As decades have ebbed and waned like the tides on a beach, and hemlines have hovered from where in olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking to a position where it was difficult to preserve ones dignity, the female form has seen a number of cyclical changes.
In the 1920s curves disappeared; to be replaced with small bust and hips. In fashion, the waistline moved several inches below the navel; making narrow hips a necessity.
The 1960s saw the cyclical return of the 1920s boyish silhouette where slim was in and underweight women became the ideal image.
Nowadays it is lifestyles that are under scrutiny rather than body shapes, with it generally being acknowledged that body shapes of all sizes are acceptable. Emphasis has shifted to an individual leading a healthy lifestyle in terms of a balanced diet and regular exercise. Models are more diverse in shape and size than ever, although most will accept there is still a long way to go before diversity is truly universal.
It is the 1950s to which we will turn now and a decade in which long legs and a busty hourglass figure was prized.
Hollywood actresses such as Jayne Mansfield,
and Marilyn Monroe
Advertisements from the era depicted skinny women as being romantically unsuccessful; encouraging weight gain and adding glamorous curves, as their only hope to attract a suitor.
This body type was showcased in the fashions of the time.
– Cinched waists.
– Circle skirts.
– Fitted cardigans.
– Pencil skirts.
– and Sweetheart necklines.
We may now look back with affection for the fashion of the 1950; and with the knowledge that we may recreate it willingly, without the pressure that many women would have experienced in a quest to emulate a look that may have been quite unnatural for them.