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1950's Housewife Dresses, Hairstyles and Lingerie

Updated on November 13, 2010

This is a guide that, if followed diligently, can only result in nigh authentic capturing of the 1950's style of dress associated most with the lovely 1950's housewife. Here we will eschew descriptions of scandalous teenage fashion which eventually lead to the horrors of modernity and focus on the attire of the proper housewife.

As a 1950's housewife you wear dresses, skirts, and blouses. You do not wear pants, because you are not a Russian peasant, you are a lady. As a result of the rampant production and innovation mentioned in the first part of this most excellent guide to being a 1950's housewife, many of the fabrics you wear are new synthetics. Nylon, Polyester (though you will refer to this by the far more charming name of 'Crimpelene',) and a now defunct material, Orlon. You love synthetic fabrics as they not only make you feel superior by merit of being technologically advanced, but also because they usually hold their shape very well whilst being washed and may not even need to be ironed. Fancy that!

For much of the 1950's a demure housewife would wear high waisted dresses with skirts that flowed out demurely to about the mid calf. Skirts were always flowing and wide, however by contrast, blouses were often small and very fitted. This created a feminine silhouette by emphasizing the bust and the beginnings of the hips a way very flattering for a lady with larger thighs. The hourglass was the shape of the 1950's,

Hair should be soft and curly, in sharp contrast to the long straight hair worn by the hippies yet to spring forth from the loins of good law abiding 1950's housewives. An extreme of this look is the poodle cut, a hairstyle designed to make the wearer look vaguely canine like.

But what would you be wearing under those clothes? Well my dears, the 1950s were all about good support. You see a great deal of corselettes, girdles and suspender belts, the idea was to tightly control the female form in a way that was effective, yet not quite as barbaric as the corsets of days gone by. Bras were soft cones that created a rather notable look when worn under blouses or sweaters, and although they tended to make one look rather angular, everyone agreed that the look was swell indeed.

So, the key points to remember are as follows:

  • Kitten heels
  • Conical bras
  • Nylon stockings and blouses.
  • Fitted, feminine blouses, sweaters and jackets.
  • Flowing skirts that largely obscured the legs until the mid calves.

And there you are, all dressed up and ready to take your place behind the stove.


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      How cool of a Hub - I clicked on someone else's Hub and got your's. Very nifty. My Mother graduated in 1956 and she wore all the styles you mentioned. My Dad - was proud of his pink shirt!! (Not mentioned in this Hub)

      I happen to have Lucille Balls' autograph!!

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Nice work, Sherman! It's always nice to see your insightful and interesting comments :)

    • profile image

      Sherman 8 years ago

      After looking up Orlon, I suspect it was too durable--the clothes lost fashion before it wore out. Dupont has outdone itself on some products. Another was 501 nylon. We had a carpet that just never wore out. It did wear out the knees in many pairs of trousers, jeans and tights of kids who played on that carpet. After many years the carpet was moved from the living room to a bedroom. Now decades old, it doesn't look it. Orlon probably was pulled out of the clothing fabrics about the time when fashion updating and new trends became more important than clothes lasting a long time. Imagine a house dress, skirt or blouse so durable, new looking and comfortable that you didn't feel the need to buy another.

    • profile image

      Sherman 8 years ago

      Orlon. Orlon. What happened? I remember Orlon. Was it too durable? What is the reason this once prevalent thread seams to have gone extinct? This invites a bit of research. This could be interesting. :-)

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      As someone who didn't make it through the first convoluted chapters of LOTR in which people walked around a lot and not much happened, I have no idea. But I hope for humanity's sake that the answer is yes.

    • profile image

      GoneNylon 8 years ago


      Wasn't he a character in Lord of the Rings? Had a house by a river? Sashayed around in gossamer tunics? THAT Orlon?

    • profile image

      phil aka phyliss 8 years ago

      love it.