Category Archives: Swingin’ Styles & Fashions

There’s more to the 50’s fashion than poodle skirts

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Ladies Fashion In The 50′s

“There’s more to the 50’s fashion than poodle skirts, neck scarves and pony tails.”

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After the world war 2 had interrupted the evolution of fashion through the early 40’s, the new trends in fashion were overdue. Fashion designers such as Christian Dior chose to change the silhouette of women’s clothes for the 1950’s. In February 1947, Christian Dior launched it’s new collection known in fashion history as ‘The New Look.” The shape included a pointed bust, small waist, below-mid-calf length full skirt and the much more feminine rounded shoulder line.

Although women love the latest trends, America’s fashion magazines continued to show padded shoulders until 1950, initially making the new silhouette struggle to be accepted. However, the softness of the “The New Look” radically became popular among “movies stars” and then the general public soon followed. As the textiles industry began redeveloping new synthetic fabrics, easy care processes were introduced; allowing for a greater choice for designers and also making it much easier for the customer to care for.

By the mid-50’s Dior’s “The New Look” was being replaced by Coco Chanel who made her comeback with the “Chanel Suit.” It was typically an A-line skirt and braid-trimmed cardigan-style jacket. It was so quickly accepted into fashion that by 1957 most suits were featuring lightly fitted jackets that were only just below the waist and shorter narrower skirts.

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Teenagers will be teenagers

Growing up as a teenager prior to World War II, teenagers were expected to take life seriously. Females were taught how to take care of the household and prepare themselves to be a dutiful wife and take care of children. Marriage and preparing for a family, more than education or a career, was seen as a definite in the lives of teenagers. Also, teens had very little economic freedom, independence, and input into decision making prior to WWII.

However, in the 1950’s, expectations changed for the teenager. The economy started booming and families experienced a great deal of economic power, freedom and independence, including teenagers. Changes to music radio and new media forms such as television also helped coin teenage fashion and perceptions.

Due to these changing times and more independent attitudes, a more rebellious trend in the fashion began to develop. The fashion for youth was also heavily influenced by “the stars” and the “rock and roll” craze. Waist hugging brightly coloured skirts became popular for dancing. Tight fitting blouses, designed to show off a women’s features, such as her bust and waist were adopted by some women. The blouse was then tucked into the “Capri” pants or “Pedal pushers,” which were slim line, calf length trousers.

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Dresses

“A 50s dress will always impress”

The day dresses had fitted bodices, full skirts and jewel/low-cut necklines and peter pan collars. Shirt dresses, were exactly like the name suggested, a shirt-like bodice and full skirt. Halter-top sundresses were also popular. The skirts or bottom of dresses were very full, and held out with petticoats, even with poodles or musical instruments on them. However these particular bright coloured skirts seen in movies like Grease, were a brief fad. There was also another style of skirt which was popular, known as the ‘Pencil skirts.’ These were very narrow and hip hugging, showing off all the right curves. The evening-wear was mostly the same “Ballerina” length as the day dresses, even sometimes featuring full frothy skirts. Cocktail dresses were also popular when parties were of the early evening, they may have been dressier than a day dress, but were nowhere near as formal as a dinner dress.

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Shoes

At the beginning of the 50’s, shoes were very high, with rounded or peep toes, and low cut uppers. Strapped sandals with thinner heels were pop as were thicker heels on shows that were not as high. Towards the middle of this era, kitten heels and metal tipped stilettos soon made a statement, reaching heights of up to 5 inches. A flat white shoe, which had patches of coloured leather sewn across the instep became popular at this time. They were known as saddle shoes and were considered to be a “sporty shoe.”

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The full skirts needed some sort of support in order to hold the shape that was desired. Petticoats made of nylon were worn to get the right fullness, without gloves a women was not completely accessorised.  Although gloves were worn in many colours, white and cream were most popular. They were usually made of cotton however leather gloves, were also popular.  Glasses were of a cat eye-shape or butterfly wings, and were finished with diamantes and glitter in the upper corners. The bags that were used in the fifties, were usually held by the hand, or over the arm. They had side pockets, or rings to help ladies keep track of their gloves. Larger bags were popular when women travelled great distances into town, or when ladies wore their stilettos. They often carried with them an extra pair of flatter shoes in their bags.

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Hair and Hats

With Dior’s “New Look,” women wore their hair short and curled, and hats were a must, unless the occasion was overly casual. Hats that were trendy included wide-brimmed saucer hats, until smaller hats soon took over. By the mid-50’s, women began spending more time in the salon, so hats were worn less as they flattened fuller hairstyles like bouffants, french rolls and the beehive which became popular. The tougher girls of the time wore their hair long and straight, whilst the teens wore ponytails whether they were short or long. For women who saw themselves as “sophisticated,” they wore permanent waves, otherwise known as “perms,” which were popular among celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Doris Day. Everyday women could create more adventurous and glamourous hairstyles because hairsprays and rollers were available for home use.

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Make-up

Most women desired to have the unblemished appearance of the stars they saw on television and on film. This included creating a pale, mask like complexion using foundation and powder. Eyebrows were worn much thicker and often highlighted using an eye brow pencil to create a look similar to that of Marilyn Monroe. In the mid-fifties cat like eye liner (wings) was a very important part of the look. It did not matter what length, size, height or thickness the wings were as long as they were present. For the regular housewife, lip shapes were drawn quite natural, following the shape of the lips, however the movie stars preferred to draw their top lip to create a “fuller look.” Most wore bright cherry red colours until the late end of the fifties where titanium was added to create subtler tones.

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Swimwear

The era saw swim wear become much more fitting and curvaceous, highlighting a lady’s hourglass look. Swimsuits resembled a corset as provided shape and support. Suits included both strapless one pieces with the apron style from the 40’s as well as bikini’s with the belly button always hidden. As women’s hair changed to shorter curled styles, swimming caps also were important to protect

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Modern  Perceptions

Grease Influences - Poodle Skirts, Polka Dots, Bobby Socks,
Rockabilly Influences - Tattoos, Bandannas, Jeans, Pin Up Dolls, Wedge Heels, Extreme Hair Style & Rolls,
Mad Men Tv Series - Bringing It Back To Traditional Fashions And Styles Written In The Article.

wrong againyour doing it wrong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Researched And Written By Miss Suzie Aka Hello Kitty

 
Some More Links For The Enthusiast:
50′s Pinterest / Dresses / Mad Men Fashions / 100 Greatest Songs 1950′s / 50′s Sex Symbols /                  How To “Hair” / How To “Make Up” / 50′s Hosiery

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How To Talk The Swing!

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phot8268 300x247So you’ve got the swing look, with your threads and shoes, you can walk the walk but can you, talk the talk….?

Hepcats and Hepkittens here’s a few words and sentences to get you “back-to-date” with the swing slang…otherwise known as SLING!

  1. Bearcat: A sexy or seductive woman.
  2. Beat one’s gums: To talk.
  3. Behind the 8-Ball: In trouble, disliked by someone.
  4. Bill and coo: Hug and Kiss.
  5. Cat: musician in swing band.
  6. Comes on like gangbusters: Lays, sings, or dances in a terrific manner.
  7. Fine dinner: a good looking girl.
  8. Frisking the whiskers: what the cats do when they are warming up for a swing session.
  9. Gimme some skin: Shake hands.
  10. Hep cat: A cool guy who knows all the answers, understands jive.
  11. Hepkitten: Cool girl.
  12. Jalopy: An old beaten up car.
  13. Jive: Harlemese speech or lingo; or to kid along, to blarney, to give a girl a line.
  14. Joint is jumping: The place is lively, the club is leaping with fun.
  15. Lay some iron: To tap dance.
  16. Mitt pounding: Applause, clapping.
  17. Muggin’: Making ‘em laugh, putting on the jive.
  18. Off the cob: Corny, out of date.
  19. Tied to an apron string: Dominated by the wife or a woman.
  20. You don’t know which platters to pick: You don’t know which records to pick.

So Katz and Kittens next time your about on the town, spread the word! – Hello Kitty (aka The Suzeeee)

P.S. – Feel Free To Add More To This List Guys ….

 

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The Zoot Suit !

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Filed under Historical Korner, Swingin' Styles & Fashions

A Little Bit Of A Story About One Of The Most Iconic Male Fashions….

The Zoot Suit -

cabcalloway1It was the “Hipster’s” suit, usually associated with Swing Dancing and Swing / Jazz music but was also popularized by African Americans, Latino Americans, Italian Americans, Entertainers and unfortunately Street Thugs during the late 1930s and 1940s. In England bright-colored zoot suits with velvet lapels that bore a slight resemblance to Edwardian clothing were worn by Teddy boys.

Zoot suits were for special occasions, such as a dance or a birthday party. The amount of material and tailoring required made them luxury items, so much so that the U.S. War Production Board said that they wasted materials that should be devoted to the World War II war effort. This extravagance during wartime was a factor in the Zoot Suit Riots. Wearing the oversized suit was a declaration of freedom and self-determination, even rebelliousness. In 1942 Zoot Suit production was halted due to the war effort (and also im sure the riots helped contribute to this in america).

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  • The Jacket was knee length with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders.
  • The pants: High-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed, pegged trousers.
  • The Chain was a long watch chain hanging down from belt to pocket. (while most used the pull chain off the toilet if they couldn’t afford a custom chain.)
  • The Hat – felt fedora and with a feather.

The Riot  -

The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of riots in 1943 during World War II that erupted in Los Angeles, California between European-American sailors and Marines stationed throughout the city and Latino youths, who were recognizable by the zoot suits they favored. While Mexican Americans were the primary targets of military servicemen, African American and Filipino/Filipino Americanyouth were also targeted.The Zoot Suit Riots were in part the effect of the infamous Sleepy Lagoon murder which involved the death of a young Latino man in a barrio near Los Angeles.

Zootsuit2 300x240The riots began in Los Angeles, amidst a period of rising tensions between American servicemen stationed in southern California and Los Angeles’ Mexican-American community. Although Mexican-American men were, for their numbers, disproportionately over represented in the military, many servicemen resented seeing so many Latinos socializing in clothing many considered unpatriotic and extravagant in wartime

The incident triggered similar attacks against Latinos in Beaumont, Chicago, San Diego, Detroit, Evansville, Philadelphia, and New York -j

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Women’s Fashions 1920 -1930

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Filed under Swingin' Styles & Fashions

Okay Now Its The Ladies Turn – The Endless List Of Hats, Shoes, Hand Bags, And Dress Styles Of The 20s icon smile This Was The First Time Of Women’s Liberation In Style ! And A Time Where One Miss Coco Chanel Rose To Fame …. First Lets Add Some More Historical Knowledge To What We Already Have From The Mens Blog.

Swingin’ Styles & Fashions

Short History:

Historians have characterized the decade as a time of frivolity, abundance and happy-go-lucky attitudes. In 1920, women got the right to vote, and a year earlier, alcohol had become illegal. World War I had just ended. The 1920′s would mark the first youth revolution, long before the 1960′s.

alg 1920 300x217Young people were very indignant after World War I, and felt the older generation had just murdered millions of young boys. So they stopped obeying conventional rules and invented their own liberated culture: driving their own cars, and drinking, and petting with people they weren’t married to. And, for the first time in history, older women started copying younger women. For the first time, everyone wanted the thinness and relative bosomlessness of early adolescence. People felt free-spirited and wanted to have fun. As a result, fashions became less formal. The biggest phenomenom of the 1920′s was the worship of youth.

It was a romantic era for fashion, which is why people look back at this era with great fondness and still emulate its style. The era set the standard for the modern concept of beauty. 1920s fashion was about so much more than fringed flapper dresses and feathered headbands, the cliche that many people associate with the era.

Women’s Dresses

The Decade That Brought Bright Colours & Showed Off Ladies Legs!

1920s color and styles1920′s Dresses were lighter and brighter and shorter than ever before. Fashion designers played with fabric colors, textures and patterns to create totally new styles of dress. Hemlines rose for most of the decade but dropped slightly toward the end.(Hemlines hovered at the lower calf at the start of the 1920s and remained there until nearly 1925 when they rose to an unprecedented high — the bottom of the knee. They stayed there until 1929 when they dropped back down to the lower calf). Shoes and stockings assumed a greater prominence now that they were more visible. Silk stockings in all the colors of the rainbow, often with patterns, were designed to match the coordinated outfits of stylish women.

1928 womenDaywear - There were two important ethnic influences on the fabric and prints of the 1920s. One was a Chinese influence, with kimono-styling, embroidered silks, and the color red. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb brought a rash of Egyptian fashion and and accessories, including snake bracelets that encircled the upper arm. Small floral and geometric prints were prevalent throughout the decade, especially toward the latter half.

Evening clothes were made of luxurious fabrics — mostly silks — in velvets, taffetas and chiffon.Dresses were designed to move while dancing. Some had long trailing sashes, trains or asymmetric hemlines. Typically, women did not wear hats for evening, but instead wore fancy combs, scarves and bandeaux.

Flapper Fashion

Flappers did not truly emerge until 1926.  Flapper fashion embraced all things and styles modern.  A fashionable flapper had short sleek hair, a shorter than average shapeless shift dress, a chest as flat as a board, wore make up and applied it in public, smoked with a long cigarette holder, exposed her limbs and epitomised the spirit of a reckless rebel who danced the nights away in the Jazz Age.

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Swim Wear

Barer bathing wear took on special significance as an expression of women’s newfound freedom. Swimsuits of the 1920s were either short taffeta shifts or tight, sleeveless wool tank suits with built-in undershorts which stopped at mid-thigh. Women protected their bobbed hairdos by wearing bathing caps. Some women, especially in the most fashionable resorts, wore dramatic cover-ups over their suits. People became health-food, exercise and sun-worship oriented in a major fitness fad, triggered by all that flesh out in public view for the first time.

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Hair & Makeup

The 1920s saw a universal fashion for short hair a more radical move beyond the curtain styles of the war era. Women chopped off the poufy hairdos of the 1900s and 1910s for modern ‘bobbed,” waved or shingled styles. Those stragglers who chose not to cut their hair wore it pulled back at the nape of the neck and knotted in a chignon. Popular styles of the time included The Bob, The Dutch Boy, the Shingle, And the Eton Crop in (An Eton crop was considered the most daring).

During the era there was an increased use of make up and it was fashionable to perform the rites of make up in public.  Instead of disappearing to the powder room women got out their engraved compact and applied lipstick and powder in sight of a whole restaurant or nightclub or tearoom.  Ox blood lipstick was used lavishly, but rouge was still used sparingly.

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1920s ladies accessories and hair styles

Accessories

Hats - In the early 1920s, hats had deep crowns and medium-to-large brims, but in 1923, brims began disappearing and hats became helmet-like. These hats, or cloches, were quite popular even though they were the fad for most of the 1920s, finally easing out of fashion around 1930.

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Jewellery - The Art Deco movement was a popular design style of the 1920′s that often used strong colors and geometric shapes to convey the “modern” look. Jewelry materials ranged from the new plastics through to rubies, gold, and platinum.

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Shoes - Daytime shoes were neat and feminine looking, with oval toes and straight, high heels. Strapped shoes were called Mary Janes, T bar shoes or others with buckles and bows made interesting fashion statements. Sequin or diamante trims were quite usual. Heels were over 2 inches high and waisted until the 1930s when they were lower straighter Cuban shapes.

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Others - The Endless List Of Ladies Accessories icon smile Hand Bags, Gloves, Umbrellas, Boa’s

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endless supply

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There Have Been A Flood Of Recent Tv Series With Fashions From This Time Period Lookout For Underbelly: Razor & Boardwalk Empire HBO

So there You Have It Gals All The Fashion Knowledge And Photos You Can Handle – j



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