If our name has yet to tip you off, we here at 1950s Glam adore fun and feminine vintage dresses. While day dresses are the meat and potatoes of our closets, vintage evening gowns really set our hearts aflutter. Maybe we’ve even thrown a 1950s-themed cocktail party so we’d have an excuse to be the pin up party girl of our dreams— who really knows for sure?

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Kim Novak in a gorgeous off the shoulder gown

The joy of vintage style evening dresses is found in the way they mix form flattering cuts with rich points of eccentricity for a totally one of a kind evening dress look. The 1950s were all about leaving modesty behind for the sake of statement-making entertainment, in music and in fashion! Side by side with rockabilly and doo-wop, big, bold, beautiful ballgowns were also all the rage. The music of the era was made for dancing, so ladies wanted something they could dance in, of course! They wanted a dress as fun as it was fashionable. They wanted a feminine, flattering skirt that would move with their bodies as they danced the night away. What better dress to check those boxes than one with a classic swing skirt?

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Jessica Kellgren-Fozard in the Evelyn Satin Dress

We believe that the women who are most beautiful are the women who are most happy. Joyously spinning around on the dance floor, laughing and soaking up the fun with your date or friends, twisting and turning as your beautiful vintage swing skirt follows your form—well, to us, that sounds like the very definition of a woman who is most happy. Think Marilyn Monroe and her iconic flying skirt scene in The Seven Year Itch. Now replace her face with your own. That’s going to be you! Isn’t it delicious?

Is your mouth watering for a tasty vintage gown to wear to your next glam occasion? Then its time to hit the shops (or the back of dear old mum’s closet)!

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Elizabeth Taylor in a white swing dress from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Here’s what to look for whether you’re dolling yourself up for your senior prom or your best friend’s wedding.

The most important dress of the year for any high school girl is—you guessed it— her prom dress. She spends all year dreaming about her dress and pinning style inspos to her Pinterest boards, drooling over her favorite picks. For a wide-eyed girl preparing to leave the security of high school and enter into a world full of unknowns, this is more than your average, every day high school dance. This is Cinderella’s ball. Allow us to play your fairy godmother for a moment and to suggest some tips (but please try to hang on to your shoes).

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Take us there!
  • If you’re one to stand out in a crowd, choose a versatile base so you can add your own custom touches. For example, a tea length, pastel blue dress will allow you to take creative control of your appearance by experimenting with makeup, jewelry, shoes, and other accessories. A brightly colored gown or lively patterned vintage dress (bold floral and cherry prints are popular Rockabilly styles) are charming and fun, but you’ll find adding your own custom touches to be a bit more challenging.
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The Alicia Chiffon Dress
  • Choose a gown you can dance in! Floor length dresses are certainly an elegant & timeless classic, but one wrong move on the dance floor and you’ll find yourself a tangled mess in your dress! Tea length dresses are a definite fashion DO for dances. Depending on your height, a tea length gown reaches in length to somewhere between your knees and your ankles but usually mid-calf. This modest-yet-elegant length is perfect for spins and twirls… and an electric slide or two.
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Miss Lark Bahar twirling in the Marianne Floral Chiffon Dress
  • Customise your dress to make it your very own. The best thing about living in this modern world is the bevy of popular fashions and styles spanning decades from which we can cherry pick our favorite trends! Here’s an example: In lieu of stealing your date’s coat later in the evening, drape a fringy, beaded shawl over your shoulders to add a 1920s flapper-esque touch to your ensemble.
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Grace Kelly in Rear Window

A vintage inspired prom dress is all about the poof! You know the old adage: The fuller the skirt, the closer to vintage dress heaven. Really, though— a full swing skirt brings necessary balance to a 1950s prom dress, as the dress is designed to accentuate the bust area while minimizing the waist.

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One of Grace Kelly’s stunning gowns in Dial M for Murder

The 1950s era embraced a curvaceous figure with open arms, as evidenced by these dresses made to so beautifully complement an hourglass figure. But, hey— if you don’t have that kind of figure, so what? The point of a 50s style swing skirt is to add the curve. Just think Audrey Hepburn – she didn’t necessarily have the natural curves of Jayne Mansfield but didn’t she just look great in a 50s swing dress!

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Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, 1957

And if you do have the curves, well girlfriend, the 50s wiggle dress was just made for you! You’ll leave them green with envy and picking their jaws off the floor as you show off those killer curves and sashay down the dance floor with your date.

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A simple form fitting gown is all you need to highlight those curves

Just because we love this silhouette so much, here are a few more gorgeous 50s pencil and wiggle dresses to give you inspiration (and hell, because we just love these pics and couldn’t resist sharing them).

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Jane Russell (left) and Elizabeth Taylor showing off their gorgeous silhouette in a pencil dress
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Miss Vintage Lady in the Olivia Rose Wiggle Dress

Weddings

Thanks to social media, it seems like EVERY season is wedding season. If you’re anything like us, you have about a hundred wedding invitations stuck to your refrigerator door. On a related note— does anyone know where to find cute, vintage refrigerator magnets? Is there a market for vintage refrigerator magnets? Hmmm. We’ll circle back to that. Anyway, if you’re not one of the one million folks we know getting married this year, you’ll no doubt be invited as a guest to one of those one million weddings. Here are our tips for picking the perfect wedding guest dress:

  • Don’t be that sore thumb! As tempting as it is to wear that bright red, off the shoulder dress that hugs all your curves and makes you feel like a million bucks, you might want to check out the color palette of the wedding, first. If the happy couple has chosen muted, earthy greens and yellows for their wedding day, your little red dress will have you looking like a Christmas ornament. Opt for a vintage dress with classic appeal that’s perfect for any occasion. You can’t go wrong with a little vintage style black dress!
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Natalie Wood, 1955. Photo by Everett
  • Dress for the occasion! While some weddings are quite elegant, others embrace simplicity. Luckily, vintage dresses offer looks for both! A tea length dress with a swing skirt would do well for a sweet & simple wedding, while a floor length gown would perfectly complement a theme of sophistication. Also, don’t be afraid of a two-piece! And a final note – if the happy couple have opted for a low key, understated theme for their big day and you’re worried about how to pull this off, don’t be afraid of a blouse and skirt ensemble. It could just be the outfit that hits the right note, is not too dressy but still has you looking great and ready to put those dance lessons to good use.
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Jessica Kellgren-Fozard in the Emerald Dreams Evening Dress
  • Versatility is key! When dressing for a wedding, remember that you’re not only dressing to see the bride walk down the aisle— you’re dressing for the after-party, too! Pick a dress that you’ll feel comfortable sitting and dancing in. For example, a skintight, 50s style pencil dress is certainly lovely, but it isn’t exactly made for comfortably sitting through (not to mention enjoying!) a three course wedding banquet. Opt for a dress that allows for some comfort and movement, like a darling little tea dress.
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Red Petal Vintage Dress

There are plenty of reasons to love weddings. The beautiful flowers, the color coordinated everything, the cute-as-pie flower girls, the look on the groom’s face when he sees his entire future walking his way…..no, we’re not crying— YOU’RE crying. Aside from the mushy gushy love stuff (and the open bar), our favorite part about weddings is the welcome excuse to get fancy. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee you won’t outshine the bride!

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Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher on their wedding day