The 1950’s spawned a wide variety of original and distinctive styles, presented with a classic new age twist. For America, recently recovering from catastrophic tragedies related to the second World War, the 1950’s brought restored hope; a chance for a new way of life whose destiny would be decided by them alone. This metamorphosis of America was heavily represented by fashion.
Women especially dramatically altered the way they dressed and presented themselves; during the evolution of an increasingly liberated society, women began to favor casual, relaxed clothing over traditional dress rules and associated formality of previous decades. Some of the most admired new trends for women in the 1950’s included button-up sweaters with simple necklines, fitted blouses, and full knee-length skirts. However, the most prevalent fashion for women during this time was dresses. Most dresses were worn casually, and were accentuated with circle skirts, halter straps, or small collars. Evening wear dresses seemed soft yet daring, coming in many pastel hues and accompanied with bold ruffles, tulle trim, and dazzling velvet bows. The fitted evening wear of this period, which was usually sleeveless or strapless, was also emphasized with sheer silk.
Growing increasingly popular, the full skirts of the 1950’s needed some sort of support in order to maximize their look. To address this problem, Nylon petticoats were created exclusively to be worn in conjunction with full skirts to create fullness. Nylon was a favorable material because of its high quality and easy care wash. This fullness it created transformed the skirt who gave nothing more than a gentle swish, into a glamorous royal-like flutter. Another significant fashion of this period is the swing coat, developed in the last 1940’s by Jacques Fath. The silhouette of the swing coat was “designed perfectly to cover full skirts, and also ideal for the post war high pregnancy rate”. Another trend in the 1950’s was the “trapeze dress: a swinging dress almost triangular in shape and designed to be worn with low shoes and bouffant hairstyles.” The trapeze dress was later modified into a shorter baby doll tent style dress, which was popular in the next decade. Perhaps one of the most classic fashion garments from the 1950’s was Christian Dior’s H-line of 1954, which consisted of a slender tunic-style suit with a slim skirt. His other popular fashions during this period were his A and Y lines. Dior has long been a dominant force in the fashion world, especially in the 1950’s. His creative and usually voluminous garments gave women a more feminine touch. Another designer, Hubert Givenchy created a Parisian style dress in 1957 which he called the Sack. The Sack began the trend of straighter-waist dresses. Initially, it developed into the “fitted darted sheath dress and later into the loose straight short shift dress.”
Coco Chanel was another major fashion designer in the 1950’s. In contrast to popular full and flouncy skirts, Chanel began creating the boxy, now classic Chanel suit jackets and skirts in trimmed and textured tweed. The …