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Key Looks of the Fifties

The 1950’s was a decade of celebration, the end of the war brought hope and a vivid atmosphere of fun and colour. The reaction to the austere years of World War Two was especially evident in the glamourous creations of designers such as Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. Hats, gloves and tiny nipped in waists were the key looks of the fifties for women while men chose between the smouldering bad boy or the clean-cut preppy look. Images of movie stars such as James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor encouraged the public to glam up and where possible they did!

Fifties Tea Dresses

Kitty Copeland Tea Dress
Rhona Roy Tea Dress

Mid-century tea dresses worn with masses of petticoats creating swing and sway were a fabulous trend which really does evoke the era. Usually found in colourful, floral patterns with tiny waists. Gorgeous!

Fifties Preppy Look

Cowichan Zipped Knit
ARROW 1950’s Short-Sleeved Decton SHIRT


The fifties saw an emergence of a youthful, preppy aesthetic, relaxed yet still respectful. For men cricket sweaters, oversized cardigans and shirts were prevalent. This is a style on which Ralph Lauren built his fashion house and as such is readily available today but for the aficionado vintage pieces add authenticity. Women wore full circle skirts, with plenty of petticoat bounce, small cardigans and twinsets, bobby socks and flat pumps. Think Olivia Newton John/Sandy before she went to the fair! Colours were bright, fresh and above all clean.

Teds, Rockers, Bikers

Rocking Presley
Biker Brando

Sub-cultures develop in and around music genres and in the 50s rock and roll had a huge influence. Teddy Boys were known for their drape coats with colourful trim to colours and pockets, drain pipe trousers often shortened to show off colourful socks and crepe soled shoes or creepers, not forgetting the quiffs! Teddy Girls had a similar style which also included tailored jackets and they coupled them with pencil skirts or poodle skirts, rolled-up jeans, and flat shoes or espadrilles. Rockers, Greasers or Bikers were a natural progression from Teds and a look much easier to acheive with their leather and denim style.

Fifties Capri Pants

Brigitte does Capri

Another fabulous style for women was Capri pants. A hemline right above the ankle was very popular in the 1950s. This spread to pants as well. Capris became popular casual wear; a very popular combination was bright coloured tops or floral tops and plain but colourful capris.

Swing Coats

One item of clothing that is the definition of the fifties is the swing coat. This type of coat is more fitted at the shoulders and gets progressively looser all the way to the hem. As you walk, it makes a swinging motion which is how it came upon its name. Very useful to cover the swing dress and a multitude of bumps!

Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise

During the 50s people wore accessories. Colourful clip-on earrings were popular. Women particularly wore short gloves in all seasons and at all times of day too! Hats and scarves were also a staple to fifties fashion, not surprisingly headscarves have survived pretty well and it is fairly easy to find a wide variety of beautiful ones.

Creating a fifties look today is not so easy, sourcing items that are now over 70 years old is tricky. At Repsycho we try to stock key items that will help you create your style. Online we try to describe any faults as well as the fantasticness, in store you can browse and try items in person and get advice from our knowledgeable staff if required.

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