Era parties are da bomb! They let you channel your past lives and there is so many pictures, history books and inspiration around that you can normally put an era party together pretty easily. Generally, aspects of a past era trend to come full circle and become popular again at some point, so when you find aspects re-trending again can visit vintage stores or even go to modern shops to find décor pieces for your next party.
There is so many inspirational ideas when it comes to the past that the decoration bit isn’t usually a problem – it’s deciding who you should dress up as that is a little more difficult. And to be honest, you should be dressing up for an era themed party, because not only will you fit in more with the theme of the event and the fact that it is super fun to be someone else for a night, even Marty McFly looked the part when he went “back to the future”.
I recently delved into the world of the 1920’s to bring you some awesome costume ideas, so today I am going to jump forward a couple of decades and give you some classic inspiration for a 1950’s era party.
This is the most popular costume for the men out there because it’s the sexiest look a man could rock in the 1950’s, and it’s also a super easy costume to get together.
Simple but sexy costume: A plain round-neck white t-shirt (it HAS to be white), blue denim jeans, black motorcycle boots and the pies de le resistance black leather jacket will have the ladies begging for more.
Big Hair: If you’re going with this sexy greaser look though, you have to amp up the hair to an 11, and give yourself a suave and sophisticated pompadour at the front with so much grease that a comb will run through it easily – there’s a reason they were called greasers!
Inspiration: Think of classic bad boy characters like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Danny Zuko or any of the Thunderbirds from the hit musical “Grease”, or swing a guitar around you and call yourself Elvis.
Photography by Tinmay Yu
The Pink Lady
This cute retro inspired style was popular for traditional young high-school ladies in the 1950’s and conjures up classic ‘50’s images of sipping on a milkshake with two straws in the local red vinyl-seated milk bar, high pony-tails and angelic faces. As opposed to the bad boys of the ages, these girls were the ones who could turn the greasers around – just ask Sandra Dee!
Populuxe colours: If you are going for this classic 1950’s look for your era party, get yourself into a poodle skirt and white blouse, don a sweet cardigan (or “Pink Lady” jacket) and make sure you are in pastels! The populuxe colour scheme of the 50’s was popular after the bleak tragedies of the war, so light pinks, whites, yellows and powder blues were the norm. Put ribbons in your high pony and get set to dance the night away 50’s style!
Inspiration: Think of characters such as Sandy or Frenchie from “Grease”, the marionette character of Lady Penelope from the TV show “Thunderbirds” or historical figures such as the Astronaut Wives Club or First Lady Jackie Kennedy.
Photo from Mark Anderson for The Telegraph UK
The Movie Star
The 1950’s was deemed “The Golden Age of Hollywood” with the notorious film companies pumping out movie star after movie star while leading scandalous and secret lives in the background. Ever since, people have been obsessed with these screen sirens and these classic images of these movie stars make for an excellent costume for a 1950’s themed era party.
Female Movie Stars: Don a white halter neck dress and short blonde curled wig to do a perfect Marilyn Monroe impression from her famous scene in “The Seven Year Itch”, or you can channel your inner decadence and dress up as Elizabeth Taylor from one of her movies of the decade, dripping in diamonds and velvet with smouldering eye makeup. You can channel Audrey Hepburn (while “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was a 1960’s movie, it was by far Hepburn’s most iconic role, so I don’t think anyone could get mad at for you for dressing as Holly Go Lightly!).
Male Movie Stars: For the men they can don cowboy hats and poncho’s to channel the classic Western movie figure of John Wayne, croon the night away as musician and actor Frank Sinatra, or go with a more detective feel by dressing up as Humphrey Bogart. The movie stars of the 1950’s had such distinctive styles, so you will be sure to find a costume to suit your needs.
If you have any other ideas for a classic 1950’s costume, or if you have dressed up as one of these iconic roles I want to see it! Send your photos and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave them in the comment section below. And if you need ideas for another era themed party, let me know too and I can give you a fun list of characters. Stay tuned for the next theme – 1980’s!