Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A Century Of Style: The Challenge (1950 -1960)




Welcome to Day Five in my Century of Style Challenge. Today is the turn of the glamorous 1950's. Personally this era is not a favourite of mine, I loathe pointy shoes and the rigid formality of the dress just isn't my thing, but because you're all so lovely I'll give it a go....... 



When Christian Dior launched his New Look collection in 1947 he caused a sensation. After years of enforced frugality the nipped-in waists and full skirts of his collection were totally different to anything the British had seen. Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were amongst the first to embrace the New Look and for the next ten years the swathed fabric, nipped-in waist styles dominated the era thus fulfilling the craving women denied glamour during the hardships of the war years had previously only dreamed of.



The bubble cuts worn by the Princesses and Elizabeth Taylor were the must-have hairstyles of the day and elegant French pleats were also popular. Hairdressing became big business and by 1955 almost 30,000 hair salons had opened in the UK.



During the earlier years of the 1950's a woman wasn't considered properly dressed without a hat but they gradually fell from favour when a more casual way of dress was adopted in the latter half of the decade. Max Factor's Pancake makeup was popular and women applied it over their lips, painting their lipstick on top with the newly introduced lip brush. Eyebrows were finely plucked and pencilled in to appear darker and more sweeping. Eyeliner was wing-shaped and applied to the upper lid only. Rouge was popular, Bourjois being a particular favourite brand.


A lady always wore gloves, even during the day. Shoes were high with rounded or peep-toes during the early Fifties, it wasn't until the middle of the decade that the metal spike heels and kitten heels normally associated with the era were worn. Shawls and fur stoles were de rigueur for evening wear. Pearls, paste jewellery and mink trimmed brooches were popular items to own.


Marks and Spencer, Britain's legendary chain store, became the place to shop for fashion, copies of couture items were available to the masses for a fraction of the price. The exceptional quality of the St Michael clothing brand means that many original pieces can still be found today.

Green satin and lace dress with a boned bodice and black ruched gloves elbow length (Both from jumble sales), Bow trim hat, Lurex wrap and Dorset Rex evening bag (All Car Boot Sale Finds), Faith Patent stilettoes (Local Market), Pearl grapevine earrings (Inherited)
Towards the end of the Fifties society evolved to become more liberated and women moved towards wearing freer and more relaxed clothing casting aside the rigidity demanded by the past. 

39 comments:

  1. Oooo,I'm first off the block for a change!!!
    Darling,you've done so very well,considering the 50's just aren't your thing!!!You look so very classy!!Of course!!
    I love the fifties,except for the pointy shoes.The uber glam(of the mid=late 50's) appeals to me.Funny that.
    Love you!
    HelgaxxxXXXxxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love that dress on you!
    My mother had a pink cotton (thick and stiff) dress with a tiny waist and a huge circular skirt. It had a silver/white slightly damask-like pattern on the fabric. She loved it. It impressed me too for me to remember it so vividly after 50 years.
    I also remember little pots of Bourjois rouge. She had a coney coat too! She only recently got rid of it. The smell of mothballs in the wardrobe. She didn't wear heels though as she'd had polio in an outbreak in the 40s (?) and has bad feet to this day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love that dress! Great colour too. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. The print on the wrap is gorgeous! Is it quite heavy? It looks like it could be. I have gloves very similar - inherited from my Nanny! Sadly, her hands were very slender, therefore I cannot fit them with my huge meat hands!

    Loking lovely as ever - really looking forward to the second half of this challenge.

    Lou x - craftyandquirky.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, your outfit is STUNNING! I think you've captured the ladylike elegance of the 1950's so well...and the color of your dress is just gorgeous

    ReplyDelete
  6. You wouldn't think 50's weren't your thing. You look lovely, the colour of the dress is lovely on you.

    Love the bag, and accessories to.

    xx

    p.s I am so taking you up on the challenge if that's ok. Keep your eyes peeled. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am in love with this dress... perfect 50s style!!! mwah!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You can even pull off the 50's Vix! Can't wait to see 60's, 70's and the 80's!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well that is a beautiful dress and you wear it very well. I have to admit, I'm with you on the not-love of the Fifties look. I do it better in summer with a nice cotton sundress but it doesn't really interest me otherwise. And pointy shoes KILL my feet.

    Can't wait to see Sixties and Seventies :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gorgeous dress Vix, and i love your hat! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think that dress look gorgeous on you, i lovwe the colour. You'd never know the 50's aren't your favourite. For me, i love them but maybe i'm biased as the styles tend to suit me!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You look stunning! Love the black gloves :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't like pointy shoes either. They never make me feel glam, just bigfooted and witchlike (never a good combo). I think this photoshoot is possibly more successful than any of the others just because of the fact that you don't even like the style and you still look fantastic in it!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Another era pulled off with aplomb! I love that green dress, it is beautiful.

    I think it was somewhere in the 50s there was a rule that your handbag and shoes should match. I do remember my mother insisted I wear short white gloves on occassion.

    You look lovely, Vix. I love the earrings and I recognize your "opera" handbag!

    xoxo, Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  15. Darling Vix,
    I love the 50s look on you & I think it really suits you too!
    I've always had a special place in my heart for the 50s look.
    I think it's because of my mum; when she was in her early teens she did some modelling & I remember looking at those photographs as a kid thinking that was how I'd look when I grew up, all neat, classy & perfectly coiffeured...uhm, how wrong it was!
    I also remember admiring & trying to walk in two pairs of impossibly pointy kitten heels that my mum kept in our memory chest for years as a momento of her modelling days, I think/hope my sister still got them.
    BTW that dress is to die for, what a scrumptious colour, like pistachio-ice-cream, yum!
    This look is by far my favourite so far but I dare say the best is yet to come :)
    I'm so enjoying this challenge Vix, well done you for making it so special!
    ...xXx

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love that dress! I have to say that I'm really loving this series.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Vix, I love that dress! The 50s look is stunning on you, and your taste is flawless: the colours and the styles are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. wow I love that outfit.

    I think the 50's was such a glam time.xx

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great outfit! ... :0)

    Shirl x

    ReplyDelete
  20. love the color of this dress..I am a big fan of nipped in waist dresses:-) I like this hat style also..

    ReplyDelete
  21. You say, you don't like this decade? But it sure likes you! The dress looks good. I love the whole look with the nipped waist, to the hat and gloves and the shoes! I think I might have like the 50's if I was around then ;)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Gorgeous dress. Blimey - you're whizzing through the century, I'm trying hard to keep up. Did you see the Golden Age of Couture exhibition a couple of years ago at the V&A? It was brilliant If you missed it, the book is fab - you'd love it!

    ReplyDelete
  23. You look fabulous! So different to your usual lookl yet you carry it off brilliantly. What a find that dress is too *envious*

    Lottie -x-

    ReplyDelete
  24. You look fantastic! I never list the 50s as one of my favourite eras but I am continously brought back to it because of my shape, the structure seems to suit me whereas my preferred eras which are more flowing just seem to look like tents. There you go! :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am utterly loving the trip through fashion!!! You have such an eye for clothes and wish I had once ounce of your style! You could be our Gok Wan and tell us what to wear! xxxxxxxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Again, the historical fashion facts in this post are making me crave MORE! I had no idea women painted their lips on over makeup! How weird is that! I actually kind of want to try that now, out of curiosity. Lol.

    You look so glamorous and beautiful. I know this isn't your favorite fashion decade, but you certainly do pull it off flawlessly.

    I wish gloves were still a must-have for women!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ah, I just adore that dress, and the Fifties in general I'm afraid! You look awesome tho, maybe you've found a new style :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. 50s makeup is my favourite. I love the cat eye liner, the pillarbox red lips and alabaster skin. The silhouette suits my figure too - circle skirts hide a multitude of sins! x

    ReplyDelete
  29. Interesting reading, but I'm with you on this. We seem to be very similar body shapes. People tell me I'm a skinny minnie but I'm actually a pear which does influence the shapes that look good, even if it's quite a subtle thing. Bring on the swinging sixties! xx

    ReplyDelete
  30. i wish i could come over and do a duo posting when you get the 60's. gawd that would be so fun! you really nailed this 50's era though. it's like the fashion became so refined by jackie in the 60's. i love jackie so much.

    ReplyDelete
  31. That dress is an amazing colour on you! Looking forward to seeing you in yours 60's finest!

    ReplyDelete
  32. It may not be your thing but you m'lady can rock any look, any era. FABULOUS!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Also the 50s were the first decade when two skirt shapes were worn side by side. The continuation of the New Look cut and the sheath skirt a la Marilyn Monroe

    ReplyDelete
  34. Just discovered your blog, love it! and am reading old posts. Worries me the return to the fashion of the 50/60s mad man style. Also increased burqa wearing. Is it about women knowing their place in life?
    Janey

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love the glamour of the 50's.
    That dress is gorgeous and looks stunning on you and ooooh that yummy color. I would love to see your closet, I can only imagine all the amazing clothes!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love the 1950's it's a big favorite of mine in the terms of fashion, I also love the 40's and early 60's too! Wiggle dress's, Pencil skirts and belts, Big floaty puffy out skirts and petticoats....

    And I must admit I own lots and lots of pointy shoes ;P But each to there own :D

    I think you look great in this dress ... I adore the colour of it!

    Sal xXx

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love St Michael, and am always on the lookout for the name!
    I really do love that bag, what a treasure. I can’t quite imagine wearing gloves pretty much all the time, let alone in the day.
    And I also really love the green satin colour, very flattering. Can’t wait for the 60s & 70s now. I am a little more educated on the later eras. I have a couple of Tashcen books about the 60’s/70’s. Will be great to see your take on them. Sorry I am so late on this post! xx

    ReplyDelete
  38. Beautiful dress, adore that mossy green colour

    xxx

    ReplyDelete

Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx