Sometimes I take it for granted that people who visit our boutique or website know exactly which items to put together to make the perfect 1950s-style outfit. Upon realising that some of you ladies need some ideas and inspiration about which accessories go with what and how exactly to put all of it together I thought a blog post might be just the thing!
In this post I am going to look at how to put together the perfect circle dress outfit. I will run through the process with step-by-step instructions and everything we use is available in the boutique. I am going to use the black with white polka dot dress, which is one of our most popular dresses, to demonsrate this.
Step One – Underwear
You need to set the foundation for the dress with the right lingerie. 1950s girls knew how important lingerie is and this stage should never be overlooked as attention to detail is key. First up is a lovely pair of seamed stockings. Seams not only give your outfit an authentic retro feel, they lengthen and slim the leg. Black seamed stockings are perfect for an evening occasion and nude seamed stockings make beautiful daywear. My personal favourite though are these tights which have a contrasting black seam and look fab day or night!In addition to stockings you need a lovely pair of frilly knickers which maintain your modesty when you are swirling around the dance floor (or if the wind gives you a Marilyn moment). I would usually suggest knickers to match your petticoat but if you want to be a little more risqué contrasting colours can also look great.
Finally, as I am using a halterneck dress I will be adding bullet bra pads. The boning on most circle dresses means that many women get enough support from the bodice – although of course strapless bras can be used if required! Bullet bra pads slip between the breast and the dress boning and create a perfect, yet subtle, point which emphasises the hourglass figure and subsequently slims the waist.
Step Two – Petticoat
This is the most fun step – add the petticoat! Choose a colour to either match your dress or contrast. I have selected a lovely white petticoat to sit underneath this dres as I intend to work on a black and white colour scheme but with this dress you could equally choose a coloured petticoat to add some fun. See our promotional picture below where we have used red. You should now have the basic hourglass shape! Your bra pads won’t be in yet but you can hold them in position. This style of dress is perfect for all body shapes as the hourglass figure is created for you. Occasionally smaller busted ladies have problems with the boning but this is nothing a pair of chicken fillets won’t sort out if the bra pads are not enough.
Pop your dress over your head and zip up. Add your bra pads and adjust your petticoat to the length you require. I often get asked if the petticoat should be showing or not and I always say this is completely up to individual preference. Many women, especially if there are contrasting colours at work, love about an inch to peek out of the bottom of the dress. Others simply use the petticoat to create shape and therefore want it to sit with the bottom hem of the dress. Experiment to find your preference. Personally I like some petticoat on display though.
It is now time to add some items to the dress to complete the basic look. Belts are perfect to further accentuate those curves by drawing the eye to the waistline and therefore making it appear slimmer. Be careful though if you are already slim, often a thin belt or even just a piece of ribbon work better as if you are naturally slim drawing too much attention to the waist may exaggerate it and make it appear larger.
A flower brooch to compliment the belt also looks beautiful and adds pretty detail to the dress.
Now on to accessories – this is very much up to the individual but I am going to complete this look with a 1950s daywear theme in mind. A pair of white lace gloves looks elegant and yet simple. Gloves were commonly worn in the 1950s and if you want to make this look more suitable for the evening a pair of satin gloves give it a more sophisticated edge.
A pair of cat-eye sunglasses also add a great retro edge and are both practical and completely in fashion as they dominated this season’s catwalks.
Finally for the piéce-de-resistance, to finish off this outfit for a wedding, garden party, birthday bash or day at the races select the perfect piece of millinery. With hats and fascinators I am personally in the camp of the bigger the better so I have went with this lovely large fascinator with feather detailing. If you have a specific colour scheme or fascinator in mind you can get your own creation made here at Lady JoJo’s by the fabulous local milliner Mairi Brunning. You can therefore get the perfect headwear to match your outfit and, if you are like me, ask her to add some Swarovski crystals for a bit of sparkle!
You should now look fabulous so off you go to sip some cocktails and enjoy yourself!