Poodle skirts, ponytails, swing dresses, stilettos—these are some of the fashion choices people associate with during the 1950s. Although the 1950s clothing indeed had classic styles and feminine charm, it isn’t always true for every woman.
When nations got their necks deep in the second world war, women started working at factories, armaments, and munition centres. Some chose to support their families and start working in farms and fields in place of their husbands. Women opted roles of nurses bravely working frontline to support them on the battlefields.
When the world got back its stability from the war, many women chose to go back to their role as housewives. But that wasn’t the case for all. The war had opened many doors for women. Many decided to continue their work in factories and offices, schools, and libraries.
This is why women’s vintage clothing from the 1950s is so versatile. They are tailored to suit a number of occupations and roles.
Think Debra Winger’s work dress in “An Officer and a Gentleman.” A flattering dark-washed denim jumpsuit over a loosely fitted t-shirt. That was the trend for young factory workers during the 1950s. It was easy, stylish, and highly durable.
Buy a vintage-inspired denim jumpsuit and wear it with a white short sleeve shirt. Cinch the waist with a belt and add some cute vintage accessories like scarves, white sneakers, and hoops. For winters, switch the white shirt with a dark turtle neck sweater and add 60s edgy ankle boots!
Factory wear also consisted of many overalls. They were worn with short blouses and tops in the summers, covered with jackets in the winters.
Overalls are really getting trendy again with cool summer shades, cinched-in waist, and tapered legs. Add a brightly coloured top—red, yellow, mint, or coral and finish the look by rolling up your pant hems. For a cool and casual look, opt for pure white vintage sneakers!
Flannel Shirts and Jeans
A lot of women’s workwear on the farm came from menswear. Throughout a large part of the 1950s, women supported men on the farm, sharing the chores and helping the crops grow.
Farmwear for women included a lot of flannel shirts, dark-washed jeans, and jackets. If you think this look is a typical high-street wear for today. You can find all the pieces at Banned Retro. Add some accessories to make it a bit stylish!
1950’s Women’s Office Wear
After World War II exposed women to freedom and equal rights, a large section of them did not want to be restricted to housework only.
Dresses restricted women from being taken seriously. Thus menswear-inspired high-waisted trousers and blouses were introduced as office wear for women.
A lot of these 1950s vintage clothing inspired looks are flying high in the market with high-waisted pants and fitted tops.
The Importance of Hourglass Silhouettes
The 1950s women’s office wears popularised the timeless hourglass silhouettes. Pencil skirts with peplums or smart jackets accentuated the figure without being immodest in the workplace.
Office wear clothes had neutral patterns like plaids, polka dots, or small geometrical shapes. Women in offices, libraries, schools preferred classic shirts or sweaters with straight skirts or pencil skirts. These were comfortable in the office to wear for long hours.
Women applied for all types of jobs during the 1950s to find their economic freedom. In the factory’s women preferred boots with bright scarves. The scarves were knotted at the forehead or in the front of the head. Apart from being a style statement, these whimsical printed scarves protected the hair from factory grease and dirt.
Women in the office favoured short gloves and structured handbags. Popular workwear shoes were oxfords with heels or pumps, usually in a neutral shade.