There is nothing like a summer BBQ or a warm night out on the town. A few weeks ago I explored how Victorian women altered their clothing to make their long-sleeved dresses and multiple layers more tolerable during the season. While the dresses I shared were stunning, it did make me thankful that we have more options today! 

The 1950s were a fun decade for summer fashion. On the one hand, women were growing increasingly bold by showing skin and wearing new types of clothing including shorts. On the other hand, there was a very popular and well-adhered to silhouette that was maintained the majority of the time. This makes the 1950s similar to the Victorian era in some ways as summer clothing looked similar to other times of the year, but it was altered for the warm temperatures. 

Let’s take a look! 

1950s summer fashion 

Day dresses

The silhouette of the 1950s maintained the hourglass figure made popular with Dior’s 1947 New Look. The shape was emphasized with the use of very flared skirts. As we saw in my post: 1950s housewife fashion, women often kept the shape even at home. 

This tight fit with lots of fabric on the bottom half of the body would have made for pleasant winters. Unlike the Victorians, however, women in the 1950s had an option that made the transition to summer much easier: short sleeves. 


Cotton was the fabric of choice for 1950s summer dresses, and while solids were primarily used in the winter, women’s wardrobes burst alive with color during this time of year. A few popular prints included: 


Funky florals



Do you love vintage nautical clothing? Keep your eyes on this space! I’ll be looking at the trend in an upcoming post.

1950s summer dresses: evening

I love the hourglass silhouette and would have enjoyed getting dressed in the 1950s, no matter the time of day. While there are some exceptions (pencil dresses made appearances during the decade), the eveningwear of the 1950s used cinched waists and an even more exaggerated skirt. What is very noteworthy about mid-century eveningwear is that strapless dresses were all the rage. 

Is there a decade whose summer clothing you’d like me to explore? Let me know in the comments! 

More 1950s FUN:

1950s: The Golden Age of sunglasses

1950s accessories

The Fun History of the Poodle Skirt

The 1950s cocktail party