Mail Order Memories-1955 Spring/Summer Spiegel Catalog (Part 1)

speigel catalog cover 1955

Am so very excited about my recent flea market finds.  I came across not one, but two,  Spiegel catalogs from 1955 and 1956.  I frequently find vintage fashion magazines to purchase,  but it’s pretty darn rare to find mail order catalogs in good condition and at bargain prices,  never mind two on the same day. Needless to say I was stoked!

In this post I’ve included a selection of womens’ and mens’ fashion images to give you an idea of what the fashion trends and shopping options were for the average person back then. There are so many things in this catalog I wish I could order now!

My next post will include textiles, home furnishing and decorative accessories.


50s Colors

I love the color palettes of the 50s because they’re so cheerful! Pink, turquoise and pastel colors in general were popular. From clothing, to cars, to home decor it was a dazzling decade,  a reflection of the country’s post World War II optimism.

turquoise print dresses Spiegel catalog 1955

50s Silouettes

The fitted bodice with full skirt is considered the iconic silhouette from that era. Though as you can see from the pink suit below, slim pencil skirts were also fashionable.

50s pink suit Spiegel spring summer catalog 1955

50s cotton dresses Spiegel catalog 1955

50s Novelty Prints

Some of the best textile prints came out of this decade. And currently, authentic 50s novelty prints are very collectible.

summer fashion Spiegel catalog 1955


Most of the cotton dresses in the catalog average around $10-13.  Though that may seem like serious bargain prices, it was not for the time period. Using an inflation calculator I discovered the cost of these dresses would be equivalent to $93-$120 today.

Print summer dresses Spiegel catalog 1955

50s Party Dresses

Of course, people dressed up a lot more in the 50s, which meant women had to have lots of party dresses and cocktail attire.   And those pouffy tulle dresses that were popular weren’t just for teenage girls to wear to prom. They were worn by both younger and older women, since the 50s  was all about being feminine and girly.

party dresses Spiegel catalog 1955

50s Coats

Swing coats and princess style coats were two popular coat styles. The swing coats below were made in  “poodle cloth”, which had a nubby texture.

This princess style beauty is my dream coat!

Princess coat-Spiegel catalog 1955

50s Mens Fashion

This style of jacket was inspired by the short military jackets that Dwight Eisenhower made standard issue for the military from the mid 1940s through the 50s. Known as the “Ike” jacket,  the style was re-interpreted as a  sporty look for men.

50s mens jackets

Men had some great options for colorful novelty prints too.

50s mens shirts-Spiegel catalog 1955

And even pink pants! The high waist with dropped loops and pleat fronts were referred to as “Hollywood Style”.

50s mens pants-Spiegel catalog 1955

Pretty pastel shoes and accessories. I’ll take one of each please!

50s womens pump-Spiegel catalog 1955

Wish I could find my husband some two tone shoes like these. Love the textures.

1950s mens shoes-Spiegel catalog 1955

The rest I’ve put in a gallery, otherwise you’d be scrolling forever!  Clicking on the images will show them in full size.

Which of these items would you order if you could?

Till next time……..


By | 2018-05-15T08:40:35-04:00 May 15th, 2018|Fashion|10 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 17, 2018 at 7:50 am

    You are right about that! I think it’s great when designers reach into the past for current design inspiration, so we can enjoy the classics in new ways over and over again.

  2. Avatar
    Kathrine Eldridge May 17, 2018 at 7:33 am

    So cool to see the fashions from this time! I see so much influence from these in today’s fashion. So happy that you scored these catalogs!

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell May 15, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I totally agree. In our more casual modern world there really aren’t enough occasions to wear dresses like this. Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like if I just wore one out to dinner or even grocery shopping! It sure would be a hoot.

  4. Avatar
    Suzanne May 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    A better question would be which wouldn’t I order? Ha ha! Fit and flares are one of my all time favourites. I just wish I had more (well any) events where I could wear tulle layered dresses daily. I mean who doesn’t like feeling like a princess?


  5. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell May 15, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    I agree Vix. There just aren’t any current day catalogs that I find as interesting as the vintage ones! Just so much great stuff that you don’t find today.

  6. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell May 15, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Ann, there are so many pages to this catalog. I wish I could post pix of them all. It is so much fun looking at everything though. And I still have the one from 1956 to go through!

  7. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell May 15, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    You know I never noticed that before! You are very observant 🙂 I didn’t realize pipes were such a “thing” back then.

  8. Avatar
    Vix May 15, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    How utterly fabulous! I adore old catalogues, they make me wish i had a time machine and I could go back and buy everything! xxx

  9. Avatar
    Ann May 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    So much fabulousness in one post! I am drooling over every page. This is exactly the kind of thing I’d love to find. I’m sure it would keep me occupied for weeks on end. Like you, I wish I could still order some of those clothes. At the original prices, obviously. It’s quite expensive in today’s prices … xxx

  10. Avatar
    Isabella May 15, 2018 at 11:29 am

    love this
    the men’s picture posing with pipes and golf clubs it’s the same with knitting patterns of the same period, they all have pipes as props

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