1950s Rock n' Roll and Office Secretary Inspired
Makeup Trends and Styles
If you ever watched the TV hit series, "Happy Days", you have some good ideas
about Fifties fashions during that fabulous decade. Teenage girls' costumes
included cashmere twin sets and poodle skirts for date nights, nice, mid-calf
length dresses to school and simpler skirts or even blue jeans at home. Trends
were conservative, although rock and roll would soon change that. The casual
hairstyle was a ponytail, wrapped in a scarf. When you washed the car, you might
substitute the scarf for a bandana, which was easier to wash than chiffon.
The sexy secretary fashion of the 1950s.
Teen 1950s doo wop fashion for girls.
Fabulous “Nifty” Fifties Trend Background
The Nifty Fifties were a continuation of Forties femininity, with a little added
paranoia. Those men left alive had come home from war. The unusual thing about
WWII was that for the first time, women's work had expanded to all sorts of
jobs—not just teaching or nursing. Women had worked in munitions factories,
shipyards, banks—everywhere a man had gone to war, a woman had taken his place.
But when the war ended, the factories and industries employing women dismissed
them summarily and en masse. Women were sent home—even the single ones, the
widowed with children, the ones who wanted and needed to work. Many women were
delighted to return to housework and wifehood after years of hard work and
privation. Some were angry and hurt at the change from wage earner to housewife.
All were disenfranchised.
Soon, babies were created and born in enormous numbers. The Baby Boom forced the
country into something resembling normalcy: after all, kids require diapers and
kindergartens and puppies and homes in the suburbs. It's hard to hang onto the
vintage past when the future is cooing in your face.
50’s Feminine Fashions Meant Lookin’ for a Husband
Fashion changed with the country. Once again, a woman's main occupation was in
the marital hunt, and after the hunt, bliss and childbearing. For the hunt,
women needed the tools of the trade—makeup, perfume, high heels, ultra-feminine
wardrobes. In contrast to the scaled-down fashions of WWII, Fifties styles were
fluffy with petticoats, bosomy and leggy. The Forties figure was slim and
straight, with shoulder pads to make a bolder, more responsible appearance. The
ideal Fifties era figure was rounded, curvy and made for love. Smart girls
pretended dumbness and dumb girls reveled in being pretty. Movies started an odd
trend, though. Eyeglasses became fashionable. Cat's eye styles, rhinestones and
bizarre shapes brought attention to the eyes. In "How to Marry a Millionaire",
Marilyn Monroe taught the world that men would make passes at girls who wore
glasses—even rich men. (But in the movie, Marilyn's character got the line
wrong, saying, "Men aren't attentive to girls who wear glasses".
The 1950’s Married Housewife Glamour Girl
The quintessential '50s married glamour girl was Lucille Ball, whose fashion
sense was as rigorous as her business acumen proved to be. Lucy's poodle haircut
was perfect for the day; shorter, but perfectly controlled by permanent and
frequent trips to the salon. Hair spray became commonly used, making more
complicated hair styles possible. Peaches and cream make up replaced any
previous vamp-styled pallor. Lips were rosy pink or red and welcoming; eyes were
lined in mascara (the one cosmetic that has never gone out of fashion). Eyeliner
made an appearance at night, as well as pastel nail color and eye shadow colors
in blue and green. Foundation was de rigueur.
Evening Makeup Looks and Trends for the 50s
Evening cosmetics shimmered in shades of pink for lips and eye shadow reaching
past the lid. Eyebrows were plucked thin and slightly high, as if to underscore
the naiveté of the woman below them. Dimples were revered, but not freckles,
unless you were a child. Bangs often consisted of pincurls, finger fluffed into
a fringe. Women looked like dolls—the girl next door for daytime became an
elegant Parisian model by night. For a nation returning from war, it was a
return to a safe, romantic fantasy.
1950s teen party themes might include the sock hop, with dancers wearing rolled
up jeans and penny loafers or vintage circle skirts and Oxford shoes.
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