When life is full of turmoil and challenge we tend to look backwards for comfort: comfort foods that we remember from childhood, all-time favorite movies, and our old, most comfortable clothes. So, make of this what you will, but vintage looks from the 50s and 60s are having a “moment” – or maybe longer.
These styles are typically feminine, refined, and increasingly popular, especially among very young women who enjoy the idea of dressing in a “costume.” Fashions from this era, with all their trim silhouettes and attention to detail, are a counterpoint to the over sized, loose, and baggy clothing we have been seeing (and wearing) everywhere for the past few years, particularly in 2020.
A wise friend observed that we tend to see changes in our bodies and our looks at half-decade periods in our lives: 45-55, 55-65, etc. I think this is also applicable to fashion. The styles of the 1940s bled over into the 1950’s, the styles from the 1950s carried over into the 1960s. Here are a few examples of some of the new “retro” items from the 1950s and early 1960s and some sites where you can find them.
First up is a company that is riding the wave of this trend called Simple Retro. They straddle a few vintage decades but carry a fair amount of 50s and 60s styles. This blue sweater on the right is pretty much a direct copy of something I tried to knit back then. They did a better job. The collared Henley style is showing up in many places right now.
Bow blouses and tops appear about every ten years or so, although we saw them as recently as 2017. And they are back now. The soft lilac color, pleats, and buttons of this one on the left gives it almost a 30s vibe.
Modcloth also carries a lot of retro fashion including cute plus size things. They have been catering to retro style lovers for years. They even categorize their items in decades from the 1940s to the 1990s. So you’ll find a lot of longer skirt lengths as minis didn’t make their shocking appearance until the mid 1960s, when all previous fashion rules went out the window. Their items are primarily suited for Youthful and Romantic style types.
Simple Retro also has several longer skirt styles.
Soda Fountain Days
When I see argyle sweaters, Collared Henleys and embroidered button downs I think of high school days and images of girls sitting on the hoods of convertibles or drinking at soda fountains (well, at least I did sit at soda fountains.)
And I imagined them wearing saddle shoes. I wore them but I hated them. That’s because I could never get the laces to be the same tightness on each shoe. And they were ugly. But they were my “prescription” footwear when my growing feet needed correction.
Now, however, they hold a certain charm. I envision them worn with ankle socks (and that are now having a resurgence), pleated skirts, and button-down cardigans. And they still exist very much like we saw them then.
Speaking of shoes, back in the day (which is the new way of saying “back in the old days.” I guess someone decided that the work “old” was a dirty word,) our go-to everyday shoes were sneakers and we loved them in multiple colors. Yep – they’re back too now. All of these are from Walmart.
For dances and dates we wore sling backs, t-straps, kitten heels, and pretty flats. Things haven’t changed much in these styles since then. All these below are from Modcloth.
And these are all from Nordstrom and would work with almost any current style, except maybe for the pale beige one. It still looks pretty dated to me.
Dresses and Coats – Old and New
These are items that can’t be mistaken for anything modern. The silhouettes give it all away. Some of them are full on Mad Men.
The first one on the left is from a site in the UK called Lady London. Maybe it’s the fascination with the “The Crown” that is fueling a resurgence of 50s style.
And then there are the coats. These are often rounded in silhouette or detail and sometimes belted. This faux fur to the right is from another British company called Beyond Retro. They have actual vintage pieces from many decades, and if you are a vintage fan their site is a treasure trove.
Missing the Target
Finally, if you are hankering to go WAY back you might be inspired by some of the offerings at Target this season. (What were they thinking??)
Stay well, stay centered. And check out my YouTube page too (link below.)
[A few of these are carried by my affiliates. If you purchase them I might receive a small commision at no additional cost to you. It helps keep my website going.]