Retro Stage Retrospective: Looking Back at the Fashion of the 1950s | Retro Stage
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Retro Stage Retrospective: Looking Back at the Fashion of the 1950s

/ Post by Nina Zhao

The 1950s were a period of marked economic prosperity as the US following the end of the Second World War. This combined with an increase in women’s status in the world led to a transformation in the fashion world, with elegant, dignified, and downright conservative outfits becoming the mainstream trend (with the exception of swimwear, which was becoming more revealing than ever in many cases!). Today, we’re taking a stroll down memory lane and examining ‘50s fashion through the lens of Retro Stage’s vintage-inspired collections.

Pink 1950s Strawberry Mesh Swing Dress

Swing dresses like this one have become a hallmark of the 1950s due to the decade’s historic association with events like sock hops, where teenagers would get together and show off their dance moves to the most popular songs of the day. This particular piece is decked out in a layer of mesh tulle dotted with hundreds of glittering strawberries, a sweet symbol of summer youth. Other eye-catching features include a waist panel with button detailing, a V-neckline, and two tulle shoulder bows.

Sky Blue 1950s Strap Polka Dot Swing Dress

Hearkening back to Marilyn Monroe’s historic appearance in The Seven Year Itch, this dress is as light and airy as they come. Its breathable polka-dotted fabric and prairie skirt are the ultimate in comfort and will help keep you cool as we head into the summer months. The piece is complete with a cinched waist panel and spaghetti straps to show off all your best features while you take a stroll in the sunshine.

Lace Strawberry Cami Tankini Set

Two-piece swimsuits gained traction in the 1940s that continued all throughout the ‘50s, and this lovely, feminine set is an excellent example of the type of suit that was becoming popular. It features a vintage high-waisted design on pink base fabric with a sparkly strawberry lace overlay and triple spaghetti straps, perfect for the start of the summer!

Checked 1950s Halter Bowknot One-Piece Swimsuit

Although two-pieces no doubt increased in popularity in the 1950s, the one-piece never disappeared completely, and we still see it commonly today. This modest swimsuit is made of brightly colored gingham fabric with white trim at the neckline and hem and a halter strap with a bow accent. To top it all off, horizontal ruching radiates out from the center to add texture and flatter the figure. But that’s not all—this piece is also available in four different colors and plus sizes, making it a super accessible suit that just about anyone can wear!

Black 1950s Butterfly Patchwork Vintage Dress

A high collar and crisp, sophisticated look make this dress a fun example of the type of dresses that 1950s women were starting to wear. The bodice is accented with white buttons, cap sleeves, and a collar bow, but in beautiful contrast, the beige skirt has a lace overlay adorned with black butterflies that bring an element of softness and whimsy to the piece.

Green 1950s Retro Halter Striped Bikini Set

This set puts a classic vintage pattern in the spotlight. With halter necklines hitting the scene in the decades leading up to the 1950s, this suit’s green-and-white striped top is a gorgeous homage to the era, especially when worn with the contrasting black bottoms. White button accents and a front-tying bow serve as the finishing touches on what is altogether a fantastic summer look.

1950s Floral Halter Lace-Up Bikini Set

Nowadays, it seems like no matter where you shop, you can find a floral swimsuit in a heartbeat. Would you believe this wasn’t always the case? These fun, feminine patterns were actually much less common in mid-20th-century swimsuits, so you could say this bikini set is a thoroughly modern take on a ‘50s two-piece with its vivid daisy print. What’s more, its modest high-waisted bottom and tied halter neckline create a very flattering silhouette that will have you feeling fabulous on the beach or at the pool.

2-Piece 1950s Cherry Spaghetti Strap Bikini Set

While florals may have been a rare sight in the 1950s, cherry print was still seeing some residual popularity after its heyday in the 1940s. This two-piece features iconic red cherries on a white top with spaghetti straps and a unique twist-front-esque accent. The high-rise bottoms are made with a thick waistband and horizontal ruching, which both ups the vintage factor and emphasizes the shape of the hips.

1950s Floral Halter Lace-Up Vintage Romper

High-waisted shorts with tucked shirts were huge in the ‘50s, but with the modern popularity of the romper, we took the liberty of combining two garments into one. This piece has a lovely daisy-print bodice with a tied halter V-neckline as well as green bottoms with white button accents. It’s a great all-in-one summer outfit that’s easy to wear and stays true to your vintage sensibilities.

1950s Strawberry Ruffle Strap Swimsuit 

This fun, artsy take on a vintage two-piece features bold print fabric inspired by strawberries, seeds and all. In an ingenious design choice, the green trim accents at the neckline and hem are gently ruffled so as to resemble the leaves of the plant. Finishing the suit are a set of triple spaghetti straps that add a modern twist to bring the look into the 21st century.


Though the 1950s have come and gone, Retro Stage is working constantly to keep the aesthetics and fashion ideals of those years alive in the modern day. We’re proud to have such a wonderful community of savvy individuals who share our love of all things vintage and are just as dedicated as we are to preserving these iconic styles. Thank you for joining us as we explored this rich period in fashion history!

You can check out the pieces from this list as well as a whole world of other 1950s-inspired pieces on our website.