In the summer of 1956 the Ladies Home Journal featured some lovely fashions that I wanted to share in hopes of inspiring women to add a little more classic glamour to their summer wardrobe.. I’m in love with all of these as they’re so classy and ladylike. The two most popular styles were the fittest bodice, full skirt dress, a silhouette that was still in vogue since Dior created the “New Look” in the late 1940s, and the fitted sheath dress, often with a matching coat. As usual for 1950s fashions, the look was very polished, since women still dressed up most of the time, even for what we would consider casual outings today. Gloves, purses, hats, jewelry often matched or at least complemented each other.
The fabulous little black dress pictured below, with its matching cropped jacket, was made of silk with a linen like weave by Ben Barrack. The article by Ruth Mary Packard states “ If you own this versatile wonder of a dress … you seldom face a crisis over what to wear. The fashion must be simple, understated – the background for your most ingenious ideas, and so adaptable that it can be turned to many hours and occasions. “
Ben Barrack was a dress maker from the 50′s and 60′s who once said “Our objective is to produce clothes that will sell year in and year out, and that is what we are doing.” Looks like he was successful because I would certainly snap this beauty up today! The John Frederics hat looks smashing with it, and red print bag by Ben Ingher adds a perfect touch of color.
Black Silk Ben Barrack Dress and Jacket
And no 50s summer wardrobe would be complete without at least one pretty Jerry Gilden frock. This one in a silk print that comes with its own petticoat. And in blue and white, a clean, cool, classic color combination for warm weather.
Blue print silk Jerry Gilden dress 1956
And let’s not forget about gingham! A classic summertime look, this one by Alfred Green. If you like this look, then check out our latest 50s style dresses with gingham checks, both in black and red.
1956 Gingham Dress by Alfred Green
This sleek, chic blue linen sheath dress by Henry Rosenfeld has a matching full length coat. Henry Rosenfeld was a dress manufacturer whose company made what he referred to as “Class market dresses at mass market prices.” Upscale looking clothing at budget prices. As a side note, it is also rumored that he used to date Marilyn Monroe!
The pretty flower wreath hat by John Frederics reminds me of the floral headbands that so on trend this season, and the white gloves and pearls dress up this outfit nicely.
1956 Linen Dress and Coat by Henry Rosenfeld
Another classic for summer, polka dots! This sheath dress by Jean Campbell, worn with a crisp white rayon/linen bolero. And how about that adorable white beret?
Black and white polka dot dress by Jean Campbell, 1956
A fabulous sundress like this navy and white paisley border print by Doris Fein would work for a day of shopping and lunch with the girls or dinner at a waterfront cafe.
Paisley border print sundress by Doris Fein, 1956
Which one is a look that you’d be inspired to try?