No decade can hold a candle to the 1950's when it comes to women's fashion! When it came to fashion, the 1950's was all about class, sophistication, glamour, and sex appeal!
After World War II ended, fashion started to transition. New fabrics and techniques were invented, and people created new styles and silhouettes.
In Paris, Dior launched the "vertical line" in 1950, also known as the sheath dress. Its overall silhouette was long and narrow. Generally, it was made with three pieces: a bodice, skirt and jacket. The bodice was high V-shaped with shirring necklines with long straight sleeves, the skirt was narrow and slim, and the jacket was short and boxy.
The tiny waistline became a popular style in 1951. Many designers emphasized the waistline, especially Dior, who hired technicians with new skills to create higher waistlines for his collection.
The United States' new trends spread all around the world. The "American Look" especially appealed to teenagers.
Many designers were focusing on the sleeve. Sleeves were still wide but were becoming softer and smoother than previous styles. Popular styles of this year were tailored tweed dresses, ankle-length evening dresses, and small daytime hats with jewels and fur trimming. Popular colors were charcoal grey, green tones, blue tones, purple, and orchid pink.
1952 was all about changes of waistline, from the high waist to the no waist. Among designers, Dior and Balenciaga led fashion trends. Dior presented high-waisted garments with swimsuit-inspired tight shapes from neck to hips, which flared smoothly over the knees. Balenciaga went another direction, with slack-waist dresses and middle length skirts. Balenciaga made the silhouette almost not touch the body. The choices of personal fashion styles represented the freedom of women's lives after World War II ended.
1953 focused on shape and sheen. The waistline became looser. The half-fitted suit and sheath dress were introduced. Hair lengths and skirt lengths became shorter. The skirt lengths were up to 14 to 15 1/2 inches from the ground. The hair trend called "the Italian haircut" is a layered short haircut with curly hair, also known as "the puddle haircut". The common silhouette of women's wear had bulky shoulders with wide lapels around the chest.
Necklines were accessorized with jeweled scarves. Accessories were a big trend in 1953, becoming more showy, with some designers even embedding jewels in the heels of shoes. The most common accessory for women was the long cotton, wool, silk or fur shawl; it could work with different occasions and outfits.
The tiny waist and full skirt look lost their dominance in 1954. Rather than emphasizing the waist, women started making their breasts pointy and big with the help of the bullet bra. Designers created relaxed silhouettes, such as the H-line skirt from Dior. Its shape was straight from the shoulder to the hip. It was more than two inches bigger than Dior's previous silhouette. The look was elegant and the colors were soft and bright. Coats or jackets always came with dresses or other outfits. Among the variety of jacket designs, Ben Zuckerman created the "skyscraper jacket", which had a short bosom-length bolero. The pants were shorter and long sweaters were often worn over skirts. Brown became the most used basic color, with ivory and green being popular choices as well.
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel became a big name in 1957. She introduced the legendary two-piece suit which had a boxy fit, open button jacket with blouse inside, pockets decorations, cuffs made with pearls, and H-line skirt. Not only did the suit become the iconic style, but also pullovers fabricated with jerseys and tweeds and lace evening dresses became the most elegant look of women.
The biggest news in the fashion industry was the death of Christian Dior, and Saint Laurent replaced him.
Women started to come down from stiletto heels due to the disappearance of the waistline, and hemlines were made higher so that the legs could look longer without heels. The cloche hat with a loose pleated skirt was a popular common fashion in 1957.
1958 saw another change of shape. Due to some people not liking the new loose shape like Balenciaga's "sack dress", a new shape came out: the triangle shape called "trapeze". People's demand was widening, and one dominant shape was no longer wanted.
Coats were also made with the trapeze shape, which looked like a bell. Coats were presented with more designs of collars and details. Hats and shoes were important in 1958. Luxurious materials were often used, such as fox, lynx and mink.
The popular young generation's look was a bulky sweater with skinny skirts or pants. Beige was the most used basic color and popular colors were bright yellow, blue, magenta red, and fuchsia pink.
In 1959, many designers started to create a new silhouette by manipulating fabrics. The "sack dress" was still in existence but was on its way out by this time. Necklines became more three-dimensional by folding the fabrics and creating geometric shapes around the shoulders.
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