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 1950s Coats and Costume Suits

Fashion History 1950s Coats
& Costume Suits
1955 Fashion Plates

By Pauline Weston Thomas for

Fashion Plates of 1950s Coats and Costume Suits

These lovely 50 year old fashion plates are from 1955.  They show a selection of quality fashion coats and fashion suits, designed to be used as style ideas for those specializing in the sales of ladies mantles. The latter phrase is a term which has virtually gone out of use today.  In the 1950s, suits were almost always referred to as costume suits or costumes.


Thick satin embroidered coat garment labels often stated that the coat was a '... Mantle Made by...'.  These beautiful 1950s coats are fashionable examples of styles of the era.  They vary from swagger coats that were full and roomy enough to wear over a tailored suit.  Fabrics used included camelhair, wool velour, Melton cloth, tweed and velvets.  Trimmings such as beaver lamb fur, astrakhan and mink were all popular.   Oversized buttons and contrast lining were often used to introduce interesting fashion features.

1950s Fashion - Plates Coats & Costume Suits 1955

All thumbnails enlarge to A4 size.

1955 Coat 1955 Red Double Breasted Coat and Slim Suit 1955 Blue Swagger Coat 1955 Coat in Red
1955 Coat with Suit 1955 Fullback Coat 1955 Red Contrast Lined Coat With Shoulder Tucks 1950s Edge to Edge Coat - 1955
1955 Belted Coat 1955 Coat in New Look Line 1955 Fitted Coat 1955 - 2 Coats
1955 Green Fitted Coat and Muff 1955 Camel Wrap Coat and Holdall 1955 Coat and Suit 1955 Hip Length Ladies Swagger Jacket
1955 Three Quarter Coat and Straight Pencil Skirt 1955 Coat Three Quarter Coat and Suit 1955 Tailored Suit 1955 Tailored Suit

Whilst there are two contrasting looks here from fitted and semi fitted to extra full and swingy it's important to consider why these styles were so varied.  The reasons were twofold.

Full skirted dresses sat happily beside straight slim styles and also the need for them may well have been demand led.  The decade after the Second World War saw a boom in births so the swagger coat therefore often doubled as roomy maternity wear.  The timeline gives more information on improving social changes that happened in the era.

A well groomed woman of the 1950s would accessorize an outfit with gloves, stockings and a good leather handbag.  Part of that grooming was to wear a good corselette. Women were carefully corseted to help them achieve hour glass figures and a wasp waist.  The corsetry was not as severe as in earlier eras, but undergarments that were quite structured were worn to give the correct body silhouette where required.  A less structured silhouette did not truly arrive until the 1960s. The 1950s was a period of glamorous underwear, pretty petticoats and all made in fabrics without Lycra added.

In the 1950s central heating was rare in Britain and many women used public transport.  Even if they had access to a car it was unlikely to have had an effective heater and offices and shops were also poorly heated.  So in winters past, it was essential to wear warm clothing just in case heating was non functioning that day.  The tweed fabrics of the 1950s were much heavier per square yard than they are today and Harris tweeds are detailed here. 

Page Added 30 Nov 2005

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About looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era.  Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear.  These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.Fashion History can take no responsibility for any information on the site which may cause you error, loss or costs incurred from use of the information and links either directly or indirectly.  This site is owned, designed, written and developed by author: Pauline Thomas and Guy Thomas. This site is designed to be viewed in 1024 X 768 or higher.

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