1950′s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles1950′s Cocktail dresses were women’s special dresses appropriate for dinners, parties, and special dates! Like most 50′s dresses these came down to below the knee and were made of finer rayons, satins, silks and high end cottons. They were usually solid colors in vibrant colors like emerald green, Safire blue and deep red. Of course black was a popular color for cocktail dresses known as ‘little black dresses.’

Decoration could either be very minimal with a little glass beading around the neckline, or fully covered in sequins. The beauty in most 1950′s cocktail dresses was in the design of the pleating, ruching, folds, and gathers. Fabric was bunched and draped in interesting patterns around the bodice and sometimes in the skirt as well. Most dresses had a wide sash band or thin belt in the same material as the dress.

1950′s Cocktail Dresses: The Full Circle Dress

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt StylesThere are two 1950′s cocktail dress silhouettes. The first is what we consider house dresses or swing dresses. They are full skirts, often worn with petticoats, with tight fitted bodices, and either short cap sleeves or no sleeves at all. The sleeveless dress was a new invention in the 1950′s and women embraced the fashion.

The circle dress shape was the choice dress for housewives and casual office workers worn without petticoats. However for evening wear the dresses were dressed up with nicer materials and prettier decorations and usually had very puffy petticoats underneath.  For very special formal wear these full skirted dresses were longer and with larger amounts of tulle.

1950′s Cocktail Dresses: The Sheath Dress

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt StylesThe other 1950′s cocktail dress silhouette was the sheath dress. These dresses were a bit shorter and very slim around the body. The terms wiggle dress or pencil dress describe sheath dresses  although these various are tighter then 50′s dresses were. The idea was to make an nice high waisted hour glass shape yet still be able to walk and sit in them. Sheath dresses were especially popular with city women, Hollywood stars, and wives who married very well. 1950′s Sheath dresses had subtle design changes throughout the decade.

Today the sheath style dress is very common for cocktail attire. The TV show Mad Men features most women wearing sheath dresses, which remained popular though the 1960′s. With a  conservative sophisticated 50′s flair to sheath dresses they have become new icons for the fashion runways today.

Both dresses can look amazing on any body type. Don’t let the 1950′s ads fool you. Many women were quite voluptuous in the 1950′s and they looked good in both styles.

Here are some 1950′s style cocktail dresses for sale from around the web. Also check out 1950′s Dresses , 1950′s Plus Size dresses, and 1960′s/Mad Men dresses for more options:

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Firelit Feast Dress from ModCloth

$99.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

The Evening Unfolds Dress in Black from ModCloth

$139.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Pink & Black Lux Lace Swing Dress

$156.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Black Lace Annabella Wiggle Dress

$60.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Black & White Blanc! Noir! Fleur! Scoop Neck Belted Swing Dress

$132.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Eggplant Flirty Cotton Swing Dress - XS to 4XL

$98.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

The Neyla Dress in Bleu from ModCloth

$132.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Prep the Playlist Dress from ModCloth

$76.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

The Evening Unfolds Dress in Red from ModCloth

$139.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

The Sounds of Soul Dress from ModCloth

$277.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

BEST SELLER! 1950s Style Black Cotton Sateen Scallop Brenda Swing Dress

$122.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

BEST SELLER! Stop Staring! Mad Men Eggplant Pleated Bodice Cap Sleeve Swing Dress

$158.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Black 1950s Style Haute Stephanie Swing Dress

$130.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Red Three-Quarter Sleeve Vickie Wiggle Dress

$138.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Stop Staring! 1940s Style Tan Hazel Keyhole Wiggle Dress

$166.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Stop Staring! Silver Metallic Radiant Fitted Wiggle Dress

$175.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Black Tulle Strapless Dress

$132.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Peach Polka Dot Brocade Priscilla Dress

$192.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Black Scoop Neck Belted Swing Dress

$124.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Nezetta Plus Size Cocktail Dress in Navy/Gold

$119.99

Buy at: igigi.com

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Natural Nominee Dress from ModCloth

$199.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Tasting for Two Dress from ModCloth

$64.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Presidential Personality Dress from ModCloth

$199.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Posh at the Party Dress from ModCloth

$134.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Sublime Shine Dress from ModCloth

$72.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Demure All I Want Dress in Noir from ModCloth

$104.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Retro Style Covered Cocktail Jacket Dress

$260.00

Buy at: Bluegala.com and alight.com

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Hailey by Adrianna Papell Glitter Tulle Ball Gown (Online Only)

$178.00

Buy at: NORDSTROM.com

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Adrianna Papell Pleat Bodice Rosette Ballgown

$238.00

Buy at: NORDSTROM.com

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

With Only a Wink Dress in Ivory from ModCloth

$139.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Old-Fashioned Fanfare Dress from ModCloth

$149.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Kay Unger New York Shawl Collar Dress in Misty Blue

$165.00

Buy at: CoutureCandy.com

This entry was posted in 1950's Fashion History on by .

About Debbie Sessions

Debbie Sessions is passionate about wearing history through fashion. She and her husband, Oscar, have turned their hobby into a career by teaching others how to re-create vintage style with affordable new vintage inspired clothing and accessories. We connect shoppers to the best vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories to buy online making VintageDancer a great place to start your shopping. When not working Debbie and Oscar enjoy living in their vintage 1920's house and raising their new baby girl in Reno, Nevada, USA

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