Things Women Wore in the 1950s

Written by tabitha harwell
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Things Women Wore in the 1950s
Women often wore heels around the house instead of flat shoes. (Topical Press Agency/Valueline/Getty Images)

Women rarely left the house looking less than perfect in the 1950s. The era exuded glamour and grace reflected in the style of dress women wore on a day-to-day basis. After the spartan years of World War II, women yearned for more glamorous wardrobes. In addition to her clothes, a woman's hair was typically coiffed and her make-up flawless.

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Dresses

The most common item a woman in the '50s wore was a dress. There were several varieties available to women, such as the full-skirted dress with a tight bodice, the boxy suit by Coco Chanel and A-line dresses designed by Dior. Dress fabrics would vary between the hard-to-clean, textured tweed and wool, to easy-to-clean and affordable nylon, polyester and Orlon. Near the end of the '50s, the trapeze dress became the most stylish dress to wear because of its triangular shape.

Separates

Women wore separates while lounging at home but rarely left the house to run errands while wearing these clothes. Tops came in a wide variety of styles that included the button-up style with rolled sleeves, sweaters with shawl collars, V-neck shirts with kimono sleeves and halter tops. Bottoms also offered a large variety of options that included jeans, Capri trousers, high-waisted shorts and ankle trousers.

Swimming Costumes

Swimming costumes were typically one-piece; the two-piece was available but few women wore the style. Swimsuits were fashioned around corsets and contained a zipper up the back to make the suit fitted and tight. Styles often featured ruching in the centre, boy short bottoms and strapless designs. In addition to swimsuits, women also wore bathing caps while swimming and wrapped a sarong or skirt around their waist when they were not swimming.

Accessories

White gloves were the fashionable accessory to have and women wore them on a daily basis because the gloves added style to any outfit. In addition to gloves, women wore seamless stockings that contained no stretch material, butterfly wing spectacles and hats. Like gloves, hats were a standard accessory and included styles such as the pillbox and beret with tassels or pom poms.

Shoes

During the early '50s women wore extremely high shoes with a peep-toe, round toe or low-cut front upper. Throughout the mid-50s the shoes remained high with stilettos that were metal-tipped. Women who wanted a lower heel wore the kitten heel, which was no more than 2 inches high, or a flat sole shoe.

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