Fashion Flashback- Style Trends from May 1955 Ladies Home Journal

Cover Ladies Home Journal May 1955

I recently added this May 55 issue of Ladies Home Journal to my ever expanding vintage magazine collection. I can’t seem to control myself! And though LHJ wasn’t the “high fashion” magazine that Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar were, their fashion editor, Wilhela Cushman certainly did an amazing job with her editorial spreads, often working with some of the most well known fashion photographers and models of the day. She also promoted many American fashion designers by featuring their clothing in her fashion articles.  It’s a great way for me to discover lesser known labels that I can be on the lookout for on my vintage clothing searches!

In this particular issue one of the fashion editorials covers celebrity fashion.  Just like today, women were interested in seeing famous people dressed in the latest trends.

This article is titled “Bright Young Stars” and shows up and coming starlets in pretty summer dresses.

Some of the names you will definitely recognize.

Left-Italian born Pier Angeli won a Golden Globe Award in 1951 for her starring role in the film Teresa. She is wearing a black pique dress with white organdy jacket by Sam Friedlander.

Center– Janice Rule played many roles, one of which was the rival for James Stewart’s affections against the famous Kim Novack who was the witch in Bell, Book and Candle. Here she is wearing a full pleated paisley dress by Morgan Fauth.

Right- And here’s the charming Debbie Reynolds in an adorable pink gingham dress trimmed in black lace by Mr. Sidney.

Actresses modelling the lastest fashions in 1955


Anne Francis was starring in Blackboard Jungle at the time of this shoot. She is wearing a flower print organza  hostess dress by Christian Dior, New York.


Actress Anne Francis in Christian Dior

Here’s the very young Julie Andrews in a long white lounging coat by Robert Rosenfeld. Love the fabulous red polka dot scarf tied at the neck. (Note to self on new way to wear a scarf!)

Julie Andrews wearing Robert Rosenfeld lounging coat

Lois Smith made her film debut in Elia Kazan’s East of Eden when this photo of her was taken.  She is a talented, versatile actress who has had a long career in film, theater and television. Recently she even played Sookie Stackhouse’s grandmother in True Blood!

And here she is in 1955 looking stunning in a polka dot organza shirtwaist dress by Rappi.

Actress Lois Smith wearing polka dot shirtwaister by Rappi

Elsewhere in the magazine I found this ad for McKettrick dresses and I fell instantly in love! I’m now on the lookout for a cute black and white gingham check dress to wear.  The red hat and snazzy convertible are the perfect accessories!

Black and with gingham check dress by McKettrick

Red and white striped pique dress with sweet collar. By Nornie for Lanz. I do believe the  name refers to Nornie and Werner Scharff who owned the Lanz of California clothing company in the 50s. Nornie was the chief designer of the line.

And how cute is the red bucket purse? Would love to find a similar one for summer!

Red and white striped dress by Nornie Lanz

Here’s a handsome color coordinated couple out grocery shopping. She’s wearing a chambray pleated dress with a striped bodice by Kaspar. White straw bag and shell bracelet. This outfit is a pretty preppy look  perfect for a day of shopping in Palm Beach or Nantucket!

And take a look at the guy’s feet. I do believe he’s wearing a pair of slippers with socks, a look I actually see quite a bit down here in Florida, especially on young men. Next time I see my stepson I’m going to show him this picture to let him know his trendy look actually goes waaaaay back!

Kaspar Chambray dress

Can never go wrong with polka dots for summer. Truly timeless. Black and white dot dress by Ben Barrack. Accompanied by cute black straw bag ( Another purse I’ll be on the lookout for!) and yellow hat by Lilly Dache.

Ben Barrack black and white polka dot dress

And here’s an ad for one of the hot lipstick shades of the season, Slightly Scarlet by Cutex.  The gorgeous dress on the model is inspired by a Carolyn Schnurer design. Ms Schnurer was a pioneer in the American sportswear industry.

And dig the red Thunderbird!


Cutex Slightly Scarlet

Keds still makes casual shoes today and they’ve even got some really cute styles. But back in the day they had a special line of shoes for women called Kedettes, many styles I wish they would bring back! I particularly like the strappy “capri shell” and the “gay espadrille.”

Kedettes summer shoes 1955

I’m sure you’ve heard of Red Cross shoes. They were owned by the largest shoe company in the US who also owned Cobbie Shoes. If you’re interested in fashion industry history there are some really interesting facts about the company here.

Though I love all the styles pictured below, my favs are the two straw sandal styles. There were lots of shoes made with woven straw in the 50s. I own a couple of pair and they are super cute, super comfortable and look great with summer dresses.

Red Cross summer shoes 1955

So that’s my  fashion trend flashback for this month. Hope you enjoyed!





By | 2016-05-16T20:38:52-04:00 May 16th, 2016|Fashion|6 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. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell May 30, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks Jessica. I really enjoy the “celebrity” fashions of the past so much more than the ones worn today.

  2. Avatar
    Jessica Cangiano May 27, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    This such a delightful post! What a treat to see some of Hollywood’s best leading ladies of all time modelling a selection of the era’s finest (and most covetable!) fashions. I enjoy this trip back to the mid-50s immensely!

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell May 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    The polka dot shirtdress is fabulous isn’t it? Very girly. And Mr SlipperSocks is definitely making quite the fashion statement!

  4. Avatar
    Suzanne May 17, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I loved all of these! So many gorgeous pieces styled to perfection.

    That polkadot shirt dress is my favourite.

    The ad with the man wearing slippers with socks is very unique.


  5. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell May 17, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I watched True Blood as well and I didn’t know who played Sookie’s Gran either. She was quite a talented actress, who I didn’t realize played many roles over the years, Five Easy Pieces, Fatal Attraction, Fried Green Tomatoes, Twister and lots more.

  6. Avatar
    Vicki May 16, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Such pretty dresses. I was an avid fan of True Blood, but never knew “Gran” was played by Lois Smith. And that’s a lovely dress she’s wearing in that photo!

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