The Mid Century Ladies

Saturday, May 16, 2015

When I think of the Mid 20th Century, I think of glamorous women! The 1940s-1960s are, for me, the most verdant sources of usable beauty and fashion inspiration history has to offer. It was a time when fashion was still being refined from the very opulent early 20th century, but balancing on a new
line of femininity, post World War II (during which women were expected to take jobs outside the home to support the war effort, thereby putting traditional gender roles and fashion on the back-burner). All in all, in the Mid-20th Century, we were left with clean & simple, yet feminine silhouettes, still untouched by the 1970s breakdown, cropped hair, and fresh, bright makeup.

1940s hair, makeup, and silhouettes were all a bit more serious than the 1950s, which became a bit more whimsical and playful. WWII had just ended, and women were relishing the country's prosperity without yet being categorized as beings that belonged strictly within the home. Silhouettes were straight with thin skirts and shoulders were strong. Hair was cropped, curled, and refined. I love the emphasis on strongly arched eyebrows and pouty, tinted lips.

    Rita Hayworth                                                    Gene Tierney

The 1950s, aka the "Baby Boom" period (termed in 1951) is when the U.S. was experiencing great post-war prosperity to the point where women were expected to leave the work force almost entirely in order to have children and manage a home. This great gender role divide translated over to fashion heavily. Tiny waists, large breasts and hips (stereotypically feminine traits) were emphasized. This is where we see the large skirts a la Betty Draper & Grace Kelly. Makeup emphasized more dramatic coral pinks for lips and blue eyeshadow for the eyes, creating a doll-like effect. We see all of these things in the likes of Marilyn Monroe of course! 

Grace Kelly                                            Marilyn Monroe

The 1960s, my favorite of all, releases that tight waist, straightens out the skirts, and adds a touch more masculinity. Makeup-wise, emphasis is placed on the eyes. Lips are pretty nude or pink, and eyeliner is worn on the top lid (with typically less colorful or no eyeshadow). I'm not talking about Mod-60s style, which was on the more extreme, high fashion side, but more-so about everyday women's fashion and beauty here. My favorite ladies of the 60s are Jackie Kennedy, Monica Vitti, Brigitte Bardot, and Anna Karina. Their style is relaxed and a bit tousled, but still elegant and ladylike. 

Jackie O.                                             Monica Vitti

Anna Karina


  1. You always choose the prettiest photos Dayna!

    That's a gorgeous photo of Marilyn :)

  2. I really like that you added some history into this fashion talk. Putting the degree to good use ! haha

    1. aw thanks! xx yes finally getting some use out of it hehe

  3. I absolutely love the simplicity of your blog. And the pictures that you use are always mesmerizing!
    Definitely love the 50's/60's era; from Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe to Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin :)

  4. Love this post! I've always been drawn to mid 20th century fashion and style :)
    Much love,

  5. Hi Dayna. I remember this post you made a little while ago about your first pair of jeans. I would really appreciate if you posted some outfit pictures wearing them, whether here as an 'outfit of the day' post or on instagram. You're a fashion inspiration to me and it'd be amazing to see how you pull them off (coming from a person who doesn't know how to combine jeans to look put together). Thank you very much and as always, loving your blog x.



By Dayna Frazer