From Outlander to Podark, historical shows are taking over television these days. But my favorite eras aren’t the ones with bustles and corsets; I’m drawn to the bright patterns and circle skirts of the 1950s and 60s.
Luckily, there are plenty of mid-century shows currently on TV. Masters of Sex and Call the Midwife both start out in the 50s, while The Astronaut Wives Club is a pastel look into the early 60s. Even Agent Carter is part of the trend, showing us what women wore in the late 1940s, both in their everyday lives and as a super secret spy. So in honor of all these historical women on TV, here’s how to dress like your favorite retro shows:
This daring show delves into the famous sexual research done by Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson in the late 1950s and early 60s. Try dressing just as daring – for the time period, that is – with houndstooth cigarette pants and a cropped sweater. Dark lipstick and saddle shoes complete this hip, but still scholarly, look.
When their husbands are sent into space, a group of wives suddenly find their personal lives under scrutiny. They also wear lots of pastel dresses suitable for a housewife. Try borrowing the simple silhouettes, but adding a bold color – like this bright, sunny yellow. And teal pumps and a fitted cardigan are perfect for those long nights waiting for their astronauts to come home.
This BBC drama follows midwives as they find their footing in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of London’s East End in the 1950s and 60s. The women range from serious to bubbly, but they also save lives on a regular basis. On their rare nights out, they might dress something like this: a charmingly retro dress, with nude accessories and subtle makeup.
There’s nothing I like more than a woman who kicks a lot of ass, especially when she does it in awesome late-1940s outfits. From tailored suits to bright hats, Agent Carter always looks perfectly put together. Capture her post-war charm with this simple blue skirt and white blouse, red lipstick, and a few military details – like a fitted trench and silver arrow earrings.
The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham (Penguin Books; August 11, 2015)
Set in the 1950s, this novel follows dressmaker Tilly Dunnage when she returns to visit her small hometown in Australia. She decides to stay, using her haute couture dressmaking skills to start designing exquisite clothing for the women of Dungatar. But there’s a darker side to her designs – a mission of revenge against those who wronged her years ago. Full of mystery and romance, The Dressmaker is about to become a movie starring Kate Winslet.