The 1950's style and modesty


I do love the fashions of the 1950s. They were pretty, feminine and modest. They are a great example of beautiful outfits that covered the body, with no bits and pieces hanging out but still very stylish and elegant. The examples I have included show lots of pretty fabric (something we don't see much of these days), well cut dresses that show off female form without looking vulgar or seductive and sit  nicely below the knee (which keeps them modest when sitting down). These outfits compared to modern attire are so much more elegant and feminine. I would be very happy to see some of these outfits returning to the stores!

"Your dresses should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady" (Edith Head)


"Modesty is a virtue that shows love to others and brings glory to God through appropriate dress" (Tim Challies)

It is interesting to note that none of these women are wearing T-shirts, whilst I wear T-shirts (often under cardigans in winter), they are not stylish attire to be honest and certainly not dressy. In fact the T-shirt wasn't even designed for women, the US Navy worn then (as an undergarment) and they became popular among farm labourers as they were comfortable to wear and easy to wash. We can thank Hollywood for their mass popularity when Marlon Brando wore one in "Streetcar Named Desire" and James Dean in "Rebel without a Cause". Men and women alike saw them as sexy and modern. So whilst I like T-Shirts (they certainly have their place), they are not particularly feminine or pretty and can either be shapeless or very tight (and therefore quite immodest, especially for big busted women).  And if you wear white T-shirts, they can be see-though and problematic so I often add a scarf to help with this problem or add a vest. 

"Dressing modesty is a daily decision to dress like a child of God." 


"Modesty is more than just a hemline, it is an interior disposition that influences not only our dress, but our thoughts and our actions" Leah Darrow

The thing that strikes me most about these pictures is how colourful the outfits are, no black or denim in any of them. It seems that everyone wears black or denim in winter these days -  if I walk about, black is the dominate colour for most people. I do wear black skirts quite a bit in winter, but I always try to jazz them up with bright reds or pinks or add a colourful scarf or necklace.  In fact I often receive compliments when I wear these bright colours as if it is unusual, I just tell people that it makes me feel happy and joyful and to honest, it does. So if you are someone who wears lots of black or denim, jazz it up with colourful feminine tops, scarves, jewellery so you look womanly and pretty. 

"I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness" (Coco Chanel)



Even when I was a child in the early 1970s, women took much more pride in their outfits and wouldn't be seen dead in what modern women wear out and about. My mother, when popping to the shops or visiting friends, always put on a clean freshly ironed frock and perhaps some beads to make herself look "presentable" in public. It would never cross her mind to go out in one of her "house dresses". These are the sorts of dresses I can remember her wearing and she always looked pretty. 


I think all these dresses demonstrate that feminine modesty can be very fashionable, both in the 1950s and now.  We don't need to look frumpy to be modest. The fact is, we are females and we need to dress to show that we are females and one way of doing this is by dressing feminine (which doesn't mean lots of pink and flowers if you don't like them!!).  We can all dress attractively without being immodest:

 "Within the Lord's guidelines, there is plenty of room to be lively, vibrant and beautiful both in our dress and in our actions" (Thomas S Monson)


I found these lovely examples of the 1950's bride, aren't they lovely. 


"Dress how you want other women to dress around your husband" (Kim Doubler)


*****

Comments

  1. I loved the beautiful examples of 1950s wedding attire that you have found.

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    1. Many of the dresses were classy and show that you don't need to be immodest and still look great.

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  2. I do like some of the dresses you have pictured here. And so many gorgeous fabrics! I think my love of pretty fabrics is one reason I like to make clothing from cotton prints. :-) Probably what I like the most, though, is the details. I really like the way they did details in the '50s.

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    1. Its very hard to buy ready made dresses that have lovely cotton fabric, you almost have to make your own clothes these days to get the fabric you like. I agree, the detail it lovely in the 1950s!

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    2. I was going to mention the dark colors too. Dark colors are very popular winter colors here. I try to wear bright colors, especially when I wear a dark color skirt, and especially in winter when I need the cheering up. One Sunday night some years back we were in church meeting and I looked around and noted how much black was present, particularly among the ladies. I couldn't help noting that if someone didn't know better they might think it was a funeral!

      As my hair turns white I find I need the bright colors not only for my mood, but also to keep me from looking washed out and drab. Some people think that bright colors are vain and unbiblical. It's important to note that at the time the Bible was written bright, rich colors were for the wealthy only as they were generally expensive to make and therefore meant to impress when worn. Now all colors are cheap. I think some discretion is appropriate - we shouldn't be attention seeking - but I don't have any problem with bright, cheerful colors. :-)

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    3. I do wear black skirts in winter but pair them up with bright and colourful tops - today I wore a long black straight skirt and a red top which brightens up the black no end. I often add a scarf for added colour. I have very pale skin and like you, I need colour to make sure I don't look washout. And I find bright colours make me feel more positive and joyful. One can’t feel as sad in bright red!!

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  3. One of my fav new books is The Art of Dress. It discusses women's dress from the early 1900s thru current and I love it. Will be adding to my personal library as soon as I can afford it. Also love the Chic and Slim series. All discuss chic and basically modest attire.

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    1. I must see if my local library has these books - I love classic elegant attire that which we sadly don't see much of these days.

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  4. What I like about those patterns is that so many don't assume your hips are beautiful - but instead have the dress flare out, which is just perfect for me! I like the bowtie dress =)
    love,
    Bets

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    1. I agree - they suited most women, unlike modern fashion that is really designed for the long and thin. My fav was the orange and black dress (second group down).

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  5. Beautiful. Elegant. I made myself a couple 50s dresses, but they don't seem to sit on me as nicely as these do in these pics!!! Anyway, I think my favourite would have to be the black and white gingham on the Florida Fashions photo. I do like the pretty fabrics in other pics, but the style of the gingham is my favourite. The skirts are gorgeous too. (And check out those prices!!!!!)

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    1. I think women in the 1950s were a little more "hippy" than perhaps you are - you need hips for them to flare nicely. I do like the black and white gingham, I really like the wide white border at the bottom. I doubt they were made in China and probably lasted much longer than current dresses/skirts that cost heaps more!

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  6. Hello, What a great post! I can remember when women dressed like a lady and always looked pretty! We have lost the art of looking elegant yet modest, but also with a bit of flare.
    Happy Mothers Day!
    Hugs, Roxy

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    1. I completely agree - women are no longer "ladies" and that is not just by the way they dress, but the way their sit and walk and talk.

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  7. I would buy every one of those dresses if I could find them.
    They are all so feminine and pretty.
    Linda

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    1. I agree with you! My mother dressed this way. She was always put together and looked great! Lately I have been wearing more dresses and skirts. Lets start a movement to bring back tailored, tasteful femininity in fashion!

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  8. What a fabulous post! I love all things 1940s and 50s, so all these fashions are just what I adore! And the quotes are wonderful. Great, great post!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post as I really enjoyed putting it together :))

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  9. An absolutely beautiful post. What's happened to us?

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  10. Love it! I think all these quotes should be on billboards. ;)

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  11. A reassuring message, to be sure! We just know that wearing dresses seems right, don't we? Lots more choices available this spring in ready-to-wear, but we need to assess the styles and fabric. Many are made from clingy fabric. Cheap to produce, but negates the purpose entirely! And of course, you need a sweater with each, since they are always sleeveless(?!). My Best Dresses are home sewn. Takes time to make the fit just right, but the results are SO worth it...great post! D

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    1. I have noticed that modern fabrics in ready-made clothing is not very good, rubs easierly and it doesn't take long before they look worn, especially the jersey fabrics. I bought a lovely dress that no longer looks as nice because of the rubbed fabric and I have only worn it one season. My mother use to wear dresses for years and they always looked smart and the fabric seemed to hold well.

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  12. What beautiful pictures -- Thank you for sharing them! I love 50's dresses!!!
    In case you were interested, I have found lovely site with retro-inspired dresses at www.eshakti.com. Although most of the dresses are shown in shorter lengths, you can customize the dress length for a small fee. I usually pick the dress I want and then add sleeves, change the neckline and change the length to mid-calf. Enjoy! :)

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  13. I have found a lot of brand new patterns from the 1950's on Etsy.com !
    Thank you for this wonderful Post !

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  14. Almost every one of these fashions would be word with a tight girdle and a crinoline - that is how you get that "flare" you say you love so much. There's a reason women tossed the confining and hot girdles as fast as they could - for better or for worse. If you've ever spent several hours down on hands and knees gardening in a boned corset - and I have - you'd start to understand.

    Of course, if women would just keep an eye on their figures like they used to, and watch their diets closely, we wouldn't have nearly as many slovenly looking women roaming about anyways. Same goes for men.

    You can buy reproduction 50s clothing, along with vintage, online. It's a popular category for reenacting. Lace gloves, those little feathery veiled hats - it's all out there for money. Estate sales are good hunting grounds.

    Hipster culture has made vintage remakes popular and available in trendy stores and departments again. Stores are swimming in maxi dresses, midi skirts, and pencil skirts that go below the knee are always around. If you can't find it in store, go online. If you can't find it online, you're looking in the wrong places. Entire stores that have been around for decades exist solely by drawing their fashion inspiration from the past. If you're older and think you can't shop in one of these stores aimed at 30-40 year olds, well, who cares? Midi skirts are timeless. Buy it anyway and wear it in a way some snippy 20 year old could never manage. If it's too expensive, then do what they used to do - save up, buy it, and have far fewer clothes. Or run the costs and buy your own fabric and make one. Can't sew? Hire someone who can. Own less, but better. One good practical skirt is worth ten that scrunch, bunch, itch, run too high, are slit up the back, are uncomfortable when sitting, pinch at the waist, or make you feel drab.

    Happy hunting.

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    1. *worn, not word

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    2. I remember the girdle very well as my mother wore one for many years - they weren't the most comfortable and she quickly removed hers on hot summer days as they were very more uncomfortable.

      I have notice a number of summer dresses worn by hispters that are reminiscent of the 1950s, just much shorter and fabric a little more lighter.

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  15. What a lovely post, thank you for sharing it with us at Good Morning Mondays. I too really like the dresses of the 50's era and they were lovely. Oh for women to dress like women, and I especially like the quote "Dress how you want other women to dress around your husband", exactly right. Blessings to you and have a great week.

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    1. Thanks Terri - it is nice to revisit these outfits and perhaps find a way to wear them again!! I have noticed that some of these older patterns are being reprinted so they can be made. I have bought a couple of winter skirt patterns that came from the 1950s.

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  16. It was so much fun reading this post today. It brought back such great memories of the type of clothes my dear Mom used to wear. I think fashion back then was quite classy!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it so much - as I was doing it, it also brought back memories of my mother in her younger days.

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  17. I love these styles, as well ... just gorgeous ... I have been making skirts for myself and finding some at thrift stores but I have been having a challenging time trying to find tops to go with the skirts that are not tank tops or t-shirts! Any tips?

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    1. I can make skirts now quite well, but not overly successful with tops, but still trying to improve my skills!! it is really hard, I do wear t-shirts and often add a scarf or pretty beads to jazz it up, but I have noticed a range of "shell" tops that are made of a soft fabric which are really nice and comfortable to wear and more dressy than Ts. A blouse is another option, but I don't like them to be tight across the bust otherwise they are very uncomfortable, and I am worried that the buttons might pop!!

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  18. Those were the days... Lovely pictures and I appreciate the message of modesty Jo. Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week :)

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    1. Thanks Jess :)) have a wonderful end of week .

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  19. Fashion has certainly changed since the 1950's. I love summertime, so I can pack away my jeans and wear my cotton dresses. Thanks for sharing on Small Victories Sunday link up.

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    1. I also love my summer frocks in all their pretty colours :)) we are now in winter but I still try to wear bright colours :))

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