When I was first dipping my toes into mid-century style I found shopping really frustrating. Tops were too long, trousers where too low and nothing fit like I wanted it to. I had photo albums full of outfits I wanted to replicate but absolutely no clue what I was actually looking for. I needed to get my head out of high-street shopping mode and do some research!
I made a tea, opened Spotify and spent the rest of that night pinning photos of 40’s and 50’s women whose style I liked. I took note of the necklines, the fit, the patterns, the sleeves etc… What I found most interesting was seeing how clothing had changed over the two decades.
So, I’m dedicating this post to my favourite top styles of the 1950’s. Hopefully this guide will help you in your hunt for a vintage wardrobe. If you’re favourite style isn’t on the list I’d love to hear more about it!
You tended to see this style of top in stripes and block colours with 3/4 or capped sleeves. This transitioned into long sleeves in the early 60’s. The wide and high neckline is very flattering whatever your size and shape and gives an instant vintage feel to your outfit. If you’re a fan of Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe or the beatnik style of the late 50’s this is an essential piece!
I love a wrap top! It’s one of the most versatile vintage pieces you can own. These were available in so many different colours, patterns and sleeve lengths. While most were collarless, you could also purchase these with wide pointed collars or rounded stiff collars. This kind of top can be tied at the front, the side and the back so you can really make it work for your wardrobe and your style. I’m on the hunt for a pattern so I can make one for myself!
The blouse was a staple piece of any ladies wardrobe in the 50’s but my favourite take on this has to be the rolled sleeve with a wide collar (think Roman Holiday). Blouses were usually seen in pastels, neutrals or creams and were widely used as part of a working wardrobe. Summer blouses tended to be sleeveless, wing-shouldered or have capped sleeves. The 40’s take on this had longer sleeves and bigger shoulders.
This neckline was mostly seen on dresses but was available in a wide range of top styles. The halter blouse is one of the more common types, usually in a bold or pastel colour with a wide, flat collar. Other halters came in knitted and satin materials. This style of top is great paired with high-waisted pedal pushers or skirts separated by a wide belt.
This style gives you greater control over how the top sits on your shoulders. If you often find straps are too tight or too loose this is a great option for you! Although mostly seen with a square neckline these types of tops were also available with a V-neck. It was a popular neckline for dresses too!
For more inspiration, check our my Instagram page at instagram.com/midcenturyme where I post daily!