1950s Clothing Styles – Wearing the Latest Fashion Dress from the Fifties

Watching Leave It To Beaver is still a national pastime. But what about the 1950s clothing styles the women wore?

Are women still slipping them on and going to the hop? In this section, you will learn how war, peace and the economy influenced 1950s fashion.

Regardless of our age – even if we are not involved in fashion modeling, most of us remember the distinctive 1950s clothing styles, predominately from popular TV shows, such as ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and ‘Lassie.

The primary signature of this decade of fashion was the wide, below the knee skirts and dresses, comprised of yards and yards of fabric not seen on the fashion scene since Victorian times.


So much fabric! Decorations of lace and other big trimmings to hems and sleeves were also usual additions. These garments were the height of fashion and lasted in popularity for a full decade.

Retro to 1950s Fashion Styles

The industry is always looking for something new and something blue as the saying goes but often going back in time, even to the forties or fifties starts a nostalgic trend in women’s fashion to beat the band. Get on board and ride the express of a past century in clothes.

Have you ever wondered how and why fashion designers come up with an ever changing selection of clothing designs that vary by the year and season with respect to color and detailing?

The basic designs provide women with a new take on their fashion look, while color and detailing serve to mark your wardrobe as chic and up to date or outdated and fashion-unconscious.

Women pay the closest attention to the whims and trends developed by fashion designers. Men do notice what their women wear, putting us more or less at the mercy of the fashion world.

Where to Get Dressed for the 1950s

Even today, the 1950s clothing styles are still to be found, fast selling items in the retro and vintage clothing shops and online auction sites such as eBay. So why did the 50s fashion designs survive so long?

The Bad Fashion Economy

During the Great Depression years, fashion designers could ill afford the voluminous quantities of fabric required for the big, flowing skirts and fancy detailing – beads, slim satin trims and slender lines were popular and affordable.

During World War II, rationing extended even into clothing.

Got Your Garter Belt?

There was a thriving black market for silk stockings. Following World War II, after more than two decades of these svelte. But economical fashions thrived because women were more than ready for a change and well known fashion designers were delighted to accommodate their wishes.

Wide skirts and puffy sleeves made a reappearance to an enthusiastic audience of consumers. The four or five yards of fabric required for the 1950s clothing styles became the mark of the well dressed woman, no longer confined to the minimalism of the designs of the 1930s and 1940s.

The Bodice – What?

Bodices were embellished with pleating, embroidery and laces, while skirts sported cute appliques – remember the ‘Poodle’ skirt? Coats and sweaters underwent the same makeover, with the so-called car coat and Perry Como sweaters all the rage.

However, the 1950s clothing style did finally fade into fashion history, giving way to the radical 60s fashions – knee-high boots, midi-length plus miniskirts and dresses, embroidered peasant blouses and fringed leather and suede coats.

After all, designers do need to have us update our wardrobes – otherwise, where would they be?

So, take a trip to the online store and check out some of the cool fashion outfits from the fifties era still available. You might even find something to wear this weekend in your photo shoot.

Have fun!

Filed under: Fashion