1950s Photos Real Life Pictures of People in Britain in the 1950s Fashion History
By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com
1950s Photos - Fashion History
Here are some family photographs from
the 1950s beginning with a carnival in South Wales, UK that was held to
celebrate the Festival of Britain in 1951. The photos are of real
everyday people, but in situations where they have tried to be groomed
such as Whitsunday
and a school children class of 1957.
If you are planning to copy a 50s look then these 1950s photos show what real people dressed like.
These 1950s photos should not be downloaded or used without
permission from Fashion-era.com
The first prize went to the black boy and who had been covered in black stage make
up, which apparently took 3 days to completely clean off. This of
course today would be thought totally politically incorrect.
My sister came second as an eastern belly
dancer wearing a yashmak. I am the little blonde toddler girl next to her
in the second row at the very front.
When enlarged to full screen, the picture above gives a very clear view of
individual people and their hairstyles. Summer 1951.
Click thumbnails and see enlarged 1950s photos
Here I am in the outfit I loathed. I was
dressed as a 3 yr old Romanian peasant girl and recall hating the outfit
and stamping my feet because I had to wear a hat that flattened my baby
fine hair! That was the first interest in clothes and hair that I can
This group picture was a photo taken in 1955 by the
only aunt in the street that owned a Brownie Box camera.
The girls at the back are dressed like
sophisticated women in crisp cotton pique high necked dresses which follow
the New Look line.
The girls are only 13, 14 and 15 yrs old, but dress like their mothers
would. The skull cap hats with sparse veiling were mandatory wear for
Whitsunday and the traditional march through town, under the banner of
individual chapels and churches.
The younger girls wear dainty nylon organza dresses and
This is a junior school picture taken
about 1957. You can see clearly the type of clothes these 8 and 9 year old
girls and boys wore. Home knitted cardigans were very popular as were the
brown T strap sandals or bar buckle or laced shoes that almost every girl
wears. Not a trainer in sight.
The look is still prim, buttoned up and
generally neat with hair
tied back with a fresh ribbon daily. It's still along way from the
liberation children of the late 1960s experience in their clothing
Click thumbnail of 1957 Picture
At much the same time fluorescent socks
in shocking pink, lime green and bright orange or glowing white were all
the rage. Plastic mesh bags or bucket bags were often used to carry lunch.
The Showground Fair Comes to Town
Every year in most towns and villages the
fair with its roundabouts, bumpers, dodgems and coconut shies came to
town. This was always something of a novelty as fairground rides were
usually only to be found at places like Porthcawl or Barry Island or
Couples would take their children to
ensure a safe family evening out.
This picture taken about 1959 shows the
young girl wearing a windcheater cotton jacket and a cotton soft pleated
tablecloth check dress.
Click picture thumbnail
The teenage girl
wears a very fashionable knee length shirtwaist dress with cinched in
waist, deep self fabric matching belt and a fashionable wide shoulder collar. The fashion look she is
trying to achieve is still based on icons of the day such as Marilyn
Monroe and Diana Dors.
The dress might just have easily
had the same bodice, but with a slim sheath straight skirt.
The mother wears a cotton satin print
dress with a short crisp and firm white nylon cardigan. Father and son are
very informally dressed despite still wearing tailored jackets and grey
Caravan Holiday Group Picture - 1958
This is a group picture of members of 5 related
during a caravan holiday in Porthcawl in 1957-8. In the middle is a pregnant woman
who wears a yoked cotton smock top typical of maternity wear of the 1950s
The dark haired 17 yr old teenager stood
next to her, wears a shirt blouse which had three quarter sleeves with a sunray fine pleated "Terylene"
royal blue skirt that was very high fashion. To pack the skirt it was
threaded into a single nylon stocking to keep all the pleats packed
tightly together. The classic fully fashioned botany wool fine knit
cardigan would have doubled up as a sweater when worn back to front.
The mother on the far right also wears a
glazed cotton sateen shirtwaist striped navy and white cotton dress with the fashionable three
quarter length sleeve of the day. The grandmother in the chair is
indifferent to fashion. The boys wear jeans.
Typical 1950s Full Skirted Dress
Another typical 1950s dress made from
cotton check fabric and a self fabric matching wide belt.
In normal wear other than on a beach the
wearer would have worn stiffened net petticoats to give a crinoline puff
effect to the skirt. The look is very much influenced by films such as
Oklahoma and stars such as Doris Day where a homespun gingham look was
These photographs should not be downloaded or used without
permission from Fashion-era.com
For more information about the 1950s Era and main links
to 1920s, 1930s and 1940s sections click on the titles below:-
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