Fashion in the 1950s — Vintage Style Guide

Posted by on Nov 22, 2011

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From Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn, the 1950s was an era of celebrity fashion icons. Marilyn conjures up images of a free-spirited bombshell, while Audrey was the epitome of grace and elegance. However, both women dressed with a charm and femininity that was characteristic of the fabulous fifties.

With the upcoming release of "My Week With Marilyn" (starring the plenty fashionable Michelle Williams) we thought we'd share some suggestions to help you create your own vintage 50s look.

50s vintage patterned dress
Day Dress

This day dress reflects Christian Dior's "New Look" of the era with its wide neckline, fitted waist, soft shoulders and full skirt. We're not sure if donning this dress today would be considered a new or old look, but it's definitely a good look!
Visit DearGolden for more 50s dresses.
50s shirtwaist dress
Shirtwaist Dress

The shirtwaist dress is designed off of a men's button-down. Try pairing this everyday dress with a pair of combat boots for a vintage meets modern/edgy housewife style.
Check out BoBoVintage for an eclectic selection of vintage pieces.
wiggle dress
Wiggle Dress

Wiggle dresses — often worn by Marilyn Monroe — are hugely in vogue right now. The slim fitting dress features narrow waists and even narrower hemlines, causing you to wiggle a bit when you walk. A little more glamorous than the actual Wiggles? We'd say so.
Browse bitterrootvintage for more dresses.
50s vintage black dress
Little Black Dress

Hepburn popularized the little black dress in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." This simple and streamlined look is a must have for every closet.
Get this little black dress at LolaVintage on Etsy.
50s lace blouse

Women often wore simple, fitted blouses and dress shirts. Rhinestones, lace and a cutout neckline make this blouse a standout. Matched with a bold red lip this look can make quite a statement. 
Check out voguevintage on Etsy for this lace blouse.
cateye glasses
Cateye Glasses

White gloves, furs stoles and cat-eye glasses were worn to complete a look. Four eyes never looked so chic!
Browse Sugarlily Vintage for these retro glasses and more accessories.
50s vintage blue hat

Keep an eye out for delicate headpieces such as pillbox hats and berets. A velvet headband can add a splash of color to your 50s outfit.
For more vintage accessories, check out thevintagemistress on Etsy.

Cover up with an elegant faux fur bolero to stay both warm and chic.
Check out Avalon Exchange for this bolero. 
50s handbag
Box Handbag

A notable bag from the 1950s was Grace Kelly's Hermes bag. For a more affordable option, you can find similar box shapes or make your own decorative paper Kelly bags with this Patricia Gray tutorial.
Visit AnnieBearVintage for more handbags.
50s vintage stilettos

The late fifties saw the rise of slender heels, from peep-toe stilettos to kitten heels. If you can rock stilettos without looking like a wobbly flamingo, we say go for it!
Visit thevintagemistress for these stilettos. 
striped flats

If you're already towering over the public, you can take a cue from Audrey Hepburn and wear simple flats instead.
Get these colorful flats at WaysideFlower.

Image credits (from top):, DearGolden, BoBoVintage, bitterrootvintage, LolaVintage, voguevintage, Sugarlily Vintage, thevintagemistress, Avalon Exchange, Annie Bear Vintage, thevintagemistress, Wayside Flower

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