Gladys Raggs first look at 50’s fashions

Many of you have already begun asking what to wear for the Guernsey Retro event in September, so our resident fashion blogger ‘Gladys Raggs’ is here to offer some style advice and tips for all you ladies and gentlemen.

Over the coming weeks and months Gladys will be sharing fashion styles with you all from both the 50’s and 60’s, along with expert hair and make up advice from local professionals for the era.


The transition from 1940’s fashion during the war to the fifties’ style was a fairly radical one. Post-war, 1950s fashion moved style from the up market salons to the high streets, as inventions in easy care fabrics and speedier manufacturing systems meant that new silhouettes could be made for the mass market. Having the latest trends was no longer a concept reserved exclusively for the rich, and while people hadn’t quite reached the street style heyday of the 1960’s scene, style was more accessible than ever before.

Fashion in the 1950s was exciting and diverse. There were new colours, fresh silhouettes and different style options for different personalities. The 50’s saw the birth of a distinction between youth fashion and more mature styles. This iconic decade is still heavily referenced in the fashion world and is especially beloved for its chic retro style and playful looks, including those of the ‘Pin-up’, ’Rockabilly’ and “Greaser’ subcultures. Key designs for the decade included two main silhouettes – the wasp waist with full skirt and the slim fitting pencil skirt. Both are iconic 50s looks that prevailed until 1956. Dresses with cinched waists, pencil skirts, poodle skirts, gingham and polka dot garments, cropped sweaters and cardigans, and much much more. The key shape for the decade was a feminine, slightly exaggerated hourglass silhouette… think Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, or if you aren’t old enough to remember them, think of all the fashion styles seen in the movie ‘Grease.’ 1950s fashion was, without doubt, one of the industry’s most exciting decades.

Ladies fashions in the 1950’s mainly fell into 3 groups.

‘Pin up Fashion’ was inspired by the poster girls of the era, ’50s pin- up style was all about
women expressing their femininity and sex appeal, with key pieces including tight-fitting pencil skirts, ‘hot pants,’ halter neck dresses, bustier tops, and swimwear, including bikinis.


‘Rockabilly Fashion’ and ‘Greaser Trend’

The rockabilly subculture of the 1950s was based around the music genre of the same name. The style was highly popular during the time, especially with teenagers. Due to this popularity, rockabilly and its followers soon developed a signature style.

The fashion for the females of this subculture consisted of a mixture of pin-up styles and swing looks. As such many rockabilly girls wore swing dresses, fitted pencil skirts, ‘poodle skirts,’ and bullet bras.



A key look of the 1950s, the greaser style originated in the United States of America, with teens and young working- class men. For women, the look involved a blend of rockabilly and pin-up styles finished off with a healthy dose of attitude.



Coming soon: an in depth look at 50’s and 60’s fashions for both Ladies and Gentlemen.

1 Response

  • Sue Le Lievre // // Reply

    Not forgetting your Granny’s Fox furs & Astrocan fur coats. All these vintage furs are acceptable wear for Retro events. They were very much a part of fashion in the 50’s & 60’s so get searching those trunks in your attics ladies

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