The natural female form is never better flattered than in the 1950’s with fashion truly accessible by all. Unlike in previous and future decades, where what Mother Nature had given you determined your ability to carry off certain designs, the 1950’s was largely forgiving no matter what you were blessed with.
Breasts, large and small were hoisted indiscriminately skywards which gave even the most rotund of ladies a waist. Belts were used to nip it in further and free flowing skirts masked a fuller hip, finishing just below the knee – accentuating the slimmest part of the leg apart from the ankle. Teamed with stilettos, ladies were sexier than ever.
There were a variety of fifties styles to flatter different body parts. Shoulders were revealed in gypsy tops and dresses and wiggle dresses were named specifically based on what your bottom did whilst wearing them!
Pencil skirts tended to finish in the middle of the calf and the shape generally favoured a more slender figure – these were worn with brightly coloured shirts that tied at the waist.
Once designers were able to shake off post war austerity, there was a restoration of pleats, frills, cuffs, turn-ups, pockets and buttons on clothes. British designer Majorie Field took inspiration from Christian Dior and Mary Quant opened her boutique bazaar in 1957.
Girls looking for an alternative to the iconic ‘pin-up’ style would opt for a softer version of the boys denim jeans and shirt – there was also a trend for the European look comprising Capri pants teamed with fine knit jumpers.
Teddy girls adopted a neo-Edwardian style to match that of the Teddy boys of the day and Rockers wore tight fitting, V-neck tops with ¾ length sleeves, jive skirts and neck scarves teamed with ankle socks and heels.
The more sophisticated of ladies would likely opt for two piece fitted suits although there was still a trend for heavily embellished, hand-made clothing – a skill regarded as essential for females of the time.
As the decade came to a close, the youth had long been rebelling against their parents and what they saw as a restrictive and prudish attitude to the way it was suggested they should live their lives. This teamed with a large young workforce and the strength of the juvenile pound paved the way for massive changes in fashion and by 1959 the psychedelic, sexually evocative designs we attribute to the sixties, had been unleashed.
Written by Hannah Wing from www.bellusfemina.co.uk