Women dressed “smartly’ in the Fifties. Good grooming and a tailored look were prized. Acting and looking “every inch the lady” was taught virtually from the cradle and wearing a dress was a given.
Notice our first ladies have heels and gloves. This was required to complete the look.
The dress at left, a summery afternoon floral, has what was called a swing skirt. This very popular style had many forms, including the poodle skirt.
At right, the skirt part of the dress is in the pencil style. The object here is to attain an hourglass, or figure eight, body shape. This type of dress or skirt was not worn by young girls or teens. Too provacative. In this illustration, the dress also boasts bolero sleeves, which were popular.
Although not seen, a girdle was a necessary part of all ensembles.
At left, two ladies perhaps off to shop or to lunch. One wears the pencil style and the other a swing.
The blue suit dress on the right features a short cropped jacket, accentuating the hourglass shape.
Again, on the left a luncheon dress in the pencil style and an everyday dress with the swing skirt.
At right, an afternoon tea dress with characteristically FIfties soft feminine touches.
These dresses are, again very typical of the day.
At left, with or without a short jacket, a breezy look.
Note the wide collars at right which soften the neckline. “Peter Pan” or broad collars were a fixture of the 50s.
Contrary to whatever impression you may have gathered from watching Donna Reed or Harriett Nelson, real wives and mothers did not go around doing housework in dresses accessorized by pearls and heels.
Mother might, however, wear a wrap dress as pictured at left. Or the simple everyday dress at right.The key here is the word “dress”. It was the most common item worn by women at the time.