How To Dress for a Fifties Party

Getting ready for a Fifties party?  Make sure you dress right so you can rock-around-the-clock all night!  There are so many 50s fashion that are still popular today.  So, don’t worry, looking for the right outfit is a cinch.


  1. Look for dresses that emphasize your waist.  The hourglass silhouette was popular at this time.  Smart dressing was in with tailored, yet feminine styles dominating the scene.  Pencil skirts were a favorite of the more mature ladies.  Shirt dresses were worn with belts to accentuate the waistline.  Younger women wore swing skirts in pastel colors and polka dots that were great for dancing and twirling.  One popular form of the swing skirt was called the poodle skirt, aptly named because the appliqué on the skirt was usually a French poodle.  You can also opt for a pleated skirt, which was a staple at that time.
  2. Wear a blouse with a Peter Pan collar.  This is a rounded type of collar that evoked innocence.  Bolero jackets, bowling shirts and cashmere or wool buttoned down cardigans were typical tops. Think Olivia Newton John as Sandy in Grease!
  3. Partner saddle shoes with swing skirts.  Otherwise, stilettos matched perfectly the hourglass style back then.  Shoes with slightly chunky heels were worn for dancing.  Ballet slippers and flats were also in vogue, sometimes worn with socks.
  4. Accessorize with pearls.  This jewel from the sea was the most popular accessory for both day and night affairs.   Wear gloves and a stylish hat for a more sophisticated look.
  5. Wear your hair short or coiffed.  Both styles were popular with the bouffant style (think beehive) appearing towards the end of the 50s.  Ponytails and short-fringed bangs were the rage for the younger ladies.
  6. Find inspiration in popular women of the 50s.  Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe were style icons of that decade.  One is sweet and demure, the other overtly sexy.  Lucille Ball was the number one comedienne then.  Go with someone who you think is closer to your character or do a 180 degree turn and dare to be the opposite of yourself.


  1. Find a nice black leather jacket.  They wear usually worn over white t-shirts that had folded sleeves.  The more conservative preppy men preferred short-sleeved polo shirts in plaid.  Bowling shirts were typical.  Some men also wore their lettered cardigans.  Grey flannel business suits were narrower and worn with a hat.
  2. Wear tight pants favored by greasers.  Plaid and khaki shorts and pants as well as faded blue jeans were part of the wardrobe.
  3. Let your outfit dictate the shoes.  Either conservative or downright rebellious.  Loafers were worn with white socks, as were black boots. Lace-up oxfords were definitely a 50s style.
  4. Choose a hairstyle that will match your overall look.  Long hair was not common in the 50s but post-military haircuts were.  The more rebellious ones grew out their hair and greased up with Brylcreem.  Pick between The Fonz and Richie Cunningham of Happy Days for your hairstyle of choice!
  5. Find inspiration in the likes of James Dean, Elvis Presley, Gene Kelly and Marlon Brando.  Or watch 50s shows and movies like Rebel without a Cause, Singing in the Rain, Leave It to Beaver, Dragnet, or even Mad Men.

Dressing up for a 50s party is definitely easy and fun.  Many websites are devoted to fashion during the 1950s.  You just have to choose what calls to you.  Watch Grease, pick a side then run with it!


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