Back to the 50s

In Cocktail Dresses, Home Decor, Jewelry, Shoes on July 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Like my mother and my mother’s mother, I am constantly ripping pages out of magazines and storing them in an ever-expanding file of “things I like.”  Many of these I eventually forget about or ultimately toss in the trash, but every now and then, I’ll come across an image that I just cherish.  Kind of like those images in our collective cultural consciousness — the sailor returning home from WWII and kissing his girlfriend; Marilyn Monroe with her skirt billowing up; little JFK Jr. saluting his father’s coffin — images that capture a moment or a spirit so well, they earn instant icon status.  One of my all time personal fashion favorites has got to be this Oscar de la Renta ad:

Swoon.  I pretty much wish I could dress like that every day of my life.  (The digs aren’t bad either.)  When I re-encountered this photo yesterday, I was instantly daydreaming about a 1950s wardrobe, replete with full skirts, feminine pumps, and enorma-studs.  Essentially, all my favorite things rolled up into one placid decade where…well, not much happened (many now consider the 1950s a “conformist” period — perhaps relative to the rockin, rebellious ’60s.  However, the HBO series Mad Men has illustrated that beneath the calm, cool, collected appearance of the 1950s nuclear family, an inner angst was simmering).  At any rate, our concerns here will remain sartorial, so I’ll just jump right to it and present you with some lustworthy Betty Draper-inspired looks.  To begin: a perfectly polished Eva Franco polka dot dress with a flattering nipped-in waist ($258, Anthropologie):

Pair with black bow-toe peeptoes (Valentino, $695, Bergdorf Goodman), pearls (Tiffany Signature Pearl Necklace, $5,150, Tiffany), and a little top-handle doctor’s bag (I featured this bag a few day’s ago, but I just adore it — Anya Hindmarch, on sale for $778, My Wardrobe):

I’m also thinking that you’ll need an old-fashioned rotary telephone ($340, Conran) at home so that you can “ring” your friends for cocktail hour:

You might consider wearing this little strapless top with the high-waisted bow-front skirt by up-and-coming designer Sarah Seven ($280 for look, Sarah Seven — note that she custom makes every order based on your specifications and that, because Martha Stewart featured her in one of her magazines a few years back, she’s slammed with business and has a long waiting list; I know this because I tried to order one of her white “wedding” dresses as my rehearsal dinner dress but the wait would have been too long!):

The mustard yellow is pure kitsch.  Pair with these precious Kate Spade pumps (love that the bow on the sling back strap echoes the styling of the skirt — on sale for $227, FootCandyShoes):

Adorable, especially with these precious “Carsisi” earrings ($45, J. Crew):

Why not serve up some cocktails on a festive lacquer tray ($70, Decorative Things):

Maybe some Tom Collins or G&Ts in these festive green highballs ($20 for 4, Fishs Eddy):

And, to make sure your guests are reclining in comfort and style, cushion your couch with retro-cool pillows like this Thomas Paul style (this exact version is sold out, but check out his awesome printed alternatives from this season at Velocity Art & Design — they are usually between $70-$100/pillow):

For lunch at the club?  How about a 50s era madras dress like this little Lorick number ($322, Sunday Brunch Dress Shop):

I dream about wearing it with these Fendi pumps to give the look a slightly updated feel ($695, Net-A-Porter):

(I tried these on in Intermix the other day and my ankles essentially snapped in half.  Treacherous, but beautiful.  They are about 23 inches high.  Speaking of Intermix, you can get an extra 40% off their already reduced sale items right now on their site.  Slim pickings now.)  Add on this bamboo handle bag by Buti ($559, Forzieri) and these adorable sunburst-shaped enormastuds by Ylang23 Vintage ($180, Ylang23):

Another country club afternoon option: this Thread Social madras dress (on sale for $412, Honey in the Rough):

The madras colors are perfectly 1950s.  Wear with simple pearl earrings (Mikimoto, $190-$680 depending on size, Nordstrom):

And indulge in a summer game of croquet (I love this shot of Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass):

You can buy your own set from LLBean for $129.  If you’re heading out for dinner and dancing — why not this killer Oscar de la Renta gown (I die over it — $2,790, Net-A-Porter):

Pin your hair up and add on this lace version of the Valentino pumps I’m so ga-ga over ($885, Saks):

And, to switch things up — spurn the studs and head straight for the dramatic with these Kenneth Jay Lane danglers ($180, Net-A-Porter):

Tres chic, ca.  Reminiscent of the amazing wardrobe in the film “An Education” (if you haven’t seen it — do it, if only for the fashion).

Back at home, slip into a comfortable shirt dress for your daily routine — I’m loving this little ModCloth number ($99, Modcloth):

Pair with these impractically high Louboutins ($735, Barney’s) and these awesome vintage studs ($298, House of Lavande)

And, while doing housework or baking up a souffle, tie on this retro apron ($32, Anthropologie):

Protect your hands with these patterned rubber gloves ($7.50, Fabulicious):

Housekeeping sounds a lot more fun when you’re all decked out…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: