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

$49.99

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
 

The Evening Unfolds Dress in Black from ModCloth

$139.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

The Neyla Dress in Bleu from ModCloth

$94.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Emerald Sweet as Pie Strapless Chiffon Swing Dress

$84.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Lilac Lace 1950s Party Swing Dress

$110.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Navy Blue Satin Happily Ever After Pleated Swing Dress

$86.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

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
 

Unique Vintage Purple Sweet as Pie Strapless Chiffon Swing Dress

$25.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

With Only a Wink Dress in Ivory from ModCloth

$149.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Red Three-Quarter Sleeve Cocktail Dress

$118.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

PRE-ORDER Unique Vintage Black Satin & Tulle Strapless Dress

$148.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

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
 

Tasting for Two Dress from ModCloth

$64.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

PRE-ORDER Unique Vintage Ivory Satin & Tulle Strapless Dress

$148.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Presidential Personality Dress from ModCloth

$99.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Black Satin Happily Ever After Pleated Swing Dress

$91.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Black Tulle Strapless Dress

$99.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Sublime Shine Dress from ModCloth

$72.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Nezetta Plus Size Cocktail Dress in Navy/Gold

$89.49

Buy at: igigi.com

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Black Garden State Mesh Cocktail Dress

$128.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Kay Unger New York Shawl Collar Dress in Misty Blue

$330.00

Buy at: CoutureCandy.com

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Exclusive - Black Lace Halter Swing Dress

$96.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

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
 

BEST SELLER! Classic Black Vogue Dress

$85.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Mac Duggal 2014 Couture - Platinum Chiffon & Beaded Tea Length Dress

$378.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Exclusive - Mint Green Tea Leaves Swing Dress

$128.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Ivory Satin & Chiffon Keyhole Cocktail Dress

$84.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

1950s Style White Tulle Dress

$118.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

2014 Prom Dresses - Cream Satin & Tulle Cap Sleeve Dress

$110.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Pink & Black Lux Lace Swing Dress

$117.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Ivory Latticed Laura Swing Dress

$108.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage First Date Draped Peach Chiffon Tulle Swing Dress

$96.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

2014 Prom Dresses - Aqua Tulle & Paisley Embellished Strapless Gown

$25.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Authentic Vintage 1950s Fushcia Tulle & Taffeta with Rose Accent Strapless Party Dress - Sz. XS

$206.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage 1950s Style Black Draped Collar Tulle Swing Dress

$128.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Black Avedon Sheer Lace Overlay Swing Dress

$88.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

PRE-ORDER Unique Vintage Draped Collar Coral Rose Tulle Swing Dress

$128.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage Aqua Ice Tulle Strapless Party Dress

$84.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Plus Size Black Lace Retro Glam Cocktail Dress

$156.00

Buy at: Unique Vintage

1950s Cocktail Dresses: Sheath, Circle Skirt Styles
 

Unique Vintage White Sateen and Black Ribbon Tea Length Dress

$158.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

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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