Fernando Salazar
A wool and nylon houndstooth coat by Ben Sherman has a nostalgic feel as retro fashions are making a comeback.


If you watched television in the ’50s, you probably remember how Loretta Young would make her elegant entrance, coming through a door, swooshing onto the set of her show.

Whoa — way before your time? OK, think about the wardrobes of January Jones and the other women in “Mad Men,” a show that takes place in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

The dress rules. The accent is at the waist, and curves are accentuated, not hidden.

It might be 2009, but dresses and suits from many collections look as though they were pulled from Grace Kelly’s closet.

David Wolfe, New York-based fashion trend consultant for The Doneger Group, says he’s noticed the baby doll dresses have been replaced with more “grown-up” looks.

“Designers are being inspired by the ’50s and ’60s. I think there is a psychological yearning for a more safe and secure time, an era of affluence when a woman didn’t have to feel guilty about shopping and feeling feminine and being a bit frivolous, perhaps,” he said.

Wolfe says “Mad Men” is still a talking point among designers and he expects the series returning to the air for a new season “will intensify the focus on retro dresses.”

Another trends analyst, Tom Julian of Tom Julian Group, says that dresses are not the only items getting a ’50s feel.

“The ‘Mad Men’ factor now spills over in women’s wear. For the past year, ad-exec dressing was all about the smart suit for him. Now masculine lines and shapes come to life for her in coats, jackets and skirts,” he said.

The trend isn’t just in clothing, but accessories as well.

“The detail is what makes the difference,” said Lisa Legros, a sales associate in the shoe department at Dillard’s in Wichita, Kan.

She’s 24 years old but says she loves the retro looks in footwear, whether they’re from the ’40s, ’50s or ’60s.

“On television and in magazines, I always look at the shoes,” she said, adding that an easy way to update your wardrobe is with retro accessories.

Seeing the ’50s and ’60s looks are reminiscent for some, and new and trendy for others. Regardless, it’s evidence of yet another turn of the fashion cycle.

— Bonnie Bing, McClatchy Newspapers

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