Vintage 1950’s vogue, Victorian vogue, Rockabilly & pinup fashion… if you want to flirt with one of these styles, what are the basic wardrobe items required?
I thought it would be fun to figure out and make a list for anyone interested in trying, so here’s what I could evaluate from the different looks.
Of course Victorian Vogue is my main style strength with Vintage 1950’s Vogue secondary, and then pinup & rockabilly next.
I still included pinup & rockabilly because there are so many important elements of overlap between the three styles, especially in the historical inspiration that joins them.
I refer to this posts particular fashion as Vintage 1950’s Vogue for ease, though I’m aware that the styles changed pronouncedly in that decade. If in doubt, know that I’m mostly thinking of the Vogue Magazine, iconic 50’s films and actresses, and Dior’s New Look of the time.
Modern 1950’s Vintage Vogue
Inspirations : Dior’s ‘New Look’, soft feminine glamour, wide skirts, small waists, set hair, hats & gloves, strong silhouettes.
Dita von Teese is a good modern example of this look done well in everyday attire. Audrey Hepburn is also a great inspiration for this look, due to a combination of her iconic taste for capri and blouses with ballet flats and the fashion fabulousness of her movie Funny Face and Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
The costumes were designed by Hubert de Givenchy who Hepburn said of- “His are the only clothes in which I am myself.”
- Pin Curls
An absolute must for all vintage ladies, working on perfecting a pin curl style takes a lot of practice but is very rewarding. Once you have figured out what works for you, it’s one of the best styles I can think of for taking a look to the next level of glamorous. For beginners to pin curls, I have pincurl posts and pincurl setting patterns for reference. Truly, great hair makes all the difference.
- Cropped length bottoms
Wide skirts, capri trousers, anything 3/4, pencil or hobble style will be vital to recreating the silhouette of the 1950’s. Plus, they’re really comfortable and showcase a lovely slender and feminine part of the body.
- A well fitted corset or bustier
A nice corset will go a long way with 1950’s Vintage Vogue style. It doesn’t have to be custom made – a bustier or off the rack one in your size will do.
Warner’s ‘Merry Widow’ corset / bustiere was very popular in the 1950’s and helps recreate the slim waist shape of the ‘New Look’. Alternatives that I like include the Josephine or Petite Josephine corset from Isabella Corsetry, or my absolute favourite – the featherlight corsets of Angela Friedman. Her corsets have a similar shape to the vintage Merry Widow style, but are steel boned and absolutely stunning.
- Collared blouses or V neck bodysuits
Simple, sleek and goes with any outfit, a white collared blouse in short sleeve or sleeveless will perfectly pair with any bottoms and add a softly elegant and feminine touch to a daily look. While V neck bodysuits weren’t part of the classic 1950’s vogue look, I feel that many of the vintage vogue styles I love best have a wide V neckline. It’s easiest to recreate this on a daily level with a V neck bodysuit paired with a lovely wide or pencil skirt in the same colour. Et voila!
Lovely little modest heels, kitten heels, slightly pointed toes, wingtip and around 2-3 inches is polite and pretty.
- Ballet flats
Audrey Hepburn is a lovely example of the beauty of ballet flats with capris. She looks exceptional in all black or black and red and proves that the stylish simplicity can work well for some people.
Wide brimmed, bucket, perch – there are many styles of hat worn, and plenty of materials and styles to choose from. The other day I posted about the difference a hat makes to an outfit, and have them in my new years fashion resolution. Combined with pin curled hair, the glamour is striking.
Short, wrist length, mid length, opera gloves – at least one multi purpose pair of gloves is needed to complete the elegance of this look. If in doubt about correct glove etiquette, have a peek at my blog post on the topic.
Single or multiple strand, but I feel that Jackie O or Holly Golightly pearls are a must for lifting the timelessness of this style to the next level of elegance.
- Rocket Bra
Cone shaped breasts with accentuated nipples were all the fashion in the 1950’s and I’ve read that some silver screen starlets went so far as to sew buttons or pearls into the cups of their dresses to showcase this fad as clearly as possible. Nowadays the best known vintage vogue 50’s bras are made by What Katie Did in the UK, who supply major TV shows and other period era productions with the undergarments that recreate the fashion in its entirety. Alternatively softer bras, corsets or vintage Warner Merry Widows can give that lovely vintage vogue shape too.
That’s all, folks! My choice of the top ten wardrobe items for introducing vintage vogue elements to a daily wardrobe. If you have any additional suggestions for other readers to enjoy, please leave them in the comments below.
Also – my exploration of Victorian Vogue…
Long skirts, demure elegance, less is more unless it’s fabric in which case more is more… hourglass figures, ladylike drama and buttons and impactful cropped jackets that showcase curves to the max. How to wear this incredible style in a way that is breathtaking and serene at the same time. Not for the faint hearted, as it’s guaranteed to WOW.
And not to be missed, my accessible modern take on inspirations from rockabilly & pinup styles with everyday fashion elements of head scarves, swinging skirts, sexy patterned wiggle dresses, and an ample helping of attitude. Fun, bold, boisterous and truly punchy. Check it out!
Rockabilly and Pinup will probably have an additional section on modern pinup under my post on How To Be A Burlesque Queen, and Victorian Vogue will touch on my love of corsets, so if you love the silhouettes of corsets or are new to corseting then you may find some inspiration in those posts. Thanks for reading!
Fabulously eccentric actress, TV host, curvaceous model and founder of Hong Kong ’s first luxury corset brand, Pearls & Arsenic. I love sharing my passion for all things elegant, beautiful & inspiring. My Dearest Beloved and I live with a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III, who is a ridiculous snob, and his dwarf-lop bunny brother, The Earl of Tillington. Find me on IG @RavenTao or FB : Raven Tao
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