50's fashion trends

The full skirt and small waist typical of 50’s fashion trends.

Fashion changes post-war and results in new fabrics and a focus on the teenage market.

Going out to dinner in Denver is generally a casual affair.  This area is not known for being overly formal and with so many outdoor activities available in the Rocky Mountains many people are dining after a day on the slopes or trails.

There are  a great deal of iconic 50’s fashion trends and vintage is all the rage today, both in fashion and home décor.  The rations of World War II extended to textiles and after the lean war times, fashion faced great changes.  Post-war technological innovations resulted in new fabrics such as spandex and polyester, as well as fabric finishes that allowed for easy care, all of which were popularized in the 1950’s.

Starting in the late 1940’s teenagers became a force is fashion for the first time and the industry started targeting them as a specific marketing audience.  Moving into the 50’s teenagers were rebelling by not dressing like their parents, as evident with the “greaser” trend with men and later the “beatnik” look for both men and women.

On February 12, 1947 Christian Dior released the first collection from the House of Dior.   This collection was dubbed the “New Look” and set the fashion trend for the 1950’s.  Hemlines became longer and featured a full skirt, the waist was small and the shoulders were rounded.  Tailored female suits featured slim pencil skirts and fitted jackets with peplums.  Accessories such as gloves and pearls were popular.

The lifestyle in the 50’s became more suburban so there was a strong emphasis on casual sportswear for both men and women.  Women who started wearing pants while working during war times decided they did not want to give them up, which created a trend for slim fitting pants and pedal pushers.

One popular 50’s fashion trend, which is often linked with diner culture, is the poodle skirt.  The skirt was designed by Juli Lynne Charlot, a trained opera singer and actress.  As a performer Juli designed her own wardrobe and hired a seamstress to produce them because she didn’t know how to sew. She married Phillip Charlot at the end of WWII and stopped performing. When her husband lost her job Juli wanted to continue to be fashionable on a budget.  It was Christmas and she wanted a new skirt but because she didn’t sew she decided to use felt, which does not need seams.  She added some holiday appliqués and the skirt turned out beautifully so she made three more and took them to a boutique in Beverly Hills.  They sold immediately and the boutique ordered more.  After Christmas they requested she make more skirts with different appliqués, so she made a dog-themed skirt.  First they were dachshunds, which the boutique loved, and soon after requested a poodle.  The iconic poodle skirt was born and soon Juli had a clothing factory and was selling her skirts all over the country.


Sources:  http://thevintagetraveler.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/interview-with-juli-lynne-charlot/