Saturday, 28 January 2012

1950s Vintage Fashion - The Decade of Style

The 1950's were exciting years in the world of fashion. Following a period of imposed frugality during the war, the media was highlighting glamour that had never been seen before so widely, and the effects that Hollywood would have on the way that women dressed during this period was to create an impact that no-one could have anticipated.

The early fifties saw the introduction of more ladies into the workplace, and the styles that were created for day to day wear included suits with a tailored look, skirts that hugged waistlines, and blouses that were worn discreetly under tailored jackets that were pulled in at the waist to give a flattering and glamorous look that accentuated shape and style.

The hourglass figure became the ideal as stylised by actresses like Marilyn Monroe, or took on the Audrey Hepburn demure and sophistication. Gone were the financial restraints of the war torn world, and the availability of materials was widened, meaning that the beginnings of mass production of affordable fashion was guaranteed to be a success.

The Festival of Britain exhibition in 1951 was to exhibit fabrics that had never been used before in the western world and the beginnings of a new era that was to shape the fashion industry's future began from humble beginnings, though flourished because women were no longer thought of as housewives, and although many remained faithful to the society image of the mother in the home, a certain element of glamour became not only the norm, but an acceptable part of life for women all over the world.

Higher standards of manufacture were employed by companies like Marks and Spencer whose trademark for producing quality items shone, and the high streets began to sport those designs that had otherwise been beyond the price bracket of ordinary people, many of whom had resorted to making their own clothing, simply because of lack of availability.

Designers of the times such as Dior and Givenchy went away from the traditional towards new beginnings introducing shapes that emphasised the silhouette of a woman's shape, rather than boning clothing in the uncomfortable manner of the 40s, realising that women wanted glamour though also wanted functional clothing that was more comfortable and easier to wear.

The world was looking at example, and nowhere was this more common than here in England where a man named Hartnell designed the clothing that would be worn by the young Princess Elizabeth who would be crowned in the early fifties and was appearing on television in homes all over the globe, influencing the way people perceived fashion available to the masses, whereas once it had only been available to those that could afford designs by Fashion houses like Christian Dior.

The fifties brought a new prosperity to the world, and also the vision of Hollywood greats, and the availability of cinema as one of the most popular forms of entertainment, which would influence women worldwide to the glamorous looks and style of their favourite stars.

Music was not exempt from it's followers either, and the rock 'n' roll era was to make a split in fashion styles, taking women away from the traditional to the Teddy Boy styles that went hand in hand with jiving and lindyhopping. Here, the sporting of pony tails became popular with younger women, and even though this style broke away from the neat hairstyles of the day, the clothing style for women was every bit as feminine and glamorous with full skirts, emphasised waistlines, and subtle colour to fabrics.

With the availability of silks, cottons and natural fabrics, many home dressmakers were taking their ideals from magazines and media and translating these into creations, using the patterns supplied by the biggest manufacturers of dress patterns of the day, such as Vogue, Simplicity and Butterick, who had made the glamour styles available to those who wished to pursue the fashion style themselves without buying.

The Chanel style of suit was to become a popularised style and one that was creatively changed and modified to suit either the tall lady or the shorter lady, using different lengths and fabrics to achieve a totally different look, while keeping the neckline and open front of jackets in the traditional Chanel style, braided at the edges with contrasting material and worn with lightweight sweaters and blouses.

The shoes worn within this period of history by women of the time were elegant and were modelled on designs from Italy, dainty footed, and with heels that were slim, and even those breakaway girls that joined in with the rock 'n' roll crowd, sported the heels to complement their outfits, only turning to more casual shoes and bobby socks in the late fifties.

This was a period that set up standards that would be followed by traditionalists for 20 years, and that set standards that are still perceived as glamorous to this day, when we are reminded of the stars of Hollywood and the impact that they had on society's perception of what women should look like, and what style declared femininity. Even the coats of the era were impressive styles that have been re-designed over the ages, though which have kept their standing as classical designs that work.

Copyright 2012, My Vintage. May be reprinted in its entirety with full credit given to My Vintage and a link to

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Monday, 23 January 2012

Golden Globes Glamour 2012 - Our vintage take on the red carpet looks

It's always wonderful to peruse the silks, sequins and ruffles on any red carpet, and the annual Golden Globe awards are no exception. And it was when I saw this stunning cream and red Atelier Versace number on Angelina Jolie that I had a spark of inspiration...

Agelina Jolie wears Atelier Versace at 2012 Golden Globes

It may be a little different, but I couldn't help drawing comparisons to this gorgeous red satin vintage gown from My Vintage...

Vintage Full Length Satin Evening Gown UK Size 12 - £65
It would be great if I had a vintage alternative for every single jaw dropping dress on the GG red carpet, but alas no! However, I have collated some glittering and impressive frocks that would be fit for any award ceremony...

If you look at the best of the dresses this year, it's all about the full length sweeping gown - mainly in scarlet reds, berry pinks, golden nudes and midnight blues. Here are some of my favourites...

Dramatic strapless gowns, long fitted sleeves and plunging necklines were all real features this year, and with that in mind here are some Golden Globe-inspired picks from the current vast selection of vintage evening dresses at My Vintage...

Vintage John Charles Red & Black Cocktail Dress - UK Size 10 - £140

Vintage Black & Purple Two Tone Prom Dress - UK Size 10 - £68

Vintage Jean Allen Sash Evening Gown UK Size 10 - £120

Vintage Pink Strapless Princess Gown UK Size 10- £75

Designer Vintage Frank Usher Monochrome Evening Gown UK Size 8 - £225
Vintage Designer John Charles Green Diamante Evening Dress UK Size 12/14 - £155
Vintage Black Lace Insert Maxi Dress UK Size 10 - £54
Vintage Designer Horrockses Printed Long Sleeve Maxi Dress UK Size 12 - £165
Vintage Betty Barclay Black Crepe Maxi Dress UK Size 12 - £35
Electric Blue Sequin Lapel Evening Maxi Dress UK Size 10/12 - £75

Designer Vintage John Charles Floral Sequin Dress Size 10 - £155

So whether you are attending a wedding, ball, big family party or indeed a glamorous red carpet event, then you know exactly where to come! 

Here at My Vintage we have beautiful original vintage dresses in sizes 6 - 22+ and prices start from only £30!

Until next time.....
MV x