A sundress in the 1950s usually ended right below the knees and was sleeveless. Feminine floral patterns or solids in bright colors were used for the design of the fabric. It was not uncommon to see a lady wearing a sundress with a pair of gloves and heels as she headed out for lunch with friends.
If going out for afternoon tea, a lady in the 1950s would probably wear a swing style dress that was accented with feminine features such as ribbons or bows. The material would most likely be a soft floral design and the dress would have short sleeves. Long white gloves would often be worn to complete the look.
Pencil Style Dress
A pencil style dress came in long sleeves, short sleeves or was sleeveless. For summer, most pencil dresses were either short sleeved or sleeveless. The point behind a pencil dress was to make the woman look like she had a figure eight shape. Younger girls did not wear this look.
Along with a dress, a pair of pumps with an age-appropriate heel would be worn. Some younger girls might wear a ballet slipper style shoe or saddle shoes with bobby socks. Often a sweater would be worn over the sundress for cooler evenings, and flat Italian gondolier hats were worn for special occasions. A girdle was considered a necessary undergarment for all dresses.
Modern takes on 1950s dresses