To quote fashion historian Jonathan Walford “Feminine luxury and elegance became a symbol of post-war prosperity and defined the silhouette of the coming decade.”
After WWII women were increasingly desiring a return to fashion that accentuated their femininity and for that reason, not surprisingly, “The New Look” of 1947 was a huge success, firmly placing designer Christian Dior at the forefront of the next fashion revolution with his use of sumptuous fabrics, full skirts that hung just below the calves-covering legs, along with fitted jacket that emphasised a woman’s sexuality. And for those of you who are unaware of how the name came about, it was the Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Carmel Snow who we attribute the “New Look” slogan to, as it was she who said at the end of Dior’s very first collection “It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!”
I’ve been looking for the perfect authentic, vintage New Look skirt with matching jacket, for some years now and I have to admit, that once or twice I got very close to hitting the vintage jackpot and finding my dream 1950s Bar suit but the size wasn’t quite right and with that particular design, the garment has to fit like a glove, so my search, sadly still continues.
Wearing vintage on a daily basis is not always easy, especially when the garments are made of a delicate fabric, which is one of the reason why I like to mix old with new or sometimes (not very often though) I build an entire outfit from contemporary designers inspired by the past like; Vivienne Westwood, Wheels & Dollbaby and a few others who I will write about in the near future.
To create a 1950s New Look, be it with true vintage clothes or those that are inspired by, it’s important to remember, that foundation garment is the key in creating the perfect silhouette. The tiny waist can be achieved with the help of a girdle, which are not difficult to find, are more comfortable than corsets and can be worn every single day. The cone-shaped bullet bra helps to add a cup size to the bust and looks perfect under tight sweaters. The addition of a petticoat is another important element of the 1950s New Look as it creates a fuller skirt, which makes the waist appear smaller. I’m currently looking for a black petticoat that will go with my Prada skirt, so if anyone happens to know a seller who currently has them in stock, please leave a link in the comment.
For my 1950s New Look inspired outfit I chose:
Wheels & Dollbaby cardigan, which goes with everything! (You can read about the brand here)
Prada skirt, that started it’s life as a dress but I made it better by turning it into a 1950s inspired skirt. 🙂
Authentic vintage girdle with garters. You can find something similar at Cult Of Chiffon shop on Etsy.
Photography; Gregory Michael King
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