Photography: 1950s ladieswear

I kind of consider the 1950s (when it comes to fashion, at least) as starting with Dior’s New Look in 1947 and continuing until the early 1960s when styles became more simple, hemlines rose and the Mod era was born.

Here are some of my favourite garments from this time, and some choice pieces from the private collection of Dr Lynn Savery.

“Atomic” print cotton sundress
50s atomic detail

50s atomic sundress

Bathing suits
50s bathing suit 4

50s bathing suit 5

Beaded cardigan from Hong Kong
50s beaded cardi

Nylon petticoat with accordian pleats: from Lynn’s collection
50s petticoat

One of Lynn’s Lilli Ann suits (late 1940s)
50s grey suit

Melbourne made Hula Girl dress- with applique, embroidery and beads.
50s hula dress

Silk opera coat from Collins street icon “Le Louvre”
50s opera coat

Spotty silk frock from “Le Louvre”
50s spotty dress

Red and black wool jacket – collection of Lynn Savery.
50s red jkt

Black wool suit – collection of Lynn Savery.
50s suit

Polished cotton sundress.
50s sundress


  1. My mother had an opera coat just like that one, except hers was David Jones make. Alas, it was a little too small for me, and tore just under the arm. And then I lent it to a friend for a ball, and never saw it again.


  2. The polished cotton sundress may be a knock off. Unfortunately due to vintage sewing patterns…..Many reproductions of 50’s dresses are in circulation. I actually have the pattern for that dress. 🙂 I even scored 8 feet of 50’s vintage fabric from a local antique store. Gillian Vogue makes a reproduction sewing pattern for that particular opera coat. Good news for you 🙂

  3. Thanks for your comment Suzanne: it’s quite true – there are many reproductions out there. I judge vintage not just on style and fabric though, but by construction and labelling, and provenance. I bought the sundress from the estate of a local lady who had passed away over forty years ago. Her whole wardrobe had been shut up since then.

    A reproduction dress is usually made using more modern construction techniques: overlocked seams, nylon zippers or modern buttons. Reproductions can be a wonderful way to give a modern wearer a vintage look without the age related issues of older fabrics and sewing, but I’m pretty adept at identifying them.

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