Thrifty Dreams

Nifty Fifties

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The 1950s was fundamentally a time of conformity. You won’t find anything wild or risqué at this time period. Think of it as good, clean, wholesome stuff. The mini skirts and wild fashions don’t arrive until the 1960s.

A female function was to entertain or attend social gatherings – all to promote and further their spouse’s career. Cocktail dresses – short versions of ball gowns – were essential. A woman was expected to wear a hat outside of the house (except for the most formal evening occasions) and gloves at all times – short for day, long for evening. Men tended almost to universally wear suits. The practice of dressing young people like their elders was still common, with the ‘mother/daughter’ look particularly in vogue.

1950s fashion was regulated by three C’s – code, conformity and consumerism. Women’s focus was on rearing children and keeping house as they had largely left the war years’ workplace. Both men’s and women’s activities centered around family and home and clothing changed as a result. Emphasis was on practical but attractive housedresses, not only for household chores but suitable for quick errands or the school run. Women dressed for ‘wifely’ roles!