During the 1950s, women wore dresses like we wear t-shirts and jeans today. A 1950s dress was a closet staple and came in a wide variety of colors and two primary silhouettes. Shoulders were narrow and soft. The waist had to be tiny and pulled in — a “wasp” waist. A tight bodice came to the natural waist or slightly higher, where the skirt took over.
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The skirt is where the two silhouettes of the 1950s emerged. The full swing skirt and the tight pencil skirt. They were complete opposites but both were worn equally by women in the 1950s.
1950s dress fabrics were endless and made a dress more casual or elegant depending on where it was worn. Cotton was used for leisure wear. Wool and linen were popular for day, as were the new synthetics rayon and polyester. Tweed, like wool and acetate blends, was in vogue for fall in the mid-1950s. Silk shantung could be used to make a dress a little bit more dressy for dinners out.
Colors went from light and girly to bold. Pastels were very popular in all clothing, and dresses were also done in jewel tones like royal purple, ruby red, navy, and emerald green.
These charming photos captured portraits of beautiful ladies wearing dresses in the 1950s.