Fashion through the decades

Fashion is important. It represents the culture, ideals and mood of a society. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun. Travel through the last six decades to learn about what was chic then, and how you can wear it now.

1950s fashion


America was finally past the war in 1950 and women embraced total femininity again. Synthetic fabrics became more widely available and readily used for their durability and easy care. Perhaps the most famous silhouette of this time is the nipped waist and full skirt. Women wanted to show off their curves from the kitchen to the dance floor, and the girly style reigned supreme. Even as the end of the decade drew near and less fitted, casual styles began to pop up, full-fledged femininity reigned. The full skirt trend has seen a huge revival in recent years with flirty dresses and skirts appearing in all kinds of stores. Go full fifties housewife with a retro purse, heels and a fancy apron.

1Modcloth Barn House Ball Dress, $170

2Ellen Tracy dress, $128

3Marilyn Strawberry Shortcake apron, $25.95

4Lux de Ville Getaway Kiss Lock in White Sparkle, $72 

Ladylike add-ons

Gloves and small hats were common accessories until the end of the decade when bigger hairstyles like the beehive became increasingly popular. This year’s royal wedding showed a newfound surge in the hat trend as royals and high-class commoners alike donned fascinators. We have a feeling these will be popping up even more on this side of the pond very soon. If you want an authentic fifties hat, try vintage shops or thrift stores. Many hats are in great condition and prices range from inexpensive to downright outrageous.

5Modcloth Old Hollywood style fascinator, $19.99

The most fashionable jewelry of choice during this time? Why pearls of course. Still considered a classic even today, shorter white stands of pearls were considered the most proper and chic.

6Nordstrom glass pearls, $25

“Smaller than the smallest swimsuit”

Another huge fashion change during this time was the invention of the bikini. Even though its first appearance was actually in 1946, this swimsuit didn’t become really popular until the screen stars of the fifties began donning them. Even then, it was a style usually reserved for European women. Retro swimsuits are the coolest thing on the beach these days all over the world, and the high-waist style of the original is coming back strong.

7J. Crew New Glamour top and bottom, $46-50

Up next: 1960s inspired fashion >>


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