15 Outfits To Take You Back To The 50s Style

By Ava

Diving into the world of fashion, the 1950s offers a treasure trove of timeless elegance and style that continues to influence today’s trends. This era brought us a mix of conservative and glitzy ensembles, exemplifying both the girl-next-door charm and seductive femininity. Thanks to an economic boom following the Great Depression and World War II, women had the opportunity to indulge in an array of attire, from casual wear such as shorts and pants to more sophisticated, flowing skirts, all emphasizing the hourglass figure.

Fashion in the 1950s was graced by stars like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor, who left lasting impacts on style and paved the way for the trends that emerged throughout the decade. From structured collars to iconic leather jackets, these memorable looks helped shape the fashion world and continue to inspire modern interpretations of the elegant and classy 1950s fashion. Join us as we explore 15 iconic outfits that revolutionized the fashion landscape.

Polka Dot Dress

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In the 1950s, polka dot dresses were a popular and iconic fashion choice. These dresses often featured bold, playful polka dot patterns and came in a variety of colors. The design could be found on numerous clothing items, such as t-shirts. Vintage-inspired polka dot dresses remain a timeless fashion option today, as they evoke a sense of nostalgia for the 50s era. We will briefly explore some of the key features of the polka dot dress during the 1950s:

  • Fabric: The majority of polka dot dresses in the 50s were made from lightweight materials, such as cotton or silk. These fabrics provided comfort during warm summer months and allowed for easy movement.
  • Silhouette: 1950s dresses were characterized by a feminine and flattering silhouette. The polka dot dress typically featured a fitted waist and a full, flared skirt. This design accentuated the wearer’s natural curves and contributed to the classic 50s look.
  • Length: Most polka dot dresses during this era fell just below the knee or at mid-calf length. This modest length was not only fashionable but also practical for everyday wear.
  • Accessories: To complete the 50s outfit, polka dot dresses were often paired with accessories such as simple pearl necklaces, gloves, and a coordinating hat or hairpiece. This ensemble truly captured the essence of 1950s fashion.

Overall, the polka dot dress is a quintessential symbol of 50s fashion and remains an enduring choice for vintage-inspired style today. From casual t-shirts to elegant dresses, the versatile polka dot pattern encapsulates the fun and feminine spirit of this iconic decade.

New Look Dress

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In our exploration of 50s outfits, we can’t ignore the impact of the “New Look” dress. This style was introduced by French designer Christian Dior in 1947 and quickly became popular worldwide. The New Look dress is characterized by a cinched waist, full skirt, and rounded shoulders, emphasizing femininity and elegance.

There are several variations of the New Look dress, such as:

  • Wiggle Dress: A more form-fitting version of the New Look dress, designed to accentuate a woman’s curves. It has a tight, narrow skirt that tapers down to the hem, giving the wearer a distinctive “wiggle” when they walk.
  • Shirtwaist Dress: Another popular variation is the shirtwaist dress, which incorporates elements from a traditional button-down shirt. This type of dress features a collared neckline, a fitted waist, and a full skirt, often with pockets. The versatility of the shirtwaist dress made it a favorite among women in the 1950s.

By exploring these different styles of dresses from the New Look era, we can appreciate the fashion trends that defined the 1950s. The influence of these designs is still felt today, as modern designers continue to reinterpret these classic styles.

Dress Coats

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In the 1950s, dress coats were an essential part of our outfits for both men and women. With a variety of styles and materials, these coats added elegance and charm to our overall look. We often paired dress coats with matching gloves to enhance our classy appearance. Let’s explore some popular dress coat styles of the era.

  • Swing coats: These stylish dress coats featured a flared silhouette to allow for freedom of movement, making them perfect for dancing at parties. We wore these with voluminous poodle skirts, as they complemented the fullness of the skirts nicely.
  • Leather jackets: Leather jackets, especially the iconic biker style, were incredibly popular during the 1950s, particularly among the youth. We loved the rebellious and trendy look these jackets offered, and we often paired them with jeans and a plain white T-shirt for a laid-back, effortlessly cool ensemble.
  • Bolero jackets: Bolero jackets were another popular dress coat option for women in the 1950s. These short, cropped jackets added style and sophistication to our outfits, and we often wore them over sleeveless dresses to keep warm in the evenings.
  • Trench coats: Trench coats were a popular staple for both men and women during this time period. Offering a classic, timeless appeal, we appreciated the versatility and practicality of these coats, as they were suitable for various occasions and suited many types of weather conditions.

To complete the 1950s look, we accessorized our dress coats with gloves that matched the color and material of our outfit. Leather gloves were especially popular when wearing a leather jacket, while fabric gloves complemented swing coats and bolero jackets. All in all, dress coats played a significant role in defining our stylish ensembles during this iconic era.

Knit Sweater

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In the 1950s, knit sweaters were an essential item in everyone’s wardrobe. Many variations were available, ranging from classic cardigans to more modern cropped sweaters. We have gathered some key points about 50s knit sweaters:

Types of Knit Sweaters:

  • Cardigans: A versatile and timeless option, often worn over dresses or blouses
  • Sweaters and Cardigans: Both crewneck and V-neck styles were popular in the 50s
  • Cropped Sweaters: A modern take on the classic sweater, cropped styles were worn with high-waisted skirts or pants

Characteristics of 50s Knit Sweaters:

  • Vintage patterns: Luxurious cable knits, intricate lace, and bold colorwork were popular in the 50s
  • Quality materials: Natural fibers like wool, cashmere, and cotton, were commonly used for knit sweaters
  • Customization: Many knits were handmade, allowing for individual designs and unique touches

When selecting a knit sweater for a 50s outfit, think about incorporating these iconic features to evoke the stylish and cozy spirit of the era.

Circle Skirt

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In the 1950s, circle skirts became a popular addition to women’s wardrobes. These full skirts, often paired with fitted waists, created a flattering silhouette that accentuated the waistline. Among the different types of circle skirts, the poodle skirt was a standout option. These skirts featured fun appliqués, like poodles or other designs, and were often made with felt fabric.

As we explore 50s outfits, we cannot overlook the significance of swing dresses and swing skirts as well. These garments were essential parts of summer wardrobes and offered a breezy look for warm weather. Swing dresses, characterized by their full skirts, fitted waists, and flared hems, were a favorite for social events and dancing.

Here’s a quick overview of some key features of circle skirts and related garments in this era:

  • Skirt styles: Circle skirt, poodle skirt, swing skirt
  • Popular fabrics: Cotton, felt, and lightweight materials for summer
  • Colors and patterns: Bold colors, polka dots, and novelty prints
  • Accessories: Cinched belts, petticoats for added volume, and simple flats or heels

Incorporating these elements, you can easily channel the 50s style by incorporating circle skirts or swing dresses into your summer outfits. The classic, feminine silhouette of these garments will undoubtedly make a statement and showcase a nostalgic appreciation for this timeless fashion era.


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In the 1950s, beachwear had a distinct style that remains iconic today. When it comes to women’s swimwear, bikinis were starting to gain popularity, but more conservative one-piece swimsuits were still widely worn. Classic styles included the halter top, which provided support and a flattering silhouette. Floral prints and vibrant patterns dominated the scene, enhancing the feminine charm of these swimsuits.

For beach footwear, flats were the go-to choice for comfort and practicality. With simple designs, they were versatile and complemented a variety of beachwear ensembles.

Men’s beachwear in the 1950s was characterized by swim shorts in bold colors or prints. The waistlines were high, and the legs were mid-length, providing a modest and practical style for activities such as beach sports, tanning, or simply enjoying the sun.

We can easily recreate the classic 50s beachwear look today by incorporating these vintage styles into our modern wardrobe. Whether you opt for a halter top bikini, a one-piece swimsuit with a floral print, or classy swim shorts, you’ll be sure to capture the essence of the decade’s beach attire.

A-Line Midi Skirt

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In our exploration of 50s outfits, we can’t overlook the classic A-line midi skirt. We often see this beautiful skirt as a staple piece, especially with patterns like plaid and gingham. Made from lightweight yet sturdy fabrics like cotton, the A-line midi skirt exudes femininity and grace.

To achieve the perfect 50s look, pair an A-line midi skirt with a simple belt to accentuate the waist. Sandals or espadrilles are an excellent footwear choice, as they complement the airy, flowing nature of the skirt.

Noteworthy characteristics of the A-line midi skirt include:

  • Gingham and plaid patterns: These checks were popular choices in the 1950s, creating a nostalgic yet timeless appeal.
  • Cotton fabric: Cotton proves to be a comfortable and breathable fabric while holding its structure – perfect for the A-line midi skirt.
  • Belt: A slim belt adds an extra touch of style and makes the waistline more prominent.
  • Affordable and diverse: With many affordable options available today, everyone can add an A-line midi skirt to their wardrobe to create stylish, 50s-inspired outfits.

In conclusion, incorporating an A-line midi skirt into your wardrobe will help you capture the essence of 50s fashion, combining style, comfort, and versatility.

High-waisted Denim Shorts

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In our exploration of 50s outfits, one timeless piece that has remained fashionable and adored are high-waisted denim shorts. These shorts are often associated with a comfortable and casual summer look. They can be found in various styles such as rolled cuffs, distressed details, and different shades of denim.

To capture the spirit of the 1950s, we recommend pairing high-waisted denim shorts with the following:

  • Ballet flats: A chic and feminine footwear option that complements the high-waisted style, making it perfect for casual outings or dressier occasions.
  • Button-up shirts: Tuck a classic button-up shirt into your high-waisted shorts for an effortless retro vibe. You can opt for short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts and experiment with different colors and patterns.
  • Belt: To accentuate your waist, consider adding a belt. This accessory not only enhances the silhouette but also adds interest to your outfit.
  • Lightweight cardigan: In case of cooler temperatures or to add some modesty, drape a lightweight cardigan over your shoulders. This subtle layer adds personality to your ensemble without compromising the overall aesthetics.

Remember, the key to embracing the 50s fashion is to have fun mixing and matching these elements to create a unique outfit that reflects your personal style. High-waisted denim shorts provide a versatile and classic base, allowing you to experiment with various combinations and accessories to achieve a stunning 1950s-inspired look.

Cropped Trousers

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When it comes to 50s outfits, cropped trousers were a popular choice. Known by different names like capri pants or pedal pushers, they added a fresh, stylish touch to the everyday wardrobe. We often saw women pairing these versatile pants with various tops and accessories for a chic look.

Cropped trousers were commonly made from fabrics like cotton, denim, and even wool. Some popular styles included:

  • Denim jeans: Fitted and high-waisted, these were the go-to choice for a casual day out.
  • Capri pants: Found in solid colors or fun patterns, these were slightly shorter and ideal for a playful, summer look.
  • Cigarette pants: Slim-fitting and tailored, these added a touch of sophistication to any ensemble.

Wearing cropped trousers with the right footwear was also key. Here are a few perfect shoe pairings:

  • Sneakers: For a casual, comfortable look, classic white sneakers were a staple.
  • Ballet flats: Dainty and feminine, these added the perfect touch to any outfit.
  • Low-heeled pumps: Offering a bit of height while still comfortable, these were ideal for dressing up cropped trousers.

So, when you think of 50s outfits, don’t forget to include cropped trousers because they were a true fashion statement that instilled confidence, style, and timeless appeal.

Sack Dress

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In the 1950s, one popular outfit that made waves in fashion was the sack dress. This dress style was iconic for its loose-fitting silhouette, which was in contrast to the commonly worn form-fitting dresses of that era. It was a combination of a hostess dress and an apron, providing both comfort and coverage. This made it a popular choice, especially among teenagers who appreciated the freedom of movement it allowed.

To pair with the sack dress, bobby socks were often worn by teenage girls, adding a touch of playful charm to their outfits. These days, the sack dress symbolizes the youthfulness and glamour of 1950s teenage culture. One of the most influential figures in popularizing this outfit was none other than the legendary Lucille Ball, whose charismatic on-screen presence inspired many young girls to embrace their inner glamour.

To summarize, during the 1950s, the sack dress was a fashionable outfit choice that:

  • Had a loose-fitting silhouette
  • Combined the features of a hostess dress and an apron
  • Was popular among teenagers, especially in combination with bobby socks
  • Became iconic thanks to Lucille Ball’s influence

Pencil Skirt

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As we explore 50s outfits, pencil skirts stand out as a staple fashion piece for women during that era. These skirts were characterized by their narrow, close-fitting cut, which accentuated the natural curves of a woman’s body. Pencil skirts typically fell to just below the knee, providing an elegant and sophisticated appearance.

In the 1950s, women often paired pencil skirts with tailored blouses, sweaters, and high heels for a polished and feminine look. Prominent, stylish women like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe popularized the trend, making it a must-have item in every fashionable woman’s wardrobe.

Some iconic 50s pencil skirt styles included:

  • High-waisted: A higher waistline to emphasize the hourglass figure.
  • Patterns: Polka dots, florals, and stripes were popular pattern choices for these skirts.
  • Accessorized: Many women chose to wear narrow belts at the waist to enhance and showcase their silhouette.

The versatility of pencil skirts made them suitable for a range of occasions, from office wear to evening social events. Today, these skirts continue to be a classic and timeless fashion statement, reflecting the sophistication, grace, and style of the 1950s.

Chanel Suit

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In our examination of iconic 50s outfits, we cannot overlook the elegance and timeless style of the Chanel Suit. Popularized by fashion mogul Coco Chanel, this outfit became a staple for sophisticated women, including Elizabeth Taylor, during that era.

The Chanel Suit typically consists of a boxy jacket with cinched waists, paired with a matching knee-length skirt. This tailored ensemble showcases the perfect balance between femininity and structure, embodying the progressive fashion statement of the 1950s.

To complete the Chanel Suit look blouses with delicate details, such as a bow blouse, were often worn underneath the jacket. These blouses added a touch of refinement and grace to the overall appearance, ensuring that women exuded confidence and poise.

In summary, the Chanel Suit remains an enduring symbol of 50s fashion, offering a refined and polished look that continues to inspire modern fashion designers.

Prom Party Dress

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In the 1950s outfits, prom party dresses were an essential part of the era’s fashion. These dresses featured distinct styles that were not only flattering but also comfortable and elegant. To achieve a classic ’50s prom party look, our recommendations include the following:

  • Cocktail Dresses: A must-have for any ’50s-inspired prom party. Choose a dress with a full skirt that falls just below the knee, in fabrics like satin or taffeta. Look for designs that have fitted bodices, sweetheart or boat necklines, and elegant details such as lace or ribbons.
  • Pearls: Timeless and sophisticated, pearls were a popular choice for jewelry in the ’50s. Be sure to wear a simple string of pearls as a necklace, or consider adding pearl earrings or a pearl bracelet to complete the ensemble.
  • Heels and Saddle Shoes: For footwear, opt for either classic kitten heels or a pair of saddle shoes. Kitten heels provide a polished, feminine touch, while saddle shoes offer a more whimsical and playful vibe to the outfit.
  • Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly: To truly channel the spirit of the ’50s prom party, take inspiration from iconic actresses Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Their timeless style and grace will enhance your outfit, making you the belle of the ball.

Remember to finish off your prom party dress look with a coordinating clutch and elegant hairstyle to truly capture the essence of 1950s couture.

Pin-up Look

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During the 1950s, the pin-up style emerged as a popular fashion statement. This look was often characterized by tight-fitting clothes, hourglass silhouettes, and an emphasis on feminine curves. Soft, wavy hairstyles reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe were also prevalent as she was one of the most iconic figures of this era.

Some key elements of the pin-up style include:

  • Prints: Polka dots, animal prints, floral patterns, and gingham were all popular choices for creating an eye-catching outfit.
  • Dresses: Pin-up dresses typically featured plunging necklines, halter straps, and cinched waists to accentuate an hourglass figure.
  • High-waisted skirts and shorts: To further emphasize the waist, high-waisted skirts and shorts were a staple of the pin-up look.
  • Fitted tops: Tailored, button-down blouses and form-fitting sweaters were often paired with high-waisted bottoms to complete the outfit.
  • Accessories: Bold, statement-making accessories like oversized sunglasses, headscarves, and pearl or choker necklaces added the finishing touches to a pin-up ensemble.

To recreate an authentic pin-up look, focus on incorporating these elements into your outfit, while paying tribute to fashion icons like Marilyn Monroe. By doing so, you’ll successfully capture the essence of the glamorous 1950s’ pin-up style.

Rockabilly Street Style

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In our exploration of 50s outfits, the Rockabilly street style stands out for its unique blend of elements from music and fashion. Rockabilly fashion draws inspiration from the subculture formed around rock ‘n’ roll music and is heavily influenced by the greaser look.

  • Greaser fashion: Characterized by leather jackets, white t-shirts, and cuffed jeans. Hair was typically styled in a pompadour or a slicked-back look, representing a rebellious attitude.
  • Rockabilly fashion for women: Embraced a combination of retro femininity and edginess. Key elements included high-waisted pants, full-circle skirts, and polka dot patterns.
  • Accessories: Both genders often wore Converse sneakers, classic sunglasses, and bandanas to complete their outfits.
  • Influence on modern fashion: Rockabilly style continues to be a popular fashion inspiration, with many designers incorporating its timeless elements into contemporary clothing lines.

Incorporating Rockabilly street style into our 50s outfits showcase gives a nod to the bold, stylish statement that defined a generation.

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