Dressing for a retro costume party or simply nostalgic for a bygone era? Who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to the ’50s, a decade that glowed with the glitz and glamour of such fashion icons as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor? Fashion from the ’50s can still be worn today. Shop at a vintage store or raid your grandmother’s closet to pull off the look of a ’50s girl.

Things You'll Need

Choose a skirt. Remember women didn’t typically wear pants in the ’50s, except for the most informal occasions. The poodle skirt says ’50s the loudest and is perfect for a costume party. Other skirts worn by girls in the ’50s were pleated or pencil styles. It was a conservative era, so no matter which skirt you choose, be sure your hemline is at your knee or lower.

Select a top. A cardigan over a white blouse will complement a pleated or poodle skirt. If it’s too warm for a sweater, try a scoop neck shirt. For a preppy look, go with a cashmere twin set, a ’50s staple.

Slip on some shoes. Saddle shoes go perfectly with the poodle skirt, and were commonly worn by teenage girls during this era. Don’t forget your bobby socks, which work with loafers and Oxfords as well. If you’re going formal, the stiletto heel is a trademark of this era, introduced in 1952 at a Dior fashion show.

Apply makeup. Your eye shadow should be a neutral tone, balanced by dark eyeliner. Dig out that old eyelash curler and coat your lashes with mascara. While your blush should be light, feel free to make your lips a dark, luscious red.

Style your hair. Hair was almost always worn long and often curly in the ’50s, so get out those curlers! Bangs were popular among girls of this era, and they often tied their hair back. For inspiration, browse the updos of movie stars of the era such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn if you want a style that’s more elegant.

Top it off with a hat. This accessory will be dependent on which hairstyle you choose, but the smaller hats of the era should work with most styles. Hats were common among women during the ’50s and the pillbox was a favorite. They also wore berets. Trim your hat with a little lace or flowers if you want to add a more formal touch.

Put on some jewelry. Raid your grandma’s jewelry box or shop at vintage stores for the jewlery to complete you outfit. Choker necklaces were extremely popular in this era, as were large bracelets. Larger pieces were often balanced with smaller ones, so if you choose a large bracelet, go with smaller pearl earrings. Jacket pins are another nice way to add a little sparkle to your ’50s ensemble.


  • Accessorize with gloves for a more elegant style.