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Ooh Er Missus: Women’s Bottoms of the 1950s

Oh, well the phrasing might be a bit off in the title because we’re not here to compliment, or criticise women’s posteriors. Nope, this fashion article focuses on the type of clothes women wore in the ‘50s, but rather than looking at the upper half of the wardrobe (i.e. tops and jackets), we’ll be looking at the bottom half (i.e. the trousers and the skirts).

1950s Patterns/Materials/Colours Before we look at the specific items of clothing, we’ll first set the scene for the type of material that they were working with in the 1950s. To understand this, you need to be aware of a few trends that were happening in general at the time.

1. This was an optimistic decade. It was one of the decades belonging to the baby boomers, and their outlook was one of “onwards and upwards” and “the sky’s the limit”. This is reflected in everything, from the bright colours to the fun patterns. During the ‘50s, we witnessed the emergence of abstract patterns and geometric prints.


2. Women were no longer expected to take on a traditional role – there was some expectation, but it was much looser than in previous eras. This means that women started to become assertive and expressive of their femininity. In other words, the skirts started to become higher and the bust emphasised, although not yet on show.

3. We were starting to see the emergence of new materials, such as acrylic and viscose, which meant that the fashion designers could create much wilder outfits than they previously could.

1950s Skirts In terms of skirt (and dress) fashions, there were two key types, and they were pretty much opposites:

1. First, you had the swing style dresses. These are the types of dresses that had a flared skirt, and that many people believe to be the quintessential 50s style dresses.

The skirt created a huge circled fan, which was perfect for creating a great whizz on the dance floors. Some women even wore a solid reverse-cone structure under the dress, to make sure that it kept the fanned out look!


It fitted perfectly with the swing music scene, and indeed, it was born of it.

2. Next, you had the slim fitting dresses, and most notably the pencil skirt. In terms of 50s style dresses, very few people realise that the pencil dress belongs to this particular decade.

As many of you already know, pencil skirts tend to work best in plain or plaid prints, and this is something that we have kept since the 1950s!

slim fitting dresses

1950s Trousers Women were still quite new to wearing trousers. We’d only really started to see it during the ‘40s. However, while new to the fashion, they pulled it off magnificently. One of the key trends around back then has made a comeback here in recent years, the cigarette trouser.

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