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Fashion Trends of 1955

Women Change Shape in '55

Gradually but surely, women assumed a new shape in 1955. 

Bustlines were higher, hips slimmer, skirts tighter, hats bigger. The sheath silhouette, which had been emerging for several seasons, arrived definitely to change the average look of women throughout the country. As is usual with most changes in fashion, it was worn first by the well-dressed and well-heeled few, gradually percolated to the multitudes. This year women looked like lampshades only after 5 p.m. or if they were under 18.

Top favorite outfit of the year was the costume consisting of sheath dress and jacket, preferably a brief curved bolero. Waistlines were less nipped, dresses were like tubes and the desired effect was to look like a column. Belts could he anywhere from bust to hips, but they did not change the line of the silhouette, which closely followed the body line, with or without belts.

As dresses and suits grew narrower, hats grew bigger, the universal favorite of the winter being the fuzzy white hat of fur or fabric, somewhat dome-shaped, worn level on the head.

Accessories became more important with the slimming of the silhouette -handbags were bigger, jewelry more bulky. Women went in for big button earrings, multiple bold bracelets, choker necklaces rather than the ropes that were fashionable last year.

This was the year of the stretch stocking, which also had been in the process of development for several years, but arrived in full force in 1955. This was the doll-size stock of crimped nylon yarn, which stretched to fit and often was sole with long-wear guaranty.

New also in 1955 was the easily washable glove in suede or kid and in all colors, which could be tossed in the washing machine, came out looking like new.

Small contoured furs became more popular than large stoles with some fluffy furs such as fox challenging the supremacy of mink.


Designers predict 1956 fashion as follows:

  • Claire McCardell: "The high waistline may really go over."
  • Adele Simpson: "The whole wardrobe will be colorful - but alone color."
  • Ben Zuckerman: "The suit will look like a suit - not like a dress.
  • Lilly Dache: "Women will look like flowers."
  • Helen Lee: "Children will get a large share of the clothing dollar.'
  • Mollie Parnis: "Women will still prefer full skirts after 5."
      Purple Flower
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