So, like me, you love the 1950s and have decided on this style for your wedding day. Well, let me walk you through how to be a 1950s bride…

History of the 1950s Prom Dress!

The end of World War 2 signified a great change all over the world, not just in politics and society but in everyday life, general attitudes and fashion.

In 1947 one of the most important happenings in the fashion world took place and it was to shape the face of the industry…Dior!


The House of Dior launched its first collection and was immediately heralded as the leader in the resurrection of Haute Couture. Christian Dior championed his soon to be signature look with below mid-calf and full skirts, a pointed bust, small waist and rounded shoulders. It was the shape of the 50s. Dior’s collection was actually entitled Corolle meaning ‘circlet of flowers’ in English but after Carmel Snow, the editor-in-chief at Harper’s Bazaar, laid her eyes on it she coined the nickname “New Look”.

The 1950s prom dress was born!

Industry and technology made leaps and bounds in progress in the following years and new synthetic fabrics began to dominate the textile industry. Natural fibres such as linens and silks were still being used but were expensive as they were in short supply so the rise of cheaper, more ‘easy-care’ fabrics started to change the way consumers spent. Fabrics such as Nylon, Crimplene (Polyester) and Orlon (Acrylic) could be washed and ironed, they tailored well and retained their appearance. This all made it easier for women to make more structured clothes at home, copying the styles from the Paris catwalks that were being advertised in the magazines of the time.

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Prom dresses or ballerina length gowns were opulent affairs and the new fabrics meant that you could use lighter whites and pastel hues. Crimplene (polyester) doesn’t yellow in the sunlight or with age as did white nylon, so was a popular choice for party dresses. Dresses were embellished with a wide variety of fabrics including brocades, nylon netting, tulle and chiffon. Corsets and petticoats were made popular by the likes of Dior to create that classic nipped in waist and massive skirt effect.

The prom dress in turn made accessories such as gloves and pearls an essential part of the outfit to really accentuate the feminine look.

As part of the “New Look”, hair trends were changing too, this meant hair was worn cut short or curled and hats were an essential part of the attire in 1950s society. They were first worn with wide brims giving an almost ‘Bo Peep’ edge to the look but ‘pillbox’ styles soon became the fashionable choice.


Today, the 1950s prom dress defines an era and we are still as much in love with the feminine style as we ever were. There are some great places that you can get your hands on your own original piece of history, as well as trawling the internet for the odd gem popping up, take a look at Vintage Vortex, who has some truly stunning examples of classic prom. Mill Street Vintage, Echoes of Time Vintage and SLVintage are pretty brilliant too and all can be found on

You could even have a look at my own vintage boutique on my website!

So Dior, darling! If you like the vintage style but don’t want a vintage dress, try these wedding dress designers…