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La Jeune Fille

Hello all you Couture Cuties!  Today I would like to discuss teen fashion in the 1950’s. While I have included some teen clothing in past blogs, I have never discussed it outright. Let us begin…

1950’s female teen fashion is quite interesting because it combines elements of adult clothing, yet has an innocent aura. One can see the quintessential tiny waist with a demure neckline or a rather sexy strapless ball gown that emphasizes the chest, yet balloons out  in yards of can’t-get-close tulle. Let us explore…

Below we have an adorable dress pattern from Mom’s Patterns perfect for teens.  Pay attention to the subtlety of the design; it is both innocent, yet alluring  by emphasizing the waist, torso and bust.  Also, the V formed on the bodice of the dress creates a sense of fullness in the chest while pointing downwards and drawing the eye towards the tiny waist.

Here is another charming casual look as worn by teen star Natalie Wood.  Observe how the look is a feminized riff on French fisherman’s clothing, first made popular by Coco Chanel.  Black slim pants, a wispy scarf and sweet heart charm bracelet complete the pulled-together yet playful look. Adorable!

Below are two delightful examples of young womens’ relaxed party/dance dresses.  As you can see, they are made for fun and movement (square dancing, anyone?). They both convey themes that were very popular in the 1950’s; “Mexico” and “The West.”  The dress on the left is a take on the red bandana that one always sees around the neck of cowboys in 1950’s westerns, and the dress on the right is an example of the widly popular pseudo-Mexican dresses.  The skirts of these dresses were often printed with romanticized Aztec or “old Mexico” patterns.  The shoes are adorable too, are they not?

Moving on to more formal attire, how about the gasp-worthy dress, below?  That, my dears is some serious tulle!  I can scarcely imagine how many yards of  fabric it took to make this dress with layer upon layer of ruffles and an overskirt encircling the back of the dress as well.  While the blue dress can’t help but take center stage, notice the other two dresses in the advertisement; the cute-but-simple strapless candy pink dress on the left and the sweet white dress on the right are charming and danceable.

And then there’s THE dress… swooooon!  This is, in my opinion, one of the most gorgeous dresses that has ever been in film.  Once again, the amazing Edith Head created this costume for Elizabeth Taylor‘s character for the film A Place in the Sun. Taylor was only 19 when the film was made and although a teen, her character is a very wealthy and indulged teen.

As you can see, there are dozens of white blossoms applied to the bust of the dress and more blossoms are sprinkled throughout the full skirt and are gently cascading downwards as if falling from a blossoming tree in spring.  In an additional stroke of design genius, the loveliness and white color of the dress accentuates the ethereal beauty and innocence of  Taylor’s character in the film.  Divine!

Darlings, I hope you have enjoyed our brief foray into the fashion world of the 1950s teen.  Until next time…

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