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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Retro Floral Printed High Waist Shorts
 

Retro Floral Printed High Waist Shorts

$29.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Red High Waist Stretch Belted Shorts
 

Red High Waist Stretch Belted Shorts

$25.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Tandem Tour Shorts in Black from ModCloth
 

Tandem Tour Shorts in Black from ModCloth

$34.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Retro High Waist Distressed Denim Shorts
 

Retro High Waist Distressed Denim Shorts

$31.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Pink Lily Print High Waist Shorts
 

Pink Lily Print High Waist Shorts

$30.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Retro Flower Embroidery Printed Shorts with Vent Hemline
 

Retro Flower Embroidery Printed Shorts with Vent Hemline

$78.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Retro High Waist Skinny Denim Shorts
 

Retro High Waist Skinny Denim Shorts

$29.00

Buy at: ChicNova

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

Unique Vintage Mrs. Cooper Black High-Waisted Sailor Short Swim Bottoms
 

Unique Vintage Mrs. Cooper Black High-Waisted Sailor Short Swim Bottoms

$44.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Navy Denim High Waist Removable Suspender Overall Shorts
 

Navy Denim High Waist Removable Suspender Overall Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

It's High Time Short in Red
 

It's High Time Short in Red

$39.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Retro Style Taupe High Waist Ponte Stretch Shorts
 

Retro Style Taupe High Waist Ponte Stretch Shorts

$34.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Cherry Red & Gold High Waist Stretch Shorts
 

Cherry Red & Gold High Waist Stretch Shorts

$42.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

boohoo Hetty High Waisted Double Stitch Woven Short - black
 

boohoo Hetty High Waisted Double Stitch Woven Short - black

£14.00

Buy at: boohoo.com

Black Belted High Waist Bermuda Shorts
 

Black Belted High Waist Bermuda Shorts

$25.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Navy Blue Nautical High Waist Expatriate Knit Shorts
 

Navy Blue Nautical High Waist Expatriate Knit Shorts

$58.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Navy Blue Denim Button Up High Waist Stretch Shorts
 

Retro Style Navy Blue Denim Button Up High Waist Stretch Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Retro Style Black Denim Button Up High Waist Stretch Shorts
 

Retro Style Black Denim Button Up High Waist Stretch Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

White High Waist Button Stretch Sailor Shorts
 

White High Waist Button Stretch Sailor Shorts

$28.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Cherry Red High Waist Zipper Stretch Shorts
 

Cherry Red High Waist Zipper Stretch Shorts

$34.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

Dark Wash Navy Denim High Waisted Stretch Shorts
 

Dark Wash Navy Denim High Waisted Stretch Shorts

$38.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

High Waist PU Leather Shorts
 

High Waist PU Leather Shorts

$18.13

Buy at: ChicNova

Daisy Print Short Sleeves High Waist Dress
 

Daisy Print Short Sleeves High Waist Dress

$25.53

Buy at: ChicNova

Coloredrendering Denim Shorts with High Waist
 

Coloredrendering Denim Shorts with High Waist

$39.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Pure Color High Waist Shorts
 

Pure Color High Waist Shorts

$18.13

Buy at: ChicNova

Elastic High Waist Plaid Shorts
 

Elastic High Waist Plaid Shorts

$28.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Vintage Preppy Style High Waist Shorts
 

Vintage Preppy Style High Waist Shorts

$14.43

Buy at: ChicNova

Vintage Floral Print High Waist Shorts
 

Vintage Floral Print High Waist Shorts

$55.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Ethnic High Waist Pope Shorts
 

Ethnic High Waist Pope Shorts

$23.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Light Blue High Waist Shorts with Rolled Cuffs
 

Light Blue High Waist Shorts with Rolled Cuffs

$18.00

Buy at: ChicNova

High Waist Denim Shorts with Slashing
 

High Waist Denim Shorts with Slashing

$56.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Denim High Waist Shorts
 

Denim High Waist Shorts

$18.13

Buy at: ChicNova

Flower Print High Waist Shorts
 

Flower Print High Waist Shorts

$18.13

Buy at: ChicNova

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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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