Holiday Evening Gowns-1950

Below are some photos of glamorous holiday evening gowns from a fashion spread in the December 1951 issue of Ladie’s Home Journal.  What I wouldn’t give to have a closet full of these!

The accompanying text for the article was written by Wilhela Cushman,who was fashion editor of the Journal for 25 years.

“Time to be feminine, to look the way men like to see you-in a drift of tulle, in lacy cotton over taffeta, in a column of satin with a trailing panel. Your shoulders are bare, your waistline bracelet-size, your skirts ruffled and puffed, fan pleated, side draped. You’ll wear opal colors-especially mauve, violet and blue. Your slippers will be jewel colored velvet and you’ll twine rhinestones or pearls round your arms and in your hair.”

Did you catch the part about the “bracelet sized waist”?  Now you know why so many dresses from that era have such small waistlines.  The hourglass shape was the height of fashion,  and women laced themselves into corsets and waistcinchers to create that extremely curvy look.

First up is a frothy pink confection by Ceil Chapman.  Reminds me of cotton candy!  And how about that silver Christmas tree with the pink roses on it? Swoon!

Pink ruffled tulle gown by Ceil Chapman

Pink ruffled tulle gown by Ceil Chapman

This next festive frock is an emerald green satin column gown with floating panel by Wilson Folmar.   Dresses with his label are sought after among savvy vintage clothing collectors.  He designed very stylish, higher end cocktail and evening wear.

Emerald green satin gown by Wilson Folmar.

Emerald green satin gown by Wilson Folmar.

Another smashing gown by Ceil Chapman in embroidered organdy over taffeta, accompanied by a gold taffeta coat.


Organdy dress with taffeta coat by Ceil Chapman.

This violet beauty is a Mark Mooring creation. He was a designer for Bergdorf Goodman and also a Coty Fashion Critics Award winner.

Dresses with his label are scarcer than hen’s teeth. So if you ever run across one, consider it the equivalent of hitting the lottery!

Violet taffeta gown by Mark Mooring.

Violet taffeta gown by Mark Mooring.

By | 2014-02-17T09:08:54-04:00 December 17th, 2009|Fashion|2 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Avatar
    blackhoney112 January 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I just found you site and Ive fallen in love! I must say that the top 2 dresses look like gowns worn to the 2010 Golden Globes!!!!! I agree with previous poster us ordinary folk dont get a chance for that sort of dress up =(

  2. Avatar
    Melanie December 19, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Finding your blog was such a highlight to my day!
    I love the classic vintage pieces you feature, and this
    post just makes me long to be a 50’s housewife.
    Nowadays who can wear a dress like that gorgeous pink frock
    to a holiday party and get away with it?!

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