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Fifties

50s fashionIts the fifties fashion time....Following the great depression and second World War, two decades of deprivation and struggle were finally over and replaced with a new fear - nuclear war. However, by the 1950's wartime restrictions and rations were largely removed. In the USA and parts of Europe, a fresh prosperity was born out of the ashes. The Fifties style dress accentuated a delicate, slightly frothy femininity. Bare shoulders, naked legs, and prominent busts were all seen as attractive. Brightly printed fabrics were all the craze, particularly in the United States.

Notwithstanding the accent on the hourglass figure, few fifties dresses showed cleavage, preferring rather for an uncomplicated scoop-neck or high collar. The emphasis on the bust by and large hailed from underclothes like the corselette, or the "cone" bra, which gave the bust a "formidable" look.

Full skirts drew attention to the legs and hips. A lot of fifties style dresses were also worn with belts, which farther emphasized the low waist-to-hip ratio; the hourglass silhouette was perpetually stressed, in print and at the movies.

Christian Dior's "New Look" influenced fashions throughout the decade, while his various styles of cut (A, S, H) influenced the shape of women's suits, separates and leisure time wear. Nearly all fifties style dresses contain some Dior influence, if not in pattern and structure, at the least in sihouette.

Cristobal Balenciaga created alternative, compelling dress silhouettes during the fifties, including the high-waisted babydoll dress, the tunic dress, and the sack dress, on the face of it formless dress that was nevertheless flattering, if only because it left something to the imagination.

In the fifties, women often matched their dresses with contrasting hats, gloves and scarves. Women often dressed to the nines for every day life, whether they were meeting friends or going to work. Part of this need to be fully "blinged" involved such accoutrements as stockings, little gloves, hats and scarves, which would contrast the main pattern of the dress and draw attention to the hands, the face, the hair, and so forth.

Dresses were often coupled with high heels, which were worn low but with a stiletto heel. These heels were almost always darker than the rest of the outfit, or, if the outfit was brightly colored, they were in an attention-getting color like candy-apple red. This bestowed attention to the shape of the foot, in addition to the fairness of the woman's skin.

Young girls, even adolescent girls, often donned dresses with an empire waistline, short sleeves, and a peter pan collar, along with buttons going up the front. Cristobal Balenciaga updated this look for women with the high-waisted "babydoll" dress. This look stayed popular for a long time after, cropping up in the most surprising places.

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