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What were the most worn colors in the fifties?

Updated February 17, 2017

The 1950s were a time of pretty and wearable clothing styles but also of classic dramatic affects. Popular colours ranged widely from neutral and sherbet tones to dramatic bold colours and classic black and white. This diversity of style and abundance of colour makes the 1950s a fascinating period of fashion history.

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Casual Clothing

Casual clothing in the 1950s often featured neutral colours. This lent the decade's casual styles an air of classic simplicity. Neutral colours were often worn in solids rather than patterned prints. Though colours like navy, brown and grey could be found in both solid and print styles, floral prints were particularly popular. Floral prints tended towards the pretty rather than the garish and could be made in both bright and neutral colours.

Evening Wear

Evening wear could often feature bold colours like peacock blue and hot pink. Velvet also became fashionable in the 1950s and might be seen in deeper colours like violet or black. Like casual clothing, evening wear might feature a classic solid or pretty floral print. Evening wear also began to feature sheer fabrics which had colour schemes of their own.

Sheer Fabrics

Sheer dresses worn over a flesh coloured slip also became popular in the 1950s. These sheer dresses, though daring in sty, were often made in pale pretty colours like white and sherbet tones. For evening, sheer dresses could also be seen in a wide spectrum of grey colours. These greys could range from a dark charcoal to a light and wispy hue of mist.

Black and White

Black and white colour coordinated outfits were very popular in the early fifties. One particularly fashionable way to implement this colour scheme was to wear a black outfit with white accessories or a white outfit with black accessories. This method of accessorising emphasised the contrasts of the colours and created a bold yet neatly classic statement. Black and white could be seen in all seasons and during both evening and day.

Spanish Influence

Also in the early fifties, Spanish styles began to influence clothing style and colours. Rich colours like yellow and ruby red became popular and were worn in skirts, blouses and dresses for both day and evening. Like white clothing, these bright colours were often worn with black accessories or accents. This served to ground the colours while also accentuating them for a particularly dramatic and sophisticated affect.

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About the Author

Miranda Sinclair

Based in Portland, Ore., Miranda Sinclair has been writing professionally since 2009. She holds a B.A. in English and theater from the University of Oregon, as well as an M.A. in English and certificate in teaching college composition from San Francisco State University. Sinclair works as a tutor and teacher of writing.

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