Prom Costumes From the 1950s

Written by michael epstein
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Prom Costumes From the 1950s
Prom, short for promenade, is a formal dance for high school students. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Whether you and your date are going to a Halloween party or attending a high school prom, looking like a million bucks is essential. Most prom costumes you'll find will look like what they are --- costumes. If you want a more authentic look, you should buy and wear vintage and retro clothing. Fortunately, prom wear and costumes from the 1950s are available as gag costumes and vintage dress wear, and thanks to the Internet, they are all available at the click of a button.

Men's Prom Costumes

A pastel-coloured jacket tuxedo with extensive ruffles on the chest and a straight-legged pant re-creates a 1950s prom costume. Just don't forget the bow tie and greased-back hair. (A tuxedo costume is featured in "Costume Supercenter" in Resources.)

Men's Vintage Prom Tuxedos

Purchasing an actual retro tuxedo in great condition will make you look authentic, and less costume-like, at any social event. Most men preferred conventional tuxedos in the 1950s. They usually went to a tailor to be measured, and the suits were conventional looking and came in either pastel colours or sober colours such as grey and black. Jackets were always double breasted and featured a wide tie and fitted shirt. (To see an example of retro tuxedo, check out "Vintage Tux" in Resources.)

Women's Prom Costumes

A polyester halter-top dress with polka dots and matching accessories will make anyone the talk of the "sock hop" in this 1950s prom dress. The costume should also have a built-in petticoat to give this classic look a little flare. (Check out the prom costume "Halloween Costumes" in Resources.)

Women's Vintage Prom Dresses, Accessories

If you are looking for a more realistic dress without the "costumey" look, contact local antique shops or browse the Internet for sites that offer vintage clothing. Hoop skirts, poodle skirts, cocktail jackets with wide shoulders, high-heel shoes with rhinestones, elbow-length satin gloves, feather boas, bullet bras and girdles, and mink shawls are just a few of the popular dressy trends that the 1950s had to offer young women. (Take a look at vintage dress and accessories "Costume Vintageous" in Resources.)

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