Here at the Monster Vintage warehouse, we do our best to pinpoint the exact decades, if not specific years, of each and every item that comes through our graces. Usually we’re able to hit the mark with ease and confidence but sometimes, the clothing stumps us and we end up doing some guesswork. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to meet and hang out with a woman who has worked for many years as a costumer for the theatre and ballet. Her photographic portfolio of hand-sewn garments for productions like Little Red Riding Hood and Scheherazade is stunning. Yards and yards of crinoline, silks, wool blends and velvet have become her life calling. She has also, subsequently, become a vintage historian expert. So much so, that while perusing our website, she kindly let me know that fear of all fears, some of our decades were off. Mostly in the 40’s-50’s department. And then she shared with me a tip – that her gauge for determining if a garment was from the 1950’s was to ask herself if Lucy would wear it. Brilliant! My homework was set, I would research past I Love Lucy shows and hone in on perfecting our decade blunders.
I Love Lucy aired from 1951-1957. In the show, Mrs. Ball donned dresses by the dozen from famous designers of the day (some of whom are still relevant), like Christian Dior, Charles Creed, Hardy Amies and Lanvin (Alber Elbaz is my lifetime hero). Silhouettes sharpened a bit from the boxier style lines of the flapper 30’s and post-war 40’s. Fabric was less rationed and therefore, fuller skirts, dresses and jackets were back en vogue. Three quarter length sleeves were still prevalent and hemlines remained just below the knee until the latter part of the decade when shorter, flirtier garments came out. Lots of over-sized bows, bare shoulders and low-scoop backs also made appearances from ’55-’59.
Below, googled I Love Lucy and Vogue images of 50’s dressing followed by a sampling of our 1950’s apparel for sale.