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Women's fashion of the late 1950s and early 1960s

Updated April 17, 2017

Women's fashions have changed dramatically since the late 1950s and early 1960s. During that time, it was not uncommon for a woman to own a mink coat or accessory such as a stole or detachable collar, and the idea of "dressing up" was a daily practice. Women regularly wore gloves and high-heel pumps, usually with skirts and dresses, and did not typically wear trousers unless lounging around in the home or partaking in outdoor activities such as camping or gardening.

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Handbags and Accessories

Silk scarves were popular during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and were often worn around the head to protect hairdos or tied on the handle of a purse for decoration. Delicate gloves made of leather, silk or satin were also popular. Trendy handbags included envelope bags, clutches, totes and clasp-enclosure bags in calfskin or embossed crocodile leather. Women carried handkerchiefs during the period, typically made of silk or cotton. Detachable collars, usually made of fur such as fox or mink, were also frequently worn during the late 1950s.


Round-toed or pointy-toed flats in varying patterns and colours were fashionable for women during the late '50s and early '60s. Kitten-heel and mid-heel-height pointy-toed pumps were also very popular for women to wear with daytime and evening ensembles. Heel heights generally ranged between 2 to 3 inches, and pumps were typically made out of leather, man-made leather or fabric. Slippers would be worn in the home, and generally consisted of soft-soles and fur lining.


Women wore cardigans, sometimes with embroidered embellishments around the collar and chest areas, paired with pencil skirts, dresses or cropped trousers. Other popular knits included tight-fitting sweaters with wide, collared boat necks. Skirts ranged in style from full a-line fashions to bubble styles and pencil skirts of varying lengths. Pea coats, fitted trench coats and swing coats were worn in cooler temperatures, and could be paired with detachable fur collars. Mink or fox fur stoles were also worn to accompany dresses for evening events or dinners.


Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, women's lingerie remained largely the same. Beneath clothing, women often wore full-coverage bras, panty girdles and thigh-high stockings that could be clipped to the girdle's straps. Depending on the outfit, women also wore slips in neutral colours such as white, black or tan. Most undergarments were usually made of a nylon blend. For pyjamas, women wore various styles of chemises and full-length nightgowns. Younger women generally wore pajama sets with capri bottoms.

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About the Author

Crystal Vogt has been an editor and freelance writer since 2005 and has had her work mentioned on MediaBistro, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money, among other outlets. She received her M.S. in journalism from Boston University and holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara.

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