For the Gracious Lady, the wise grandmother, and the mature missus whose fashion taste veered away from the bright new things in the 1950s, she still found plenty of choices to dress well. Mature 1950s women could choose from the same offerings as young women or shop from specialty catalogs such as Lane Bryant, who designed clothing for the plus size, mature, and maternity customer.
Starting in the 1940s, some clothing was being designed by Sears specially for the older, elderly women. These typically had longer sleeves, longer hemlines, higher necklines and a loose fit around the waist. These same practices were applied to 1950s elderly women’s clothing too.
Of these, the shirtwaist house dress in washable cotton was the everyday essential dress. Solid colors and small prints, plaid, and florals were the recommended choices. Necklines were high and modest with sleeves that ranged from mid-arm to 3/4 arm.
Skirts on day and evening styles avoid the extra full and fluffy petticoat look for the flared but less fussy A-line or pleated skirt. A single slip was all that was needed under these simple dresses.
Popular colors were all dark shapes- navy blue, black, grey, deep purple as well as pastels- lavender, pink, sky blue and teal. Browns and yellows were the worst colors for an aging complexation.
Suits and jacket ensembles were another favorite style of the 1950s Mrs lady. Short jackets such as the bolero top covered up arms a little, while longer loose spring jackets that matched dresses were a favorite year-round. Knit sweaters and cardigans were also a welcome layering look for informal occasions.
Below is a collection of catalog clothing marketed to the mature, senior, or graciously aging woman. This article on 1950s plus size fashions may also be useful.
For those needing to buy a dress with sleeves or one whose design is flattering on mature bodies look at the end of this article.
Evening Gowns and Party Wear
For Christmas parties and Mother of the Brides Dresses. Mature women would often choose nice suits and two piece dress ensembles or party dresses and ballgowns similar to young women’s. Black dresses were especially popular while purple, blue, red, and gold became trendy in the late 1950s.
Small brim hats with flowers and simple ribbon trim were preferred by older women. More about 1950s women’s hat fashion
Makeup was minimal. A dusting of face powered and a good pink-red lipstick was all the was needed. Women could take it a step further by applied eye brown pencil to darken the lash line and eyebrows. Too much rouge looked fake but a very light dusting was ok.
Shop 1950s Mrs. Clothing