Happy Irish Fashion Friday! In what I hope will be a regular feature on the blog I hope to feature some aspect of Irish fashion on at least one Friday a month. Either in the form of a profile on a designer or style or delving deeper into aspects of Irish fashion and style! This particular blog post concentrates on Fabulous Fifties fashion in Ireland and how Ireland was as fashionable as the rest of the world. Without further ado let’s put our best dress on and pull up our stockings and delve into the post!
The 1950s in Ireland was a decade of change. At the beginning of the decade we had to contend with the economic down turn of the post-war period but by the end of the period Ireland was starting to hold her own on the world stage once more. By the 1960s, Ireland was beginning the slow process of modernizing across society that gained momentum in the 1970s and 1980s with changes in the law to make the country a fairer place for everyone, especially women!
Many associate Ireland in the 1950s with the traditional imagery of the pre-World War Two era of cottages, women wearing shawls, sheep in fields, and wide open green spaces. These tropes did continue to exist but many Irish women were as fashionable as their British or French counterparts. This was partly due to the excellent home-made fabrics such as linen and tweed that where still produced in quantity in this period.
These lovely ladies and gents above could possibly be wearing clothing made of fabric made in Ireland or at the very least stitched and made into garments in Ireland. The lovely lady on the left is wearing a beautiful tulle and possibly silk Dior-esque evening gown and fur overcoat. Whilst the lady on the right appears to be wearing something similar albeit without such a full skirt. Her dapper male friend is also wearing a wonderful bow-tie and evening jacket to finish of the couple’s ensembles.
It’s easy to forget that not everyone dressed with aplomb in the 1950s or cared to wear the full-skirted and nipped in silhouette that was fashionable at the time. The lady with possibly her daughter on the left is still wearing recognizable 1950s silhouette of pencil skirt, blouse, fur jacket and waved hair. The ladies on the right are wearing a mixture of 1950s silhouette with the lady to the left of the photograph wearing a fabulous 1950s Princess coat with matching handbag and small beret. The beret sits at the back of the head which would show of your 1950s permed hair to perfection and was secured with either bobby pins or hat pins.
All of these photographs are taken from the amazing Man on Bridge website; a website dedicated to the street photography of Arthur Fields and were all taken in Dublin from the 1920s to 1980s. The two images above are two of my favourite from the 1950s and are the epitome of 1950s style. The two beautifully made up ladies on the left-hand side wear either a full length evening coat with matching leopard print collar or a tweed or wool skirt with fur collar for possibly a night out dancing! The lady on the left has a small, possibly leather, carry all with loop handle which was highly fashionable in the 1950s and matching white pancake hat and earrings to complete her look. The couple on the right look immensely happy and must have had a good night out at the cinema! The lady’s white, full-skirted dress and matching shoes are accompanied by a light colour fur coat which match perfectly. I would be happy with either outfit of the three ladies in these photographs!
Finally, any 1950s Irish post would not be complete without the requisite imagery of what was probably new to Ireland then, ‘The Teenager,’ or young person enjoying themselves. The young ladies in both of these photographs seem to be having a wonderful time out shopping in their printed cotton day dresses and matching cardigans. Whilst the ladies on the left are fashionably wrapped up in 1950s woolen Princess coats with one with a head scarf wrapped around her envious hair do. As you can see with these photographs the women of Ireland were as fashionable in the 1950s as their European counterparts. They followed world wide trends and wore 1950s Dior inspired dresses just as many British and American ladies did. They may not have always worn the fashions that came out year on year due to budget restraints or availability of clothing but they certainly were fabulous in 1950s Ireland.
All photographs linked unless otherwise stated.