Vintage Style Dresses: 1950s

By Sisi Tsoi

Recently it feels like we've been transported back to the middle of the Twentieth century in terms of style. Some people prefer to call it the Mad Men effect ; there's no point in denying that the hit drama set in 1960s Manhattan has had a significant effect on both clothing and interior design fashions. Whether girls are wanting to emulate Joan Holloway and Betty Draper, or are subliminally wishing to return to a period of industrial wealth ( neatly sidestepping the rampant misogyny of the day ), there's no denying that the retro styles have come back in a big fashion.

What are the benefits of this? Well, the shape and cut of dresses and skirts from the age are certainly exquisite. Both flared and pencil skirts, the two main silhouettes are commonly flattering - and the shift dress, indisputably the classic kind of the youths at the time - has maintained its popularity thanks to its simplicity and true innovation.

If you want to join in with the trend but are worried it's already on the out, brush away those concerns! At London Fashion Week, everyone's favorite punk grandma Vivienne Westwood, showcased a collection that has been described as 'fifties housewives on acid' - in the best sense, of course! Perfectly fitted dresses, neat blouses paired with pencil skirts, and retro bathing suits reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe were seen on the catwalk to much excitement. Westwood showed us that you can keep the classic shapes of the mid-century pieces, but update them in other ways - through color, prints and accessories. Quirky plaids, brave baroque and kooky berets were all in tow, confirming that for this dame of the fashion world, it's still all about having fun.

The best part about vintage style is that you don't have to splash out to get in on the look. Yes, there are always people willing to max out their credit card on the designer threads, but there is really no need if you're more budget conscious.

Thrift and Consignment stores are treasure troves of vintage clothing ; you won't always find something perfect so be prepared to put in the time and visit them frequently. Get to know the staff and tell them the sorts of pieces you adore - if you get on well, they may even put things aside that they know you will appreciate. Scour eBay and etsy for bargains and play with the key terms incase things are misspelled or crucial details are omitted.

Also remember to keep an eye on the high street as designer influences are appearing their faster and faster every year. It's never been easier to find your ideal vintage dress so get to it and make your friends jealous; when they ask you where it's from, say 'It's Vintage' with a smile and be safe in the knowledge that they can't copy your fantastic look!

About the Author: