Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

1950’s Silhouettes (& Wearing 1980’s as 1950’s)

The 1950’s fashion era is perennially popular because of it’s womanly appeal.

There are two main iconic silhouettes in 50s fashion – the cinched waist with full skirt that emphasizes the waist and the slim fitting pencil skirt that emphasizes the butt.

Here’s the rundown:

Full skirts:
Wide circular or pleated skirts for both day and evening. These were worn  to mid calf, maybe longer for night. Crinolines- starched net half slips- were sometimes worn for extra pouf.

fifties fit and flare dresses

A bevy of fifties fit-and-flare-dresses

Pencil Skirts:
A narrow, close fitting straight skirt created the “wiggle look”. They fall from a natural waist, are fitted to the body and have a small back split at the hem. Pencil line dresses were  either worn with heels and plenty of accessories or with flats for a more casual look. Again the skirt is calf length.

fifties pencil skirts

Fifties sheath dresses

Eighties fashion sometimes echoed the fifties, so it’s very possible to find 80’s garments that look as though they could have been from the  50’s.

1980s garments are often sturdier (having existed for far fewer years) than some mid-century vintage pieces, frequently cost less, and are commonly made of materials that are a snap to launder. The prints might be a bit  wilder and brighter than true fifties.

And there is the size factor. Women in the 80’s had measurements more in tune with today’s figures, making them easier to fit.

80's as 50's fit and flare

80’s as 50’s fit-and-flare dresses

80's as 50's sheath dresses

80’s as 50’s sheath dresses

If you really want your 80’s as 50’s frocks to read as mid-century:

 Get some high waisted undies!
 During the 50s, undergarments were worn at the waist-the natural area just above the belly button. If you  wear a pencil skirt with modern underwear you will get serious VPL, so get the right knickers.

When it comes to accessories, more is more!
You want full-on fifties? Then go for gloves, hat and handbag. Hats were small lampshade style, wide brimmed or pill box shaped and were often accompanied by a veil. Gloves were long in the evening and short in the day. Or go for scarves, to tie in the hair, around the neck or into a ponytail.

Wear Bold Red Lipstick!
 Red lips really are iconic 50s . Think of all the song lyrics that reference lipstick traces- on a glass or a wandering husband’s collar.

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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