How to Choose ‘50’s Era Clothing

We live in an age of fashion that we can only describe as ‘thieving’. We don’t have our own style per se; we just borrow from those that came before. Unlike them, though, we can combine any fashion of the past with any other fashion and still look good. In a sense, then, we are unique and we’re pretty sure that when we look back in 20 years’ time, we’ll easily identify 2010’s fashions. One of the eras that we love to borrow from is the ‘50s. It’s kind of an ironic take, because that era was so demure, and ours is much more revealing. Below, we’re going to look at some 50s clothing. Once you understand what they wore then, you will understand how to wear the style today.


 The Dresses

There were two general types of dresses: full skirt dresses and pencil skirt dresses. Both of these shared similarities. For example, they both skim the calves. That’s your first tip: if you want to choose a 50s style dress, it has to finish at the calves. There full skirt dresses usually had quirky patterns, with the most popular pattern being checks. However, you can find all sorts of patterns that still suit the 50s style, such as flower patterns or patterns of animals, such as birds. Your choice depends on your mood and personal style.


The Skirts

Again, the two main types of skirt were pencil skirts and full skirts. Full skirts are shoe that flow out from the waist. In the 50s, they were often worn with petticoats, but very few people do that nowadays. However, if you do decide to wear a petticoat, it will certainly make you stand you from the crowd.



Block colours are the favourite choice when wearing a skirt. Block colours simply refer to each item being of a single colour. For example, wearing a black skirt and a yellow top, rather than wearing patterns (although, as above, patterns were also popular in the 50s). To stay true to the essence of 50s clothing, you should wear your skirts with a cardigan.


The Tops

There were a number of tops that were popular in the 50s; again, it was all about being demure.


  • Halter necks were particularly popular and while being demure, they still highlighted the feminine curves.
  • Gingham sleeveless blouses are probably the epitome of 50s fashion, next to the cardigan.
  • Cardigans: need we say more? Stick to thin cotton cardigans in block colours, and you can’t go wrong.

 The Shoes

There's really only one choice of shoe: pin-up vintage retro shoes. These are the types of shoes that you see in posters and photographs of Marilyn Monroe (- if you want inspiration for the best 50s clothing styles, then she should definitely be your first port-of-call). If you don’t like this style of shoe, or if you find them hard to wear, then you can always opt for a pair of platform heels.


The Accessories

There’s really only one choice of accessory: thick black spectacles. That will just bring the whole outfit together…oh, and don’t forget your pin up hair!


If you would like to browse a collection of 50s clothing, then please visit wkmleisurewear