Fifties Fashion

1950’s Jewelry and Accessories 

By Nancy A. Meadows-Galloway 

The fifties were a much simpler time. Fashion and accessories were more understated than they had been in past years such as the roaring 20’s.

The 1950’s saw an explosion in the making of costume jewelry. Women were expected to wear coordinating sets of jewelry. All of the pieces in the sets matched. The sets usually consisted of a ring, necklace, bracelet and earrings.

Not only was this true in jewelry, but also in other accessories such as scarves, umbrellas, gloves, and handbags. Her shoes, belt, and hat were also expected to compliment her jewelry and outfit as well.

Though all of these listed above were considered important, the necklace was perhaps the most important piece of the entire outfit.

In 1954, Chanel introduced long gold chains with colored stones scattered along its lengths into its collection of costume jewelry. These chains were immediately popular and well sought after.

The 1950’s also saw the reemergence of several styles from different eras. Art deco jewelry along with fringe and pendant necklaces became popular once again, as did fur collars, along with elaborately jeweled collars. Strands of pearls, tin flower pins, initial jewelry and chandelier clip-on earrings were also sought after pieces.

One other “necessity” for the fifties era woman was an in-style handbag. Clutch handbags, and beaded purses were the standard along with Lucite purses.

Other accessory “musts” for the well-put-together fifties woman were cat spectacles and chiffon scarves.

Cat spectacles were glasses that came to a point that arched upward on the outside of the lens. They were often studded with rhinestones throughout.

Chiffon scarves came in various colors and patterns, as well as styles. A chiffon scarf could be worn casually or dressy, as the occasion arose.

One thing is certain, women of the fifties took care in the way that they presented themselves. Every outfit for each occasion was well thought out and planned from head to toe. Many of the accessories that were worn then are still being worn today, which proves that the fifties were indeed a decade of fashion trends that would last.

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