How to Dress for a 1950s Party


Costume parties are an opportunity to show off your stylish side while doing something a little unexpected. Finding the right style to pull off your look can be a challenge. Dressing like a someone from the 1950's may seem like a difficult task, especially if you aren't sure what people wore back then. What you'll find, however, is that inspiration can come from unlikely places.

Finding inspiration

  • Collect old movies and television shows from the 1950's, or ones that depict life in that era. Seek out films and shows with big ensemble casts, so that you have plenty of options--for example, "Grease" or "Happy Days." Also look to album covers and movie posters from that era for inspiration.

  • Determine what fashion "type" you want to portray. For example, a tough guy may wear a leather jacket with the collar turned up, a nice guy may wear a letter cardigan and a young girl may wear a poodle skirt. You will likely see a character dressed in the outfit of your choosing in a movie or on television.

  • Write out a list of the items you need to complete the outfit. Don't forget little things like accessories and hair products.

Assemble the outfit

  • Visit a local thrift store to look for what you need. Vintage shops are generally more expensive, but stock higher-quality clothing. Thrift stores are more affordable, but less reliable for a variety of styles--you will probably need to visit both types of store for a complete outfit.

  • Dress for the party. Don't forget to style your hair in the appropriate manner--for example, slicked hair was a popular style for men in the 1950's, while beehives and bouffants were popular for women.

  • Learn some 1950's slang to use at the party. Knowing the right lingo will complete the stylish outfit you're looking for.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set a budget beforehand, as vintage clothing can sometimes be very expensive. Don't pick an outfit that is too elaborate.

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  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Retrofile/Getty Images
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