognizable influences of this decade.
As one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music originating in the southern United States, Rockabilly had a special fashion style.
With great rock n ‘roll and “hillbilly” singles, played by artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly, the rockabilly style of the 50’s has become a cult look for generations to come.
For the ideal rockabilly style of the 50s, opt for a high-waisted pencil skirt and button-up buckles, and finish the look with red lipstick and dark eyes.
Another great option for a modern rockabilly style from the 1950s is to pair a pair of tight cigarette pants with a chest pocket tucked into a T-shirt.
Greaser Style 50s
The casual styles of women’s fashion of the 1950s took different forms, but rockabilly and pin-up influencers were most evident throughout the decade.
Drawing inspiration from the looks of Marlon Brand and James Dean, the male-dominated Greaser subculture has been concerned with creating the “right attitude”.
Greaser style was a mixture of the two above trends, with a touch of motorcycle riding aroma added to the entire ensemble, with the aim of recreating the movie star’s look.
For the perfect 50s fashion style, just like the Greasers girls, take denim or, better yet, a leather motorcycle jacket and pair it with a pair of dark washed denim.
Make sure you roll your leg at least to the ankle, in true Greaser style.
For a more continental style, complete the look with a chiffon scarf and a pair of casual shoes.
Another popular fashion look from the 50’s includes narrow, shortened capris and pushed pedals, stylized with slanted T-shirts, almost like a uniform.
The Poodle Skirt
The poodle skirt was one of the most entertaining fashion trends for women in the 1950s, spurred on by fashion models of the time in fashion magazines and TV shows.
However, the trend was started by teenage girls who wear felt skirts in the shape of a circle with the application of a pink poodle on a silver leash.
Young women have styled these cute day dresses and skirts in many creative ways, including combinations with minimalist blouses, knit tops, sweaters, chiffon and silk scarves, and even gloves.
The look was so popular that the poodle skirt became known as the “first teen fashion trend” in youth communities that love to dance.
Although these embroidery styles are hard to find today, fans of modern fashion interested in 1950s fashion can customize plain felt skirts by adding embroidery available on Amazon.
The 1950s fashion decade could be summed up in a Marilyn Monroe subway moment in a “silly little dress” or a belt that increases curves at the waist worn by Audrey Hepburn.
Rightly called the “Golden Age of High Fashion”, the fiftieth decade was the genesis of the most famous fashion designers and their modern Maisons.
Even now, in 2022, these top fashion houses and designer brands continue to draw inspiration from the casual women’s fashion styles of the 1950s to create gorgeous lines.
With a natural waist and hourglass figure at the heart of the 50s fashion sphere, the 50s were a decade of taut waists, thin and mini skirts, rounded shoulders and exaggerated hips still visible in Coco Chanel’s exclusive creations.
Now it’s your turn…
Which of these 50s fashion styles do you like the most and why?
What 1950s fashion trends do you think we missed and which ones should we include in our next updated article?
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