1950’s Style Guide
During the 1950’s hats were worn daily by almost all women, it was a part of their attire as was a pair of gloves. 1950’s hats ranged in size and design, there were several styles for women to choose from.
The styles ranged widely. The brims could be wide or narrow, no brims, high or low crowns. They wore capulets, half hats, pillbox hats and perching hats, and all were very popular. They were secured to the head using elastics, combs and clips.
The materials they were made from also varied, straw, raffia, wool felt for the winter, velvet, silk and satin. The hats were often decorated, sometimes with flowers, veils, netting and ribbons.
Each lady would have a hat to match her accessories, or vice versa, handbags were chosen carefully to complete the outfit. It was lucky to have a coin in the bag. Hats were made in a variety of colours for all seasons.
Wide Brim Hats
One of our collections the “Simply Audrey Collection” was inspired by both my love for this period and the beautiful hats worn by Audrey Hepburn. These large brim hats are suitable for when a lady wants to make a big statement and stand out from the crowd, while remaining very elegant. We have made these hats for events such as Royal Ascot and Goodwood Revival as well as for weddings.
Pillbox and Tilt Hats
A very popular style of hat worn from the early part of the decade until the mid 50’s were small hats or caps which covered the back of the head to almost the front of the head depending on the individual style. They fitted comfortably often held on with a pair or single hat pin if the wire within the half hat gripped insufficiently well. The hats were either unlined in side or had a satin lining. The hat structure was made from Paris netting which enabled milliners to drape the fabric covering the half hat easily. Due to the size and simplicity of the hat they were both light and comfortable. These hats were also known as capulets or Juliette caps.
Cloche hats were once again popular during the 50’s. The hats resembled, some might say, an up turned bucket hat and were not similar in many ways to those made during the 20’s. Their trims were angled and quite simple, whilst the hats were made from felt similar to 30 years earlier, they were also made from textured furs and soft velvet. As with many hats from this era, a simple velvet band decorated with a small bow or pin was very fashionable and easy to wear. The cloches themselves varied in style from the early 50’s to the later years of this decade.
The ‘New Look’ Fashion
The New look was the successful style of Christian Dior. It was the post war attempt to revive France as the acclaimed international fashion industry as it had be prior to the war.The term ‘New Look’ came about accidentally after the editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Carmel Snow, expressed that the new designs were such a new look. This phrase then became the description of the designs from this particular style.The key elements of the New Look were dresses with flowing full skirts, narrow, waspish waist lines and soft rounded shoulder shapes. After the long years of rationing due to the war, the yards upon yards of fabric were used in the new designs. The body shape was displayed with both elegance and simplicity. The jackets which were designed to compliment the new look style were tailored to produce a very feminine look. The alternative was a slim silhouette dress called the wiggle dress. This clung to the body and revealed all the natural curves.
It was a time of great changes after the turmoil that was experienced during the 1940’s. During the 50’s the fabrics used included cotton and silk, but many dresses were made from fabrics which were synthesised from petrochemicals. The beauty of this fabric was that it was easy to wash and quick to drip dry. Ironing was not always a necessity.
Gloves were an essential part of dress, an outfit was not considered complete if gloves were not worn.Three lengths of gloves were worn, wrist, elbow and opera, these were over the elbow length. Long gloves were most prevalent from the 40s to the 60s. They were an essential accessory of Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ designs. Satin and stretch satin were the most popular fabrics, the kid leather gloves, worn in previous decades, were no longer as fashionable.