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50s fashion – key looks of the decade

May 14, 2016

The late 50s saw a dramatic turn in fashion after post war rationing and utilitarian looks. This decade symbolised an ideal that women wanted to once again feel feminine, desirable and have beautiful clothing. 50s fashion highlighting a woman’s figure became prevalent and this iconic decade produced cuts and styles that are recreated time and time again in today’s fashion industry. Today, men and women love reliving the iconic style of 50s fashion and this decade is celebrated in many dedicated festivals throughout the country.

Take a look at the key looks the decade with 50s fashion inspiration for modern vintage styling.

50s fashion – Full circular skirts and dresses

Possibly one of the most recreated looks today and a pretty 50s fashion style, is the full circular skirt. Day looks included gingham and printed cottons that were light and delicate. Evening-wear took a glamorous vibe with frothy chiffon or rayon in vibrant colours oozing style and luxury. 50s American styles showcased a range of bold print design including cute poodles and cowboy detailing.   Dresses took on an accentuating top with full skirt often worn with a petty coat to emphasize fullness.

50s fashion – Pencil skirts

In comparison to the fullness of skirts in the 50s, another style shone through. A slim, figure hugging pencil skirt was a popular choice to highlight a woman’s curves. It usually restricted movement with only a small pleat or split at the back to aid walking. This look is another desired recreation of 50s fashion with pin up fans sporting this iconic look.

50s fashion – Ballet shoes

Shoe-wear took on a comfortable yet cute look with the ballet style shoe becoming popular in Europe and America. Worn with ankle socks and full skirts, they created a feminine and flirty look, so comfortable you could wear them all day.

50s fashion – The empire line

Made famous from the dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961. The original empire line cut was formed in the 50s which was cut to the knee, had narrow shoulders and a high boat neckline.

Accessorising with style

There were some iconic accessory items in the 50s that complimented an outfit and gave women a glamourous feel. Gloves were a popular choice with short, leather styles for daywear and longer stain gloves to add to an evening gown. Long gloves were a particular favourite when wearing strapless cocktail dresses.

Modern styling

This iconic decade is a favourite for recreating with a modern twist. The beautiful cuts and styles create an hourglass silhouette which is a desirable figure for many women. The pretty fabrics and funky prints give the option of adorable day wear or glamorous evening wear, perfect for many occasions.


50s fashion is so easy to update for your summer wardrobe. Skirts and dresses make great wedding outfits and summer party looks and there are plenty of choices to give your summer style a vintage makeover.