Choose a word to describe the new millennium, it will have to be materialism. The age when repairment is costlier than a replacement; it only makes it all too easy to let go of something you think you’d cherish.
One of the worries I had when Prada, Bottega Venetta and Louis Vuitton put 50s dresses on their runways for AW/10 was that they’ll make the golden age of fashion not so polished anymore. While 50s’ glamour dressing has always somewhat received an exclusive following from retro enthusiasts, once high fashion jumps on this bandwagon, the high street will soon follow suit.
Everybody knows that the high street conglomerates such as Topshop and H&M no longer operates in a two-season rota. I wonder how many weeks can the 50s glamour sustains on the track of fast fashion, before the “trend” becomes an tired old cow like the sequins schoepentoetered by Christoph Decarnin a season ago?
The thought of some fervent Heat magazine believers donning throw-away circle dresses from Primark sends shivers down my spine, and not in a good way. What happens when the cheap fashion rota turns? Will the public discard and dismiss the whole post-war glamour as they would with sequin leggings and bodycon dresses?
My cup seems half full here. But my worry has basis. Trends come and go, however, regarding the 50s style as a “trend” is a grave sacrilege. It was an era which gave birth to the best designers the world has ever seen – Cristobal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior… Such was an era when the creation of the new look laid the foundation to what we nowadays perceive as “beautiful”. The well-defined waist, the lengthy legs, the demure busts and the elegant and bourgeois demeanour. Tell me which Miss England hasn’t got legs up to there and an hour glass figure?
After preaching about the importance and grandeur of the 50s, I hope you have come to realising the deference you must possess when it comes to dressing The age with a capital T. So instead of being overly patronising and depressive, maybe I can highlight a few dresses that are worth investing this season, as well as finding you the best accessories to go with this style (or trend if you’re not a firm believer)? (Note: Trend, is ephermeral while style can stand the test of time)
The bang on trend dresses are sepia, like a faded and rust-spotted photograph. Choose in the palette of mustard, milk chocolate, off-white and faded navy blue.
Hobbs have many 50s housewife dresses on offer – from sepia to classic polka dots – prices start from £125. They even have a dress not dissimilar to the £4500 Bottega Venetta one that was worn by everyone and featured on every photoshoot. Carey Mulligey as well as Rosamund Pike posed in the mustard/beige raffia dress. The bond girl modelled for a Guardian 50s style shoot in honour of the late Princess consort of Monaco, Grace Kelly.
Accessories on the other hand, require chunky necklaces, almost chokers like, flamboyantly decorated with large gems and thick ribbons.
Without a pair of round-ish, thick rimmed glasses in brown, green or ivory, your trendy outfit is incomplete.
When it comes to shoes, the blockier the wedges the better they are. Choose those with demure buckles and minimal décor, in maroon, grey and sepia. Oliver Goldsmith does a range of mixed coloured, nicely crystalised thick rimmed glasses.
Clarks has a good flat wedge in grey patent leather that is reminescent of Marni’s wedgy flats circa 2008.
Bags should be as simple as they can. Ted Baker has a cross shoulder bag in white patent leather for £56 in absolutely minimum decor. To push out the boat, look no further than Céline where they have lots of immaculately made mimimalist handbags.
50s dressing should be fun. So much to be said on the subject but so little time and space. I’ll let you do your own research. Google “50s Trend”, you’ll be amazed how much knowledge is to be learnt on the said style!