50s Fashion: A Look Back at the Golden Age of Style

50s Fashion

The 1950s was a decade of change and innovation in fashion. After the austerity of the war years, people were ready to embrace a new era of glamour and sophistication. The post-war boom brought with it a renewed sense of optimism, and this was reflected in the clothes people wore. The 50s was a time of experimentation, with designers pushing boundaries and creating new styles that would define the decade.

The Hourglass Silhouette

One of the defining features of 50s fashion was the hourglass silhouette. This was achieved through the use of nipped-in waists and full skirts, which created a feminine and curvaceous shape. The most iconic example of this style is the New Look, created by Christian Dior in 1947. This style featured a fitted bodice and a full skirt that flared out from the waist, creating a dramatic silhouette. The New Look was hugely popular and set the tone for 50s fashion.

The hourglass silhouette was not just limited to dresses, however. It was also seen in skirts, suits, and coats. Women’s suits were particularly popular in the 50s, with designers such as Chanel and Balenciaga creating tailored jackets with nipped-in waists and pencil skirts. Coats were also designed to accentuate the waist, with belted styles being particularly popular.

Bold Prints and Colors

The 50s was a time of bold prints and bright colors. Floral prints were particularly popular, with designers such as Oleg Cassini and Norman Norell creating dresses and skirts in vibrant floral patterns. Polka dots were also a popular choice, as were stripes and geometric prints.

Colors were also bold and bright, with shades such as pink, red, and turquoise being particularly popular. Pastel shades were also popular, especially in the spring and summer months. Women’s accessories were also designed to be eye-catching, with brightly colored handbags and shoes being a popular choice.

The Rise of Casual Wear

While the hourglass silhouette and bold prints and colors were defining features of 50s fashion, the decade also saw the rise of casual wear. This was in part due to the popularity of Hollywood films, which often featured stars such as James Dean and Marlon Brando in casual clothing.

Jeans became a popular choice for both men and women, with denim jackets and shirts also being worn. T-shirts were also a popular choice, with plain white tees being a staple of the casual wardrobe. Women’s casual wear also included capri pants and pedal pushers, which were worn with flat shoes or sandals.

The Influence of Hollywood

Hollywood had a huge influence on 50s fashion, with stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn setting the tone for the decade. Monroe’s iconic white dress from The Seven Year Itch became one of the most famous dresses in history, while Hepburn’s little black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s is still a style staple today.

Hollywood also influenced men’s fashion, with stars such as James Dean and Elvis Presley setting trends with their casual yet stylish clothing. Dean’s leather jacket from Rebel Without a Cause became an iconic piece of 50s fashion, while Presley’s pompadour hairstyle and flashy suits became synonymous with the era.


The 50s was a decade of change and innovation in fashion. The hourglass silhouette, bold prints and colors, casual wear, and the influence of Hollywood all contributed to the defining styles of the decade. While some of these styles may seem outdated today, they continue to inspire designers and fashion lovers alike. The 50s was truly a golden age of style, and its influence can still be seen in fashion today.

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