Last-Minute 50's Costume Ideas

Written by kimberli nalven
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Last-Minute 50's Costume Ideas
The '50s era featured soda shops, Elvis and poodle skirts. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Creating a last-minute '50s costume for a man or woman can be as simple as using jeans, T-shirts and sweaters with some well-placed accessories. In the 1950s, the styles were clean and uncomplicated with figure-flattering silhouettes for both men and women. Leather and pencil skirts were popular. Shoes were simple and monochromatic. The final touch for a great last-minute '50s costume would include a simple but sleek hair style.

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White Shirt And Jeans

Whether you're a man or a woman, a simple pair of jeans can be a quick base for your '50s costume. For a man, just add a white T-shirt, a cool leather jacket and a pair of motorcycle boots for a great "greaser" look. Add a slicked back hairdo as the finishing touch. For a woman, take those simple jeans, roll up the bottoms for a slight cuff and add some bobby socks with penny loafers. A great complimenting top would be a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a small gauzy scarf tied sideways at the neck. A bouncy ponytail would complete this look.

Last-Minute 50's Costume Ideas
"Greasers" could substitute a black T-shirt for the white. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Preppy cardigans

The antithesis of the greaser look was the clean-cut, preppy look that hinged on the use of a great cardigan. A male can wear flat-front chino trousers with a plain button-down shirt and a v-necked cardigan. Accessorise with a pair of penny loafers and sleekly combed-over hair that has a touch of gel for a shiny finish. A female might borrow her boyfriend's cardigan to wear over her white button-down and push up the sleeves. Add a pencil skirt or cuff jeans on the bottom and complete with a pair of saddle shoes or ballet slippers.

Last-Minute 50's Costume Ideas
Cardigan sets for women were a popular option in the '50s. (Nick Clements/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Pencil skirts

For the stylish, ladylike '50s look, start with a plain, tight pencil skirt that comes to the knee or just below. Choose a plain, while blouse but top it with a crew-neck, button-up cardigan and a skinny belt on top of the cardigan. Finish the look with a pair of peep-toe, slingback pumps. A great, sophisticated hairdo would be the classic shoulder-length bobby with the ends flipped up and straight-across fringe.

Last-Minute 50's Costume Ideas
The 50s pencil skirt was a longer, more modest version of today's shorter one. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Poodle skirts

Poodle skirts were hugely popular in the '50s and are not that difficult to emulate with today's fashions for a costume. Choose a very full A-line skirt, preferably with a flat waistband instead of elastic. Opt for a solid fabric skirt if possible and add a crinoline (available at many dress and bridal shops) under the skirt so it will stand out more. A simple, crew-necked cardigan set worn with either ballet slippers or penny loafers will complete the look. For a great complimentary hairstyle, style a shoulder-length bob with a flip at the bottom and add a soft headband.

Last-Minute 50's Costume Ideas
The '50s headband was a soft, cloth band that went with a flipped-bob hairstyle. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

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