The hourglass silhouette that has become synonymous with the 1950s all started with the lingerie. In order to achieve the desired look, underwear could lend a hand by pushing and flattening the body through items including bras, briefs, slips, petticoats, girdles, stockings, and garters.

Bras were used to push breasts in, up and out in order to parallel the large hipped look, with popular styles including strapless, longline and bullet bras. They would typically be made from cotton, nylon or rayon, decorated with taffeta trim, floral prints, lace, embroidery or accent bows.

Briefs would be worn high-waisted, either plain for wearing under pencil skirts, or decorated with embroidery, ruffles and or lace if worn under full skirts. They would usually be made of cotton knit, rayon or satin and in light pastel colours.

Corsets were an uncomfortable but necessary item for those wanting to achieve the hourglass silhouette. Rather than the old-fashioned steel boning, this was gradually replaced with plastic and celluloid. These often worked alongside girdles, which became easier to move in during this decade through the use of different design features.

Although similar, swimwear was still quite modest, with the one-piece bathing suit being more popular than the two-piece bikini, despite the fact it didn’t reveal much more skin. Along with this, the swim cap was back in fashion, which would have to match the swimming costume of choice.

Lastly, nightwear was generally much more comfortable than the underwear, yet still glamorous, usually made from rayon and satin, with lace or embroidery. There were also different styles to choose from, including frilly nightgowns, slips, half-slips and baby dolls.