Fifties fashion & hair and makeup styles

Written by charlotte gordon
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Fifties fashion & hair and makeup styles
Hair and clothing styles were polished and very feminine. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Hair was short and curly and dresses were polished looking with either fitted or full skirts that fell below the knee. The style for women was very feminine -- floral prints were popular, gloves completed a look and red lips were in. This look dominated the '50s and early '60s, until the miniskirt and other bold new styles were introduced.

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Short and Curly Hair

Rollers were slept in overnight to get a cute and curly hairstyle -- personal hair blowers were not yet readily available. The only hair dryers then were found in salons, so hair was usually set into a style when it was wet. Aside from rollers, women set their hair in pin curls. They would take damp hair, carefully wrap it in a curl, then use a hair clip to hold the curl in place while it dried. This was usually done with shorter hair. Curly hair was in, and straight hair was out.

Fifties fashion & hair and makeup styles
Short and curly hair was in, long and straight hair was out. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Red Lips

Bold, red lips were essential in the '50s. Sheer, shiny lips were unheard of, along with the majority of bright and exotic shades there are today. In addition to red lipstick, a fine line of eyeliner in black or brown was usually worn on the top eyelid.

Fifties fashion & hair and makeup styles
Red lipstick was essential when it came to make-up in the '50s. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Full-Skirted Dresses

Full skirts were the ultra-feminine women's wear of the day. They naturally made waists look tiny, and they were usually made of cotton and had a light or floral print. Cabbage roses or autumn leaves were typical patterns, and gingham also became a popular fabric for full-skirted dresses and other styles. Often women wore petticoats underneath full skirts to keep them looking wide and give them form.

Fifties fashion & hair and makeup styles
Full skirts were usually made of cotton in a floral print. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)


Gloves completed an outfit and was the telltale sign of a true lady, especially if they were cream or white and kept clean. This essential '50s fashion accessory came in many colours, and the majority of styles were made of cotton. Not as many women owned leather gloves because they were more expensive.

Stiletto Heels

First appearing in 1952 during a Dior fashion show, these high heels were a common sight during the mid '50s. They went up to 5 inches in height and had metal tips at the end of the heel. These metal tips could cause damage to floors and were eventually replaced with rubber tips.

Fifties fashion & hair and makeup styles
Heels got mighty high in the mid '50s. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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