Tuesday Shoesday ~ Six ways to create a 1950s-inspired look

It’s Tuesday Shoesday but today I’m not only focusing on 50s-inspired shoes, but also the accessories that combine to create the ultimate 50s look for Summer 2013. Timeless and subtly sexy, fashion styles from 1950s combine classic elegance with a touch of glamour. Taking inspiration from style icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, designers today are still finding ways to incorporate these classic styles into modern wardrobes. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate 1950s style without breaking out the poodle skirt, consider wearing accessories from the decade – which may be a cheaper way to get the vintage look without breaking the bank. Here are six ways to create a unique, 21st century, 1950s-inspired look (not only with shoes!):

Images courtesy of fanpop.com
Images courtesy of fanpop.com

Layered bracelets –Multi-stringed necklaces with large beads or pearls were one of the most popular jewellery trends of the 50s. They were often colourful and many women had a set of jewellery to match every outfit. For a 21st century spin on this classic look, wrap a layered necklace around the wrist and wear it as a chunky bracelet. Don’t worry about your bracelet matching perfectly – contrast helps to create the modern look.

Hats – In the 1950s, a woman’s outfit wasn’t complete without a hat, and pillbox hats were one of the most popular styles during this time. Plus it’s always a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat like Audrey Hepburn above during the summer to keep the sun off your face and stop your scalp from being sunburnt! For a contemporary twist, pair a polka-dot patterned pencil skirt (also a 50s fashion staple) with an oversized belt at the waist and a collared shirt. Then, top it off with a coordinating pillbox hat pinned at the side of the head. For extra flair, choose a hat in a bright colour or one that has added detail like buttons, flowers, or a patterned print like gingham.

Shoes – Obviously, this Tuesday Shoesday blog post is primarily focusing on the shoes of the decade. Shoes in the 1950s came in a wide variety of styles, from flats to stilettos. Among many of these options, however, there was one common factor – embellishment. Many styles of shoe in the 50s had a small bow on the top or side, a floral design on the outside or back, or were brightly coloured. Again, many women had shoes for each outfit, so colour or pattern often coordinated with the rest of the ensemble. Find a pair of peep toe pumps or stilettos with an interesting design and, rather than pair them with a formal look as women in the 50s would do, wear them with a casual outfit. Jean shorts with a 50s-inspired slouchy sweatshirt and a pair of colourful, unique heels will create a modern, trendy look with a classic shoe. Very high heels can be uncomfortable so, to maintain the comfortable feel and make this look practical, consider adding gel inserts created specifically for stilettos, found at retailers like Footwear Etc. If you find yourself wobbly when donning heels, wearing bowling shoes is a fun and fashionable alternative. Today, this retro footwear can turn a normal outfit into a funky, 21st century outfit in no time. Wear black and white saddle shoes (or whatever colour combo you choose) with a pair of skinny jeans and a loose blouse with a Peter Pan collar (another 50s trend) to create a stylish retro look.

Amazing shoes that I can't help drooling over - all from PinUp Couture
Amazing shoes that I can’t help drooling over – all from PinUp Couture

Gloves – Just like their hats, women in the 50s loved their gloves. Gloves also came in many colours and designs, and although you might not want to wear gloves at the height of summer, on a formal occasion or even for a night out, you can add a pair of gloves to a dress to give a nod to the 50s. Choose a style that matches your shoes or jewelry if you want to go for a more cohesive look, or choose an unexpected colour or style to add interest.

Scarves – Lightweight scarves of bold or patterned material were often tied around the neck or in the hair in the 1950s. While usually a casual look, a small scarf wrapped under the head with the ends tied in a knot at the top of the head will create a mid-century fashion look for any occasion. For a casual or beach-like look, use a scarf in a bold pattern or fabric. For a more conservative look, use a sleek black or white scarf and tuck in the ends of the scarf after it has been knotted to create a headband look.

Sunglasses – Last but not least, the sunglasses of the 1950s are one of the most recognizable accessory trends from that time. Cat eye sunglasses range from severe, pointed frames to more curvy styles that are generally more flattering to most face shapes. Cat eye sunglasses can still be found in nearly every color, and bold or embellished cat eye sunglasses add a hip look to any modern outfit. Retro City Sunglasses offers a wide variety of cat-eye frames for those who need prescription lenses so both your vision and style can stay sharp.

Sure to complement your wardrobe, these accessories turn any normal outfit into a creative, unique, 21st century, 1950s-inspired look in an instant. This decade’s styles are great for accentuating the curves of your body and, because of the moderate lines, can be appropriately worn both at the office and for a girls’ night out. So pull on your stockings, put on a dash of red lipstick, and bring a little touch of 1950s’ glamour to your everyday style!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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