Retro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950’s makeup

Retro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950's makeup | www.eccentricowl.comRetro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950's makeup | Any time I research anything like “1950’s style” or “1950’s makeup/hair looks”, I’m always overwhelmed and bored by how many people think that the equation for a 50’s look is just victory rolls + red lips + cat eye + fluffy skirt. And a lot of pearls. I’ve tried looking for authentic 1950’s makeup or hair tutorials in hopes that someone might stray from this standard, but to no avail. And I just want to shout “you guys, come ON. Have you ever even watched a movie from the fifties???”

Sure, sometimes they wore red lipstick. Sometimes they did victory rolls. Sometimes they had fluffy skirts held out by petticoats. But watching a movie or searching street style from that era, there was so much more. And very few cat-eye looks, I should point out. I feel as though more often, it was pink or orange or even neutral lipsticks, soft brown shadows (or, hello, blue shadow), liner that was pretty subtle (it was all about the lip shape back then), fantastic brows, and hair that was fluffed and curled to glamorous volume. Retro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950's makeup | Retro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950's makeup | Hair was parted down the middle, given that special wave to one side, pulled back, worn up, tied back with ribbons, tied up in a headscarf, and even worn straight and flippy at the ends. Along with those puffy dresses were skirts that had subtle volume and flowed with the body, tied-up shirts, wide lapels, smart slacks and neck scarves, short shorts, and slinky, body-hugging cocktail dresses. And so many button up blouses, my goodness, the button up blouses.Retro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950's makeup | Retro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950's makeup |

So today, I wanted nothing more than to present a really authentic 1950’s makeup and hair (and outfit) look, but I was running short on time and I really want to research this more before I present a tutorial. There won’t be any cat eye-linerΒ  in it, and probably no bright red lips, either. My hair isn’t going to be in victory rolls. And um… no fake lashes, either.

Today’s look was inspired by the 50’s, though; I used this makeup ad as a somewhat guide, and was originally going to use orange lips (as advertised) but… the 50’s women did like to match, and this skirt is pink. Retro floral skirt, polka dots, and 1950's makeup |

skirt, Tara Starlet | shirt and sandals, Target | earrings, vintage/grandma’s | headscarf, thrifted

And once I had done with my makeup, I didn’t have time to get to my hair much more than pulling it back. It will most likely end up in a ponytail by the end of the day, because it’s going to be a hot day and I’m a pregnant woman.

I’ve also realized that I have absolutely no plain button up blouses in my closet (at ALL.) so that is a thing I must rectify before I can properly pinpoint a true 1950’s style look. I’ve noticed that a large reason I love vintage looks is the history, the research, and getting something just perfectly right. It’s the perfect subject for my nerd side and my fashion side.

What do you guys notice most about retro looks? Is there a historic era that you think people get wrong all the time?

(P.S. This is not to say that people can’t dress in a retro way inspired by vintage instead of being historically accurate — even I, with my love for being authentic, do not want to be a perfect vintage reproduction all the time. I’m just saying those who do present tutorials as “authentic” while falling back on the three hugely popular things from that era (victory rolls, cat eye makeup, red lips) should rethink their authenticity.)

And lastly, isn’t this skirt glorious?! Thank you, Marlen, for that post about 7 ways to wear a checkered print, or I would never have been aware of Tara Starlet and her gorgeous line.

Happy Monday!


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  • skye

    “Is there a historic era that you think people get wrong all the time?”

    What era *don’t* people get wrong all the time, really? πŸ˜›

    My biggest pet peeve is an attitude rather than an era, I think. A lot of vintage lovers talk about ’50s bathing suits and old-fashioned glamour like they’re more “wholesome” than today’s string bikinis and spray tans, even though the former were considered scandalous in their own time. Standards of modesty have changed so that they’re less eye-catching today, but women who wore them were very much trailblazers and very much got a lot of flack.

    Oh, and I also grit my teeth when people confuse “’80s-does-’50s” for the real thing.

    I have multiple plain button-up blouses! We can arrange to swap a few.

    • skye

      OH, and when people claim that Victorian garb was all shades of gray! They had plenty of color; their cameras were just black and white.

  • Alesha A.

    I completely agree! Historical fashion and costuming is a passion of mine, and it irks me to see so many stereotypical looks that don’t line up with the actual look of the era. (It seems that everyone in today’s world believes every. single. woman. in the 1920s had cropped haircuts and every woman in the 1940s wore their hair in victory rolls! Not the least bit true!)

    Dramatic cat-eye liner, like most people nowadays associate with the 1950s, was definitely a strong 1960s trend. Not to say that flicked eyeliner didn’t exist in the ’50s, but it wasn’t the standard and, when used, was quite subtle. The red lipstick rule was definitely true of the ’40s. I would say that red lipstick was probably still the most common color in the 1950s, but it was joined by pink and orange- it was all about coordination!

    There are definitely so many more options than people think! The haute couture photo shoots are absolutely stunning, but the movies, street style photographs, and advertisements of past eras are some of my favorite things to look at for genuine inspiration of what the average human being was wearing!

  • CiCi Marie

    Completely agree – I don’t think there’s enough tutorials for authentic looks out there. I did attempt to write one myself a while ago when my blog was starting out but I’ll admit I stole the basic approach from Lauren Rennells’s fab book on retro makeup. If you haven’t seen that yet I highly, highly recommend it! I love what we know as a more classic modern pin-up makeup look, but it’s not what they go around wearing in old films usually, no!

    Your outfit is gorgeous – I’ve never put dots and florals together but it’s so lovely and summery. Prettiness! CC x

  • Hannah Rupp

    In terms of misrepresented decades, my vote is for ’80s. Those school parties where girls dress up in head-to-toe neon is gag worthy. The guys always seem to nail it though. How does that happen??

    But everyone is open to their own interpretation and at least they’re trying! It’s nice to see people appreciate the past, even if it’s a little skewed.

    I am totally feeling the 50s vibes from your getup. You look so classy and perfect for an afternoon lunching with ladies.. or chasing a baby. πŸ˜‰

    -Hannah | The Outfit Repeater

  • Mica

    I think it worked out well with the polka dot blouse, I like the print mixing with the floral! It’s good you didn’t have a plain blouse! πŸ™‚ Also your hair in this is lovely! πŸ™‚ I’m taking part in a style challenge on instagram at the moment and I’m tempted to try re-create this, as I’m going to wear a scarf in my hair tomorrow…we will see how I go, haha!

    To get to the point of your post, I’m one of those people who isn’t very into history so I have no idea about all of the different eras – but I agree with you that there is a lot of misinformation out there! One of the reasons I don’t know much, you find lots of incorrect and conflicting information!

    Away From The Blue