There are people that adore and admire fashion and the livestyle from the 50’s. They organize parties and gatherings, mainly younger people with no remembrance of that period, yet so intensely inspired. I haven’t been able to figure out what the real attraction is. Never the less, a fifties shoot session is a very welcome refreshment.
The three C’s
50’s fashion is defined by three c’s – code, conformity and consumerism. After all it was the time after WO-II, the new area with regained personal freedom, technology innovations and a new role for the woman. (I am not sure if all the female 50’s fan’s would have like that period.)
Women dressed for ‘wifely’ roles!
Now that wife’s and women returned from the war factories, a new period of female entity arrived with the emphasis on raising children and keeping up appearance besides the glorification of the wife in the housekeeping role.
Family live became the core of most activities, where the house took a central role. Today we would call it cocooning. No wonder that clothing changed as a result. Emphasis was on practical but attractive housedresses, not merely for household chores but suitable for quick shopping or the school run. Women dressed for ‘wifely’ roles!
Wife’s were to entertain or attend social gatherings – all to promote and further their spouse’s career. Men loved to show their wife’s in fancy Cocktail dresses. Short versions of ball gowns were essential. A woman was expected to wear a hat outside of the house and gloves at all times, and that was not it they had to be short for the day, long for evening.
Men tended almost to universally wear suits. The practice of dressing young people like their elders was still common, with the ‘mother/daughter’ look.
The second half of the 1950’s still emphasized women dressing for ‘their man.’ Structural garments such as stiletto heels, were designed to highlight the natural appeal of a woman’s figure, instead it virtually caricaturized it.
Meanwhile the economy blossomed improving the average standard of living. Travel became affordable, encouraging worldwide ethnic influences on fashion. No surprise that Hawaiian textiles were popular for summer wear and Oriental brocades for formal wear.
The change was not limited to fashion, it also influenced consumer goods such as cars. Strong design elements echoed across the board, an example being the aggressive fin-tailed, streamlined car designs that echoed women’s bullet bras.
Later in the 50’s two new looks arrived on the scene. flawlessly cut clothing with loose, stand away backs with fitted fronts and shorter sleeves offering comfort and freedom, its look eventually evolved into the mid-60’s babydoll style.
Thanks for reading.