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How to Wear the 1950s Trend Without Looking Like a Vintage Barbie

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May 5, 2020

History repeats itself. That is a fact. Fashion repeats itself too. Just go look through my teenage daughter’s closet. It is chock full of 90s fashion throwbacks like windbreakers, high-waisted jeans, combat boots, and sunflower prints. I wasn’t, and I am still not ready, for my own teen decade to repeat itself quite so quickly!

New Year’s Eve focused on the Gatsby-style bashes from the 1920s. Fall fell hard for flare leg pants and multi-colored stripes circa the 1970s. Is Spring is shaping up for a sock hop? Not quite … but the 1950s-inspired style from your grandmother’s day is showing its crinoline this upcoming season. Here’s what to look for and stock up on this spring to get the 1950s feel in your closet.

Follow the Rule of ‘S’

Sweater sets were kind of a big deal back in the day. Combined with a poodle or pencil skirt, your look was on point. Today take a spin with a cardigan but modernize this classic outfit by looking for a revamped spencil skirt. Perhaps croc-embossed leather or vegan leather pencil skirts, a plaid pencil, or one with a large belted buckle at the waist? Find a floral print pencil skirt to add some spice to this sweet ensemble. No matter how you wear it … the pencil skirt and cardigan sweater pairing follow the rule of ‘s’: sweaters and skirts are always in style. 

Want to jazz up that cardigan?  You don’t have to stick to a staid button-down in a solid color. Go for embellishment with a touch of velvet or embroidered trim on the front panels. Cardigans with collars bedecked in jewels or lace are a lovely touch too. Don’t forget to add personalization.  You can totally incorporate a monogram on that cardigan to complete the 1950s style.

Less is More

Homing in on the fifties can be tricky. You don’t want to go too far and look like a vintage Barbie, but you do want to add some subtle twists with pieces you already own. It’s easier than you think. The 1950s were all about bright colors. Pops of pink, saturated grass and lime greens, baby blues and lemony yellows. Think red lipstick and nails. 

Pick up a set of kitten heel shoes to play up your daily work look. A bright shade, satin or embellished pair is perfect. As you create your outfit for the day, do small things like accentuate your waist. Straw bags are a huge trend this spring and they were back in the Big Bopper days too. Shop online at stores like Unique Vintage for ideas. Little tricks add dimension and a vintage feel that still works today without going over into kitsch.

Accessorize to Modernize

Pearls are pretty much a standard when it comes to wardrobe staples. How to wear them and the type you wear varies over the seasons. To create the fifties feel with pearls you want to find a single, short strand that can be worn at the collar bone. Not a choker and not a multiple strand set. Worn your pearls with a pencil skirt and cardigan or a V-neck sweater or plain white t-shirt for a new take on this trend.

Another embellishment is a hair bow worn at the back or the nape of your neck.  Choose a stylish black velvet one, a jewel-encrusted type, or one with a flower at its center. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it adds a sweet touch to your weekend brunch outfit or even a more glamorous night out. 

What trends do you want to try this spring?

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