1950s clothing contributed so much to modern-day fashion and to the Ruchette look in particular! The boxy structure of 1940s women’s fashion came to an end in the 1950s as Christian Dior’s soft, rounded “New Look” gained popularity in America. With the men back from war, women focused on their suburban role as homemakers, and looked for clothing that was easy to wash and keep neat. Acrylic, spandex and polyester were introduced during the decade. Sportswear also came into vogue and people experimented with different looks; fads like the poodle skirt came and went fairly quickly, and Jack Kerouac (a novelist) established the beatnik look – a look finished with dark monochromatic colors to set themselves apart from mainstream culture. Teenagers also developed their own style for the first time, often dressing more casually than their parents. The baby boom during this era contributed to new, comfortable trends in maternity wear, and Lucille Ball made the first pregnancy debut on television! Defined waists, vibrant colors, and bold statements characterized the 1950s, which are all important elements of the Ruche style.
1950s clothing experimented with a variety of silhouettes and styles, so when it comes to 1950s dresses, the options were incredible! To begin, the “New Look,” as coined by Christian Dior, became a popular 1950s clothing aesthetic early in the decade (once American had access to Parisian fashions again!), and set the tone for designs of the era. 1950s dresses became rounded, with ballerina length hems and cinched waists for a delicate, feminine hourglass look. The sheath dress was another design that created the desired silhouette of the decade, as the form-fitting material clung to natural curves. Ornate necklines also came into vogue; many dresses were constructed with jeweled or peter pan collars, or jazzed up with low-cut necklines for a feminine touch. At Ruche, we love feminine dresses with flattering silhouettes, collared dresses, and detailed necklines on both dressy and casual items!
As the decade continued, so did the feminine dresses, but with more styles. Halter style dresses that developed in the 1930s as a part of eveningwear received a more casual approach; halter sundresses with cute, vibrant patterns like gingham and floral became popular. The shirt dress also came to be during this era as a casual-yet-cute option for housewives. And as daytime clothing and eveningwear grew further apart in dressiness, the cocktail dress came about as the answer to fashion qualms of what to wear to semi-formal events. Whether you choose to don casual-chic shirt dresses, darling printed dresses, or cocktail dressed with a rhinestone collar, you’re sure to evoke 1950s style and get the Ruchette look.
Keeping with the idea of the “New Look,” 1950s tops aimed to give women a feminine silhouette in contrast to the sharp lines of 1930s clothing. Women often wore jackets with peplum waistlines to nip the silhouette and give the figure a rounded appearance, and paired such jackets with sleek skirts. Loose printed tops and collared tops were also popular and constructed of easy-wash materials. When paired with a fitted skirt, loose blouses give an outfit balance – something Ruchettes always aim for!
Many variations of skirts, pants, and shorts became popular during the 1950s, paving the way for a wider selection of mix and match outfits. The sleek and alluring pencil skirt we adore today came about during this era and was often paired with a peplum top or loose blouse. Other skirts of this decade were ankle length with full volume, similar to dresses of the time. Luckily we can still wear both of these skirt styles today for cute 1950s inspired fashion!
As people became interested in casual sportswear, ankle length pants, pedal pushers and Bermuda shorts came into fashion. These styles of cropped pants and shorts were paired with simple, patterned blouses or knit tops for a chic, casual look. These trends had a great impact on modern fashion, as we can now wear pants of any length and can pick and choose as the weather or our mood changes. For a darling, casual 1950s outfit, pair khaki Bermuda shorts with a tucked-in floral blouse and simple belt.
While the shoes of the previous decades were still acceptable and worn frequently during this era, we have the 1950s fashion to thank for the invention of the stilettos. These chic, thin-heeled shoes instantly dress up an outfit, adding an extra dose of glamour. Many women forwent their bulkier shoes from the 30s and 40s and opted for sleek heels instead. Pair your favorite stilettos with a matching, curve-hugging sheath dress for a bold 1950s evening look.
Saddle shoes, also known as casual oxfords, also gained popularity during the 1950s, especially among young girls. Saddle shoes are still a darling footwear option today and give any outfit a definite 1950s appeal!
Accessorizing in the 1950s was all about matching and looking polished. Handbags became increasingly popular and were often coordinated with shoes and hats. Fashionable eyewear also became trendy for 1950s accessories, including those cute, classic cat-eye classes!
Hats were still popular during the early 1950s, but they became less important in finishing an outfit by the end of the 1950s – partly because exaggerated hairstyles took the stage at the end of the decade. The hats that were popular during this era were delicate berets and smaller caps that didn’t interfere too greatly with a perfectly quaffed ‘do.
For a truly 1950s style, coordinate your outfit with a pink, orange or red-based lip color or opt for pastel eyes and peach cheeks. If you have short hair, try curling it tightly for the iconic poodle cut look, and if you have longer hair, try a quick ponytail or take the time to create a glamorously curled and pinned hairdo (secured with ample hairspray)!
Who do we admire most from the decade? Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn are our top two style icons! Like the women of the 1950s, Ruchettes adore their feminine dresses, and they aren’t afraid to mix and match their clothing, test new trends, and create glamorous, polished looks too. If you adore 1950s fashion, visit Ruche to find vintage inspired clothing and channel the classic style!