You can't beat a genuine 1950s dress worn by young women of their time, for sheer beauty, a vision in fabric that I never get tired of admiring. When I look back over my years buying and selling vintage clothing I have had the pleasure of owning and wearing some real beauties. I regret selling some of my favourite 1950s dresses but when all’s said and done I cannot run a successful vintage business when all the best dresses fill my own wardrobe.
The 50s Tea dress makes a welcome return every couple of years. A tea dress is safe, it is girly and floaty but more appealing is the fact there is hardly any other dress which can honestly be said to suit (well almost) all women. They are flowery and feminine, demure and chic.
Wartime clothing was fairly conservative because of rationing on natural materials. However, once the war ended in 1947 clothing designs took on what is commonly referred to as “The New Look”, championed by Christian Dior.
Teenagers everywhere were starting to buy their own clothing because they could afford to do so. Since more and more teens were purchasing clothing, manufacturers of clothes began to cater to their desires more.
The tea dress is so called due to its aptness for being worn to afternoon tea or ladies lunches. A 50s tea dress> would not look out of place at the Ritz tea rooms, a garden fete or a picnic.
Designs may vary over the years, necklines, sleeves, fabrics, trims but whatever their variation they remain a fashion survivor.
We often describe the more elaborate tulle 1950s dresses as prom dresses, prom short for promenade. The name prom dress probably adopted from the American leavers type ball. Prom dresses vary in silhouette but we tend to associate the 1950s ones with a scoop neckline, nipped in waist and full skirt with layered frilly petticoats. They are uniquely decorated with bows, flowers, gathered chiffon swags and crystals, sometimes even all at once.
A Prime vintage prom dress is becoming harder to find, there are some good copies around but you can’t beat an original.
Some of them are pretty enough to be worn as wedding dresses. In fact 1950s wedding dresses reflected similar shape and styling. They were often made from white or ivory brocade. Many girls chose ballerina length, although often obscured by an enormous bouquet as they were also popular. Throw one of those over your shoulder and you could knock someone out.
If you are tempted by the beautiful 50s dresses or 50s wedding dress you could consider looking into vintage dress hire. It could take a long time to find your perfect dress to buy but hiring enables you to pick from the best, enjoy the experience until you can source your own.
We at Revival vintage have 1950s tea dresses and vintage prom dresses to buy or hire. Hire is usually around £15-£20.