Women’s Vintage Retro 1950s Shorts

1950s shorts pin up

Early 50’s Short Shorts

The 1950’s decade was the first decade that embraced women wearing shorts for more than just beach wear. 1950’s Shorts came in several lengths and styles to fit a variety of leisure activities women enjoyed.

Short Shorts

1950s shorts vintage ad

1950s Short Shorts- the most common short length

1950s shorts

Oh My! These are very short shorts! Late 50’s.

The shortest of the 1950s shorts were “short shorts.” These came to about 6 inches above the knee and had classic 1950’s high waists and side zippers. These shorts were mostly worn on the beaches, or on pin up models. Another name for these shorts is culottes. Culottes could be short or a bit longer and have wide leg openings that flair out from a tight waist and hip.

These are the most popular style short worn by vintage retro clothing fans. The high waisted short slims the tummy and creates a thinner waist than low rise shorts. The short length of legs makes them sexy (that is if you have a thighs for it!)

 

 Bermuda Shorts

1950s shorts ad

3 lengths of 1950s shorts (L to R) – Bermuda, Pedal Pushers, Short HSorts

The most popular shorts length for women was the Bermuda short. These came to about 3 inches above the knee, again with high waists and side zip seams. They could fit rather loose and baggy just like pedal pusher pants, or more fitted and slimming (much like Bermuda shorts available today.)

Short soften did not have pockets (they added to much bulk to a slim silhouette) but some had ornamental pockets that had angled slit pockets. The ad on the left is an example of angled pockets.

 

 Pedal Pushers

The longest 1950’s shorts

(left) Pedal Pusher length

(left) Pedal Pusher length, (Middle) Bermuda Length, (Top) Short Shorts

1950s pedal pushers jeans

Jeans Pedal Pushers at Unique-Vintage.com

could also be called pants. Pedal pushers, also known as clam diggers, toreador pants, motor scooter slacks, calypso, and pirate pants all came to just below the knee with either wide straight legs or cuffed bottoms. These short pants were developed for cyclists who wanted the comfort of shorts and the safety of pants that wouldn’t tangle in bicycle chains.

It was popular among teens to roll up their jeans into the pedal pusher length. Many jeans came pre rolled as well making the pedal pusher shorts/pants common among women as well. Read more about 1950s pants styles. 

All 1950’s shorts were inspired by casual sport and travel wear with materials suitable for warm weather days. Cotton and synthetic “wrinkle free” fabrics were the most popular.  Solid, tropical colors like lime green, sherbet orange, and Caribbean blue were in demand as well as checks and prints in the same color family. Think “tacky tourist” clothing and your not far off from 50’s summer fashion.

1950’s Blouse

It was very common for women to buy a four piece matching clothing set with shirt, long pants, peddle pushers, and culotte shorts. This way women always had a matching outfit to wear for all kinds of  weather. If shirts didn’t match they were usually a light colored, short sleeve or sleeveless,  blouse.

What 1950’s shorts do you want to wear? Here are some new vintage inspired shorts and pants for your vintage wardrobe:

 

 

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Tandem Tour Shorts in Black from ModCloth
 

Tandem Tour Shorts in Black from ModCloth

$34.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Karaoke Songstress Shorts from ModCloth
 

Karaoke Songstress Shorts from ModCloth

$39.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Red High Waist Super Stretch Button Down Shorts
 

Red High Waist Super Stretch Button Down Shorts

$36.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Navy Denim High Waist Removable Suspender Overall Shorts
 

Navy Denim High Waist Removable Suspender Overall Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

boohoo Hetty High Waisted Double Stitch Woven Short - black
 

boohoo Hetty High Waisted Double Stitch Woven Short - black

£5.00

Buy at: boohoo.com

Dark Wash Navy Denim High Waisted Stretch Shorts
 

Dark Wash Navy Denim High Waisted Stretch Shorts

$32.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1940s Style Red & Cream Gingham High Waist Shorts
 

1940s Style Red & Cream Gingham High Waist Shorts

$42.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Grey & White Denim High Waist Eyelet Lace Shark Shorts
 

Grey & White Denim High Waist Eyelet Lace Shark Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Black High Waist Button Up Stretch Shorts
 

Black High Waist Button Up Stretch Shorts

$34.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

It's High Time Short in Yellow - Plus Size
 

It's High Time Short in Yellow - Plus Size

$19.99

Buy at: ModCloth

LOVEsick Navy High-Waisted Sailor Shorts
 

LOVEsick Navy High-Waisted Sailor Shorts

$22.13

Buy at: Hot Topic

LOVEsick Black V-Stitch High-Waisted Shorts
 

LOVEsick Black V-Stitch High-Waisted Shorts

$18.38

Buy at: Hot Topic

LOVEsick Dark Indigo High-Waisted Shorts
 

LOVEsick Dark Indigo High-Waisted Shorts

$18.38

Buy at: Hot Topic

Black Denim High Waisted Stretch Shorts
 

Black Denim High Waisted Stretch Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Blue High Waist Buttons Denim Shorts
 

Blue High Waist Buttons Denim Shorts

$18.00

Buy at: SheIn

Black High Waist Buttons Flange Denim Shorts
 

Black High Waist Buttons Flange Denim Shorts

$16.33

Buy at: SheIn

Hell Bunny Retro Style Black Sadie Swallow Embroidered High Waist Stretch Capri Pants
 

Hell Bunny Retro Style Black Sadie Swallow Embroidered High Waist Stretch Capri Pants

$62.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Black & White Polka Dot Belted High Waist Shorts
 

Retro Style Black & White Polka Dot Belted High Waist Shorts

$32.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Mint Green & Gold Faux Button High Waist Stretch Sailor Shorts
 

Mint Green & Gold Faux Button High Waist Stretch Sailor Shorts

$28.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Girl Meets Grill Shorts
 

Girl Meets Grill Shorts

$27.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Retro Style Black & Brown Leopard Peggy High Waist Capri Pants
 

Retro Style Black & Brown Leopard Peggy High Waist Capri Pants

$46.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Navy Stonewash Denim Button Up High Waist Shorts
 

Navy Stonewash Denim Button Up High Waist Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Dark Wash Denim High Waisted Button Up Cuffed Shorts
 

Retro Style Dark Wash Denim High Waisted Button Up Cuffed Shorts

$36.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Blue Denim High Waist Shorts
 

Retro Style Blue Denim High Waist Shorts

$42.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Mint & Floral High Waist Shorts
 

Retro Style Mint & Floral High Waist Shorts

$28.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Teal & Brown Tiki Print High Waist Mari Shorts
 

Retro Style Teal & Brown Tiki Print High Waist Mari Shorts

$68.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Charcoal Grey Denim High Waisted Button Up Shorts
 

Retro Style Charcoal Grey Denim High Waisted Button Up Shorts

$32.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Blue & White Polka Dot High Waist Grape Cotton Shorts
 

Blue & White Polka Dot High Waist Grape Cotton Shorts

$56.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Black & Red Berry Print High Waist Flirtini Shorts
 

Black & Red Berry Print High Waist Flirtini Shorts

$50.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Navy & Red Rockabilly High Waist Denim Shorts
 

Retro Style Navy & Red Rockabilly High Waist Denim Shorts

$60.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Leopard Print High Waist Shorts
 

Leopard Print High Waist Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Black Lace Crochet High Waist Cover Up Shorts
 

Black Lace Crochet High Waist Cover Up Shorts

$36.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Relaxed to the Max Shorts
 

Relaxed to the Max Shorts

$29.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Veggie Garden Grillin' Shorts in Dark Wash
 

Veggie Garden Grillin' Shorts in Dark Wash

$19.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Across Town Shorts in Black Dots
 

Across Town Shorts in Black Dots

$17.99

Buy at: ModCloth

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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 and teach fashion history as it was worn by everyday people. Need more help? Contact us anytime.

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