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Vintage: 1950′s Style

It is curious to see how many young women are embracing the hyper-feminine silhouette and allure of the 1950′s. It was undeniably an elegant and experimental fashion period, perhaps one of the most beautiful, yet not one of the most liberating.

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Beauty came at a price. Girdles, torpedo bras, body shapers… precise make-up and hair… created a beautiful shell, but not an equal one. It was about appearances and perceived suburban bliss.

The 1950′s style is all about the cinched waist. Whether it be daywear or outerwear (with exceptions, of course), the tailored look is chic and quintessentially Grace Kelly with a little Doris Day thrown in.

Capri pants were so popular that they were also sold as clam diggers, pedal pushers and peon pants.

I’ve seen many women here in New York wearing 1950′s style coats and outfits that were sometimes vintage or meant to channel the look. The favored piece ­–besides the fine-gage knit sweaters– is the cinched fur collar coat, and a few trapeze-shaped ones too.

Fur ranching may have flexed its muscles by the 1930′s [think silver fox], but its apotheosis was the 1950′s. Mutation furs (natural cross-breeding) created newfound appreciations for naturally nuanced colors that became absolute must-haves.

Today’s gal may not follow the 1950′s look to a tee, but the effort comes with rewards. Beauty and originality are always a win-win combination, and it is refreshing to see people actually developing their own style. It’s well-known that “The Street” influences fashion, so why not do it high style?

For some, those coats of grandma’s still in storage may offer some great surprises!  Authentic 1950′s vintage chic at it’s best!  For others, a visit to your local vintage clothing store or your local  fur retailer will uncover a wealth of glamorous, affordable 1950′s styles.

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Comments ( 9 )

      • Kentfield46 says:

        My most impressionable years growing up were in the 50′s. I remember the classic long mink coats in various shades of brown that my mother and her friends would wear everywhere. Their minks were not reserved only for formal nights out. No, they would be seen out shopping, at lunch, cocktail parties, meetings, day trips, on errands or any opportunity where the temperature allowed.

        I was captivated by the allure of large wide collars, huge cuffs and glamourous sweeps. The woman wearer instantly transformed herself into a goddess — with a great sense of self, feminine, sexy and definitely more attractive. I miss that look. True the 80′s brought back the gorgeous power furs of fox, sable, mink, raccoon and more.. But the 50′s attitude is what I miss. Oh that fur wearers today could realize the fun, glamor, sex appeal, sensuousness and practicality of a great fur coat. It’s the carefree feeling I miss. It’s such a shame modern political thinking has introduced fear and poisoned the eagerness of potential fur wears today.

      • Eleanor Lock says:

        I lived through those years. I remember my step-mother who worked, calling me after school and saying, “meet me downtown
        at the tea room for dinner, and please don’t forget your hat and gloves”!!
        To me, it was the elegance, the polite manners that is missed today. Charm schools were everywhere for young ladies who learned how to do everything from walk, how to make introductions properly, how to stand in respect of older people, and set a proper table! (kids today barely know how to eat with knife and fork!!)

        I remember taking a trip to New York City for a music convention in 1959 and realizing I had forgotten my crinolines, (oh, horrors, ((really)) and walking into a shop in NY City, paying a terrible price for a couple of crinolines (look it up, you younger people) and then being treated rudely by the clerk. I was an 17 year old girl from Kansas, and they looked down on us ‘hicks’! ;-) Hoops were in, as well, and it was hard to sit down in those without everything you wore going straight up in the air! Oh, and movie stars were drop-dead gorgeous, very, very glamourous, and perfect! I’m sorry, but I look at what is considered beautiful today by young people, the young actresses, and I think, ‘that’s beauty?, probably not!’

        I wouldn’t want our society to revert back to those years because I love comfort, (nothing comfortable about a girdle and waist cincher) but we could use a bit more civility and a bit more ‘glam’!!!

      • The Fur Insider says:

        Thank you for your thoughts! We agree! We’d love to see the “special” back in special occasion dressing!

      • Carolyn Meagher says:

        I came of age in the mid-1950s and still remember the elegance and joy of feeling pretty and feminine. We wore skirts and blouses and Jantzen sweater sets to our college classes. And the crinolines–they were a bother in class, but fun under formals. I have treasured one black cocktail dress (we used to call them ‘dressy dresses’) that I am now happily donating to my college alma mater for their vintage fashion museum so aspiring designers can study the subtle shaping and beautiful elegance of a well made dress. I was married in 1956 and my wedding dress goes there too. My daughters aren’t interested in Mom’s old clothes, but I’m gratified that young people now and in the future will see what elegance truly was.

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      • gabrielle Choo says:

        So many FUN thing to look at …….. FABULOUS !!!!!!

      • FurInsider says:

        Thanks for being a part of FurInsider!

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