'50s Trends We Still Adore Today

Fifties style may not be having a capital-M Moment, like '90s clothes are (not that we'd say no if greaser girl jeans made a comeback). But, the Atomic Age's influence can still be felt in fashion. From the ladylike, full-skirt-and-nipped-waist silhouette that's still going strong, to our continuing fascination with pastels, '50s style has officially transcended "trendy" to become timeless. Which means, you can easily evoke that era's everyday glamour without feeling like a reheated Ricky's costume.
To prove it, we chose eight pieces that'll help you channel your inner Marilyn (or Grace, or Bettie) — while still feeling very much of the iPhone century. Retro babehood, straight ahead.
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The term "sweater girl" might bring to mind Lana Turner, Jane Russell, and other bad girls in bullet bras. But, the look doesn't have to be as va-va-voom as all that. Try a short-sleeve knit in bubblegum pink for a style that's more prim than pin-up.
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If there's one thing '50s gals liked better than a sweater, it was a good ballet skirt — even better if it was in the kind of jacquard fabric usually reserved for your grandparents' drapes. Update the look with an athletic-inspired crop top and ankle-strap pumps and, we promise, no one will confuse you for a sofa.
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The frame bag is the height of ladylike chic (just ask Audrey) — and, the fact that it forces you to pare down your daily carry to just the essentials is an added bonus for the packrat-inclined well-prepared among us.
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Much has been made of the kitten heel's return, but that style didn't really take off until the '60s. In the '50s, ladies much preferred stilettos (Jane Russell claimed to own over 200 pairs) and the more walkable slingback pumps instead — just ask the most famous pair of heels ever to stand on a subway grate.
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Floral prints were huge in the '50s, but this Erdem dress' optical take, and its mid-thigh length, make this midcentury style thoroughly modern, not like something Betty Draper would sulk in.
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The simple, single- or multi-strand pearl necklace was an important part of both casual, collegiate wear, and formal ensembles in the '50s. And, as Grace Kelly proves, pearls were popular on earrings and bracelets, too. Today, the ladylike stone feels most au courant paired with modernist metals, like Chloé's elegant block ring, or Chanel's futuristic choker.
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Before Facebook status updates, the most popular way to humblebrag your new relationship was by wearing your dude's varsity jacket (that and pinning the pin on, of course). The good news these days is you don't even have to date a meathead on the football team to get one — but a slouchy, oversized fit is still the coolest way to wear it.
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When we say that cat-eye specs were huge in the '50s, we mean that figuratively. The glasses themselves tended to be rather tiny, a not-universally flattering look that today's larger styles improve upon greatly. The green-tinted lenses, however, are pure, midcentury mystique.
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