How to dress like a housewife from the 50s
When you mention the 1950s housewife, a lot of people think of Donna Reed. She always wore a beautiful shirt dress with well combed hair. Or you might think of TV shows or movies that brought the 1950s back like “Happy Days,” “American Graffiti,” and “Grease.” In this article, we’ll show you how to wear retro fashions for a 1950s housewife look. This 3-4 piece set is easy to put together and will help you look and feel the piece.
Let’s start with The Dress: it should be a cheerful and light pattern of flowers, squares or plain. A classic shirt dress with a fitted waist and a flared or full skirt is best. It has buttons or zippers in the front and often has cuffed sleeves. If you’re having trouble finding a vintage shirt dress, look in stores that sell home-made dresses and look for a simple style with vintage prints and colors like tiny rose prints or even kitchen prints. Avoid strong colors or polyester. Cotton or polycotton will look more authentic. The length should be mid-calf or just below the knees. Make sure to wash the dress several times to make it look more lively and authentic.
Next, what says “housewife” more than an apron? Look in vintage or thrift stores for a full or half vintage or new apron with a retro print. Be sure to look for one that makes a big bun at the back. If you can’t find a convincing retro print, pastel or solid colors can work too. Sew in ric rac for an extra touch of kitsch, or put a handkerchief in your pocket and let it peek out a bit. It’s also a good idea to tie a see-through scarf onto one of the ties on your apron, because you never know when you’ll have to do your hair and collaborate to get something done.
Finally, you will need to add some details from the 1950s period. These could be a circular pin, a pearl necklace, stud earrings, or cat eye glasses. Try pulling your hair back and tying it with a triangle-shaped scarf tied in the back under your hair, or pulling it and tie it at the top with bunny ears. Shoes must be low heels, ballerinas, or loafers. You can slip a cardigan sweater over your shoulders and add a sweater protector to keep it firmly in place. The purse should be large enough for your wallet, lipstick, truck keys, and your coupon book. And don’t forget your glasses on a chain.
Now you have your 50s housewife outfit together. How will you do all your housework, washing and dusting and still have time to touch up your lipstick and keep your brushed hairstyle looking fresh? Let’s be grateful for all the modern appliances that helped make housework easier and left more time for fashion and fun.
Fun fact: The average housewife in the 1950s spent more than three hours a day preparing meals, cooking, and feeding her family. New products designed to make life easier for the average homemaker were introduced in the 1950s. These products include Saran Wrap, Microwave Ovens, Nonstick Skillets, Kraft Foods Pre-Cut Cheese, Sunbeam Mixmaster, and Mrs. Paul’s Frozen Fish Sticks. Hmm!