The fifties saw waistlines shrink and skirts flare out. A-lines and Chanel suits helped less wealthy women look glamorous with high street replicas widely available whilst animal prints and rock’n’roll brought energy and expression to the fashion industry. Today, fifties fashion is revisiting our high street and everybody can get their hands on something inspired by this extraordinary decade. BUT, those small waistlines and tighter fits aren’t just for skinny-minnies, the fifties were made for beautiful, curvaceous women, women who didn’t have gym memberships, had an average of 2.4 children by the time they were 27 and were not yet taunted by images of Twiggy.
However, this story is a case of “seeing in believing.” I’d always thought my DD’s, broad shoulders and footballers legs were going to stop me looking more Manson than Monroe! To my dismay, one morning, more out of boredom and curiosity than anything, I saw a crimson skater dress, tried it on, and to my utter astonishment it looked A-MA-ZING! (Well I thought so at least.) The classic fifties shape with a high waistline pulls you in at the base of the ribcage and the skater skirt flares out at the same point, skimming across tummy, hips and thighs, anything that we want to hide is transformed into a sleek lines. If you’re heavy on top, try to keep the neckline low, but remember that although the fifties may have challenged boundaries but was still on the conservative side.
Take inspiration from the ladies of the time such as Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor who made conservative necklines and three-quarter length sleeves sexy, and more recently pay close attention to style guru Susannah Constantine, part of the T.V. wonder double-act that is “Trinny and Susannah”. Note how Susannah indulges her curves with tight pencils skirts which rise up as far as her bust, again pulling her in at the smallest part of her torso. It’s no coincidence that Trinny and Susannah became a stylist duo; tall and slender Trinny and curvaceous Susannah represent glamorous women across the body spectrum. Look into their library of books for insights into new looks, particularly “Who do you want to be today?” which shows both body types how to create outfits such as androgeny and diva!
SO get dressing ladies, and even if the first dress you try doesn’t quite suit you, don’t give up hope, keep looking, there’s a perfect frock out there for each one of us…just be sure not to overkill with leather gloves and pillbox hat a-la Jackie Kennedy, there is such as thing as taking it too far!